Did Vince Johnston plot this for weeks? How he was going to get in, and eventually get on stage, at the 1985 Live Aid mega-concert at JFK Stadium?

"I didn't even know I was going to Live Aid," said Johnston, a La Salle University student at the time. "We were all at this guy's house . . . A pickup truck comes pulling up. Somebody said, 'Let's go down.' "

Most of the guys in the truck didn't try to get inside the concert, an all-day and all-night affair.

"We were just tailgating, about 10 of us," Johnston said. "Myself and one other said, 'C'mon, let's try to get in.' "

They looked for a security guy, "with 20 dollars in our hand - bam, we were in."

Johnston said he eventually got separated from his buddy and found himself at the top of the stands behind the stage. He noticed steps up to the stage.

"I kind of moseyed down," Johnston said. "Right as I got there, this [handicapped] guy came up to the steps. I kind of just got behind him. I pretty much went through the whole gestures like I was assisting him, unbeknownst to him. I was behind him - I was really concerned about his welfare."

The ploy worked.

"Bob Dylan was playing a couple of songs," said Johnston, who now works for FedEx.

His memory is correct. When Dylan finished playing "Blowin' in the Wind", the stage filled up for the big "We Are the World" finale.

"There was Eric Clapton, I kind of gestured to him," Johnston said. "He looked at me like, 'Who are you?' "

Just a 20-year-old kid wearing a golf shirt.

"There was Mick Jagger and Tina Turner - I called him 'Mr. Jagger,' shook hands with him. . . . Next thing you knew, the stage opened up and I was right next to Cher and Chevy Chase, looking out at 80,000 people."

You can find "We Are the World" on YouTube. There Johnston is, not far from Dionne Warwick as she sang at the five-minute mark of the song and next to Cher at the end, no more than 10 or 12 feet from song-leader Lionel Richie. You can see the kid in the white golf shirt with red stripes pumping his fist. He's pretty sure he wasn't singing along, Johnston said, because he didn't know the words.

When he got back to the truck, none of his buddies even knew what had just happened - but his mother at home started getting calls.

"Was that Vinny?"

Contact Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or mjensen@phillynews.com or on Twitter @Jensenoffcampus.