1981: A couple of debuts in this week of those that would go on to shape the decade in various ways. Depeche Mode with Vince Clarke still around and in their in no way symbolic string vest and leather hat. If Simon Bates has to give a warning not to adjust your set, why put the effect on there? Kirsty Maccoll lent her own presence to the nation, not to mention that of the comedy stetsoned bassist. Ian Gillan had a slightly different problem, namely guitarist Bernie Torme had just left, leading to some emergency bass and keyboard filling. The ever trusty flame overlay getting another sighting there. And then there's the bizarre novelty hit that ended up an influence (and sampled by Coolio), by The Evasions. Not only does he not sound much like Alan Whicker, he doesn't look like him either.
1987: We're still in the emerging stages of the Pet Shop Boys' image, which means they're still in the big coat/cap and bank of Emulators archetype.
1992: Well, this is mixed. TLC do their thing in roomy trousers and an overlarge hat plus an absolute gush of dry ice behind the DJ that would completely envelope a regular stage. There's still a simplicity about it, shared by Tori Amos at her piano - that's Claudia Simon at the start, by the way - and, despite the five backing singers in a line, Mariah Carey. As compared to, say, Wet Wet Wet, who don't need that much space. And then there's the jolt of Megadeth, ready to subvert an audience but apparently not even phasing Tori at the start. The audience, not knowing how to approach it, just clap along.
1999: Love in the air? Britney Spears was there, as were N-Sync - yes, thank you, Gail - round about when Britney and Justin Timberlake were dating. Oddly enough, Justin seems to have gone for shorter hair on becoming really famous. Acting as no sort of pop go-between at all, Vengaboys. Alas, poor Yorick. Stuck at the back in a captain's hat.
2004: Busted's James Bourne has about the same opinion of Tim Kash as everyone else by the look of it. You can kind of tell Charlie was soon enough to tire of the other two just from body language. Kylie Minogue had dancers on loan from King Midas' quarters. The Hives' Howlin' Pelle Almqvist finds the danger of going walkabout off the front of the stage before the band just stop before the end for no good reason.