1980: The very definition of the phrase "we're off", Motorhead. The front row are going for it but I'm not sure the balloon cascade is entirely in keeping with its form - someone scores a direct hit on Fast Eddie Clarke's fretboard seventeen seconds in. As for Philthy Animal Taylor, ignore his Steve Martin-esque head accessory and note the logo on the front of the bass drum is being held on by what must be increasingly unadhesive tape. Literalism takes many and varied forms, as Legs & Co prove dancing to Diana Ross. Unfortunately, this leads to DLT comedy. That in turn leads to Eddy Grant, and while he's putting his all into it you can just about hear a load of audience chatter, proving they still haven't learnt the lesson of turning the ambient mikes down so it seems like people are there for the music.
1986: For Erasure's debut Vince Clarke throws a curveball and takes up guitar. If they're kind of introspective, Bon Jovi... aren't. No pyrotechnics or arena tricks but everything else in the playbook - sharing the lead mike, guitarists playing to camera - is comfortably in place. Says here the show featured a "brief appearance from Gary Davies and Smiley Miley". Had it done something bad?
1998: James had put out a remix of Sit Down, as was the way, and having considered Tim Booth's skull cap and sarong not quite enough, they drag Robbie Williams in to mime some rhythm guitar, or at least mime until he gets bored around the first chorus. He hadn't just turned up for the sake of it, he was on himself later. As was Madonna, a string section, a Scottish Widows look and an overexcited front row.
2005: I've talked sometimes on here about single people being asked to fill a big TV stage, and nowhere is that more apparent then with KT Tunstall. She's playing live as well despite having room for at least three drumkits behind her. Franz Ferdinand go for uniform Cold War spy chic.