He Who Puts Up With Me scored a DVD copy of the 1985 Live Aid concerts from the library, so we had great fun watching that last night. FYI, I have officially renamed the event. Heretofore, it will be known as Mulletpalooza. I had forgotten (or blocked out) just how big mullets were 20 years ago. Frightening.
Speaking of frightening...It didn't bother me at all that I am old enough to remember with near crystal clarity spending July 13, 1985 camped out in front of my TV set watching the concert's original broadcast on MTV (that was back in the days when they actually played music, nothing but music). Nope, didn't bother me one little bit. No siree.
So, we're watching Freddie Mercury of Queen apply his amazing vocal skills to "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," a song I remember fondly from, let's see, fifth grade (which was several years prior to 1985). HWPUWM is sitting on the couch; I'm doing something in the kitchen, when the following dialogue plays out:
HWPUWM: "I sure hope he's earned enough in his career to get those teeth fixed."
MB (that's me): "Ummmm...he died. Years ago. Of AIDS." [Said with an appropriate mix of horror and disgust of his lack of pop cultural knowledge. Of course, this was a man who knew almost nothing about popular music until I started dating him in college in 1991. I know, don't ask, I can't explain it.]
HWPUWM: "Oh. Do you think he had them fixed before he died?"
MB: "Gee, no, because I hardly think that was his top priority when he was dying of AIDS!"
Someone help me, please.
Almost as bad as the abundance of mullets was the abundance of ballads. Please, people. You're playing to an enormous stadium. Put some life into it. Sting, I love you man, and I know The Police just broke up and you were getting into your jazz phase and all, and I think Branford Marsalis is pretty great, but what were you thinking when you decided on an acoustic version of "Roxanne," with Branford as the lone accompaniment? Yawnapalooza!
Now, U2 knew how to bring some life to the party. Their performances of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Bad" were i-n-s-p-i-r-e-d! [HWPUWM: "I didn't know 'Bad' was that old." MB: "Yep. Unforgettable Fire album, 1984." HWPUWM: "Wow." MB: (muttered under breath) And you call yourself a fan.] And, while not quite a baby band anymore, U2 had not yet broken into the world of stadium tours yet, which makes their show-stealing peformance all the more impressive.
Of course, HWPUWM could not get over U2's stage clothes. I believe he proclaimed them "the worst costumes ever." They weren't great, but they weren't that bad. HWPUWM was practically having seizures over the perceived awfulness of Bono's calf-high, almost high-heeled boots. Now, from my point of view, those boots (and yes, even the mullet) are simply part of the U2 iconography. Love the band, love the boots.
I got a kick out of watching Duran Duran perform (Simon LeBon had ditched his mullet by this time, incidentally). I discovered the true awfulness of songs like "Union of the Snake" and "The Reflex." (I always suspected that their significant-sounding lyrics were really just a bunch of gobbledygook). More importantly, I was blown away by Andy Taylor. I was never heavily into DD, but he was my favorite. A little less pretty boy, a little more rock-n-roll black sheep. But man, in this concert he was wild! His hair (long and tons of it), his facial expressions, his movements on stage...whoa, mama. How did I forget about that?!