Live Aid: Was it the great music, or the horrible fashion crimes?

1985_07_13_live_aid.jpgToday, the DVD set of the July 1985 Live Aid performances goes on sale in Canada. At long last, a painless opportunity for Midge Ure and Paul Young fans to throw away their Betamax concert bootlegs, 85 lb. Betamax machines, and join the rest of us in the 21st century. As producer Jill Sinclair told the Globe and Mail, there were some complications pulling together okays from all those big 80s pop stars:

    "There were the usual vanities," she says, "people wanting to look at the tapes and being horrified by their hair. And the thing is, they do all look awful. It was the eighties."

    Indeed, watching the DVD now, what is striking (after the intensity of the performances) is the severity of fashion crimes and also the relative innocence of pre-Internet culture.

    To watch the show is to be thrown back into the gaudy heart of 1985: Is that actually Bono's hair, or is a yak squatting on his head? Why were Spandau Ballet ever allowed to have a hit single? Was there really a time when we thought George Michael was straight? And what is that in Freddie Mercury's pants?