During concert performances, musicians transcend into otherworldly beings, surpassing human artistic capabilities to deliver truly divine experiences. Over the decades, both solo artists and bands have created timeless memories, captivating audiences worldwide.
Since many of us were not alive to witness these great acts in their prime, here are ten of the most intense, soul-stirring, and riveting moments in music history in terms of live concert performances.
10. Daft Punk Coachella Alive Set
The Daft Punk duo changed the way the world looks at DJs and probably gave birth to the world’s fascination with DJ-based music. But in 2006 when they headlined the Coachella festival with a specially curated set termed as ‘Alive’, they turned every head in the United States towards them.
It wasn’t just about the music, but the lights, visuals, and the entire experience they brought forth was absolutely enigmatic.
9. Johnny Cash live at the Saint Quentin Prison
California’s oldest prison and the largest group of death-row prisoners, Saint Quentin was graced by the god of folk music in 1969; and tales of that evening still ring through those bars. He specifically chose a set of songs that connected with the prisoners on a personal level and even premiered a song in front of the prisoners.
Cash was a different breed, and this concert performance, memorized in time as a TV recording proves that.
8. Aretha Franklin live at the Fillmore West
It was 1971, and Aretha Franklin was at the peak of her career as the queen of soul. But for this specific show she played to a very different crowd than her usual Vegas sets, and chose a number of pop and rock covers redone in her image.
This show is a testament to why Aretha Franklin still lives on in the hearts of every RnB singer that followed.
7. Bob Marley live at the Lyceum Theatre
Bob Marley was a niche sensation in the early ‘70s. But after his performance at Britain’s legendary Lyceum Theatre, he transformed into an overnight chart-topper. Not only was it a sold-out event, but those who could not get tickets started a riot outside the venue.
His performance of the iconic ‘No Woman, No Cry’ is truly a goosebumps-inducing moment in time.
6. Pink Floyd live in Pompeii
Much like the music of Pink Floyd, this one is a very different entry to this list. When the psychedelic-rock band decided to perform at Pompeii, there was to be no audience. It was a ghost town, and they chose a hollow amphithere to perform at, with visuals and everything.
It was released as a live concert film and till date, there is nothing like it in the world of music.
5. Beyonce’s entire Formation World Tour
Any Beyonce concert is sure to leave you floored. But if you caught Queen B at any of her performances in 2016’s Formation tour, you know that it was sheer magic. This is when she would claim her fame as one of the world’s greatest performers and never give up that crown.
It is also one of the highest-grossing concert tours ever!
4. The Live Aid Concert Performances
The Live Aid concert was organized as a relief effort and featured a stacked lineup of artists including the likes of Queen, David Bowie, U2, and many others. It gathered millions of listeners under one roof, and was later released as a live DVD that is a prized possession for any music fan.
This was also the concert that would prove to the world that Queen is the greatest rock band of all time led by the otherworldly singer that was Freddy Mercury.
3. Led Zeppelin live at the Royal Albert Hall
Led Zeppelin are perhaps the greatest songwriters of their time, but their 1970 performance at Britain’s Royal Albert Hall showed the world the charisma that rock n roll could deliver. At the time very few rock bands had performed at the prestigious venue. Zeppelin simply blew the doors and electric hard rock became a global sensation.
Zeppelin would perform across the world at many stadiums throughout their career, but that night was simply magic.
2. Jimi Hendrix live at the Monterey Pop Festival
Hendrix was a guitar god, and in 1967 he hit the stage at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival and set his guitar on fire. No one exactly knows the reason behind the act, some call it a frenzy while others call it a moment of worship. Whatever it be, this was Hendrix’s peak, before his untimely demise.
The entire festival had a great lineup of bands and artists, but Hendrix simply stole the show. The iconic burnt Fender would be auctioned later at millions and is still an allure for collectors of music history.
1. Queen live at the Wembley Stadium
After the Live Aid performance, Queen were the undisputed rulers of the rock and pop charts. And when they returned to Wembley Stadium after a year, it was one of the greatest nights of music history. They performed only the hits, from the crowd banging ‘We Will Rock You’ to the curtain dropper ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, it was music worship at its finest. Those who were there to witness the act claim it as one of the greatest concert performances ever, and that is why we have chosen to grace it at the number one position on this list.
Musicians today and in the future will always look back to some of these concert performances as the benchmark, and strive to create a similar magical memory in the hearts and minds of their audiences. But these moments will perhaps never be overtaken again in decades to come.
What do you think of this list? Did we miss out on any of your favorite concert performances? Let us know!
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