Top 10 Greatest Live Musical Performances



Top 10 Greatest Live Musical Performances

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Why do people go to concerts? To see their favorite artist, to be entertained, to share a musical experience with other fans? It's pretty much all those things and more. There are many artists that know how to put on a good show, but sometimes, there are those that stand out from all the rest; those that simply excel at mixing an incredible performance with musical chemistry and fan interaction that no one who attended the show – or watched it on some form of media – will ever forget. For this list, we're focusing on positive performances where the music was front and center and where artists played more than one song. We're excluding award and television show appearances. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 greatest live musical performances. Special thanks to our users Elgan Chia, MituPitu1 and Nicole Calleja for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest.
There’s nothing like experiencing music in concert. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 greatest live musical performances.

For this list, we’re focusing on positive performances where the music was front and center and where artists played more than one song. We’re excluding award and television show appearances.

#10: Bruce Springsteen at the Parc de la Courneuve
Paris, France (1985)

Thanks to his lengthy sets, fan connection, harmony with the E-Street Band and wide range of musical styles, The Boss was truly on a roll during the “Born in the U.S.A.” tour. His most successful tour gave him worldwide exposure like he’d never had before and his new physique and dance moves certainly didn’t hurt. We chose the first of his two Paris gigs because it aptly displayed all this AND even had some audience members showing some love to Bruce’s homeland.

#9: Metallica with The San Francisco Symphony
Berkeley Community Theatre, California, U.S.A. (1999)

Inspired by the late Cliff Burton’s love of classical music, Metallica combined heavy metal with symphonic accompaniment in 1999. With the help of the San Francisco Symphony, the band stunned fans and critics by bringing a new dimension to their sound. They didn’t only rework classic Metallica material but also performed new tracks specifically for their collaboration with the orchestra.

#8: Daft Punk at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
California, U.S.A. (2006)

Considering it was almost a decade since the French house duo had played any U.S. dates, it’s no surprise Daft Punk’s return to the American stage at Coachella is still etched in many people’s minds. The fact that no one knew what to expect is precisely what made their combination of audio and visual elements all the more triumphant – as amateur videos of the performance clearly show.

#7: Nirvana at the Reading Festival
Reading, England (1992)

Though the band’s acoustic MTV Unplugged in New York performance was also well-received, it’s their unforgettable set at Reading that lands here. After being wheelchaired onto the stage by a music journalist, Kurt Cobain led his bandmates in a rousing and energetic performance that’d make any grunge rocker proud. Mixing both old and new tracks, Nirvana tore the place apart – and the Live at Reading CD/DVD proves it.

#6: The Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall
Manchester, England (1976)

Punk rock as we know it may never have existed if The Sex Pistols hadn’t played Lesser Free Trade Hall in 1976. Though less than 40 people were in attendance, the show was pivotal in launching the genre in the UK. The Pistols didn’t only captivate the small audience with their raw, vulgar and unapologetic sound, but they also influenced several members to pursue music, like Morrissey of The Smiths.

#5: The Who at the Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight, England (1970)

It was while riding on the success of Tommy that The Who graced the stage at this massive festival in 1970. Thanks to Pete Townshend’s loud and fast guitars, Keith Moon’s wild and sensational drumming and Roger Daltrey’s versatile vocals, The Who brought their rebellious yet ambitious rock ‘n’ roll to life and cemented their place as one of Britain’s most important rock bands.

#4: The Beatles at the Shea Stadium
New York, U.S.A. (1965)

Though their Ed Sullivan appearance essentially launched Beatlemania stateside, it’s the Fab Four’s Shea Stadium show that makes our list. With over 55,000 fans filling the seats, the extremely successful gig paved the way for future massive outdoor concerts. The fact that no one, including The Beatles themselves, could hear anything besides frenzied screaming further solidified the show’s place in rock ‘n’ roll memory.

#3: Led Zeppelin at the Royal Albert Hall
London, UK (1970)

Two days after starting their UK Tour, the world’s biggest band played London’s largest and most prestigious venue in what later became known as a band milestone. Immortalized on film and later re-mastered and released on DVD, Led Zeppelin’s Royal Albert Hall gig went down in history as one of music’s most iconic live performances thanks to Robert Plant’s energy and sex appeal, Jimmy Page’s guitar-playing and the band’s musical chemistry.

#2: Jimi Hendrix at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair
New York, U.S.A. (1969)

Despite having to play to his headlining Woodstock set on a Monday morning, the Seattle rocker blew the house down with his electrifying guitar work at the festival. He also ingrained himself into our memories with his feedback and distortion-heavy version of the American national anthem in the progress. Hendrix and the festival are now inextricably linked, marking the end of an era.

Honorable Mentions

Pink Floyd at Live8, Hyde Park, London, UK (2005)
Johnny Cash at Folsom State Prison, California, U.S.A. (1968)
James Brown at The Apollo Theater, New York, U.S.A. ( 1962)
Slipknot at Sonisphere, Knebworth, UK (2011)
U2 at Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, Germany (1984)

#1: Queen at Live Aid
Wembley Stadium, London, UK (1985)

Though their 1986 gig at Wembley Stadium was memorable too, it’s Queen stunning set at the same venue the year before that’s made our list. The band didn’t only hold their own against Led Zeppelin and The Who, but completely stole the show: in just 20 minutes, Queen enchanted Live Aid with their greatest hits, while Freddie Mercury’s incomparable showmanship had the 72 000-strong crow singing along.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the greatest live musical performance of all time? With new Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to
Lol, Any Rammstein show overcomes all of those "greatest" performances.
Um, how about Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous Brothers UNCHAINED MELODY Live?
U had #1 Queen exactly right.!!!! The " Secretariat" of rock performances!!! Never to be equaled, just like Big Reds Belmont performance!
Queen were fantastic!
No Michael Jackson??
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