Top 10 Legendary Concert Lineups



Top 10 Legendary Concert Lineups

VOICE OVER: Matt Campbell
Script written by George Pacheco

These are the shows you wish you could've seen. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Legendary Concert Lineups. For this list, we're looking at concert festivals which either featured an impressive amount of acts on the bill, or consisted of a particularly memorable performance by a series of artists.

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Script written by George Pacheco

Top 10 Legendary Concert Lineups

These are the shows you wish you could've seen. Welcome to, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10Legendary Concert Lineups.

For this list, we're looking at concert festivals which either featured an impressive amount of acts on the bill, or consisted of a particularly memorable performance by a series of artists. We're omitting 1985's Live Aid benefit concerts as well as 2005’s Live 8, however, as they featured numerous legendary musicians appearing in cities around the world simultaneously.

#10: Rock the Bells (2004)

Any major hip-hop fan would be crazy to say they haven’t dreamed of being a part of at least one of these legendary shows. Although Rock the Bells would go on to feature iconic hip hop artists such as A Tribe Called Quest and Nas, it’s the first annual 2004 festival that takes the cake for featuring the return of Wu-Tang Clan. And yes, that is the whole crew, including ODB prior to his death in November of that year. If that alone didn’t have rap fans jumping in excitement, then the inclusion of artists Redman and Sage Francis certainly did.

#9: Monsters of Rock (1991)

What do you get when you combine a tense, politically charged atmosphere with some of the most energetic hard rock and heavy metal around? You get the Monsters of Rock festival, which hit the former Soviet Union like the fist of an angry god in 1991. Featuring some of the heaviest hitters in the world of rock music, including AC/DC, Metallica and Pantera at the height of their powers. There were frequent clashes between the audience and armed Russian police, many of which did not know how to process the very physical response between artist and fan, resulting in a show memorable for reasons larger than music alone.

#8: Reading Festival (1992)

The grunge writing was on the proverbial wall when the Reading Festival hit the English countryside in 1992, and this concert's lineup reflected that, featuring a wide variety of indie rock acts, all vying for the audience's attention. One act in particular were grunge leaders Nirvana, who made a huge impact on the English shores. Indeed, many who were in attendance that day proclaimed Nirvana as the band of the weekend, as evidenced by their well received, high energy performances of songs like "Lithium" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

#7: US Festival (1982)

Widely referred to by many as the "Woodstock of the 80s," the inaugural US Festival, held near San Bernardino, California, was helmed by Steve Wozniak of Apple computer fame in response to the whole selfish vibe of the 1970s. Although the end result didn't exactly mesh up with Wozniak's intent- with a number of arrests and drug overdoses over the course of a three day festival- the concert's lineup was nonetheless an impressive one, and included the Ramones, The Cars and Pat Benatar. Thankfully a second US Festival, held a year later, featured a much lower body count.

#6: Newport Folk Festival (1965)

Dylan goes electric. This was all anyone could talk about after experiencing the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. It may be difficult to imagine any audience booing the genius that is Bob Dylan, but that's exactly what happened when he took the stage with a full-fledged electric backing band for his '65 performance. Although not everyone in the audience took umbrage to Dylan's new sound- as exemplified on Bringing It All Back Home's entire side of rock material-it was still an iconic moment in both Dylan lore and music history.

#5: Coachella (2007)

Sure, jokes fly around today about the huge influx of hipsters descending upon the Coachella festival every year oblivious to who's actually playing, it should be said that this concert series does feature a wide variety artists from nearly every imaginable genre. Indeed, acts as diverse as Regina Spektor, Manu Chao and even Rage Against the Machine have graced the Coachella stage, making this festival one which is virtually guaranteed to expose even the most learned music fans to a new group or two.

#4: The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness (1992)

Freddie Mercury's 1991 AIDS related death left a huge, tragic void in the world of rock 'n roll, but this gathering of band mates, friends and fans made the loss sting just a little bit less. London's Wembley Stadium was home to the concert, held just a few months after Mercury's passing on Easter Monday, April 20th, and featured rock royalty such as Elton John, David Bowie and Robert Plant among others performing their renditions of Queen classics. The concert also marked Queen bassist John Deacon's last full show with the group, while proceeds from the show served to found the Mercury Phoenix Trust for AIDS research.

#3: Isle of Wight Festival (1970)

What do you get when you collect a myriad of talented artists and put them out on an island in the English Channel? You get the Isle of Wight Festival, which packed fans onto the west side of the island during the summer of 1970. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Doors, and Taste were just a few of the acts rocking the masses during this three day festival, while the concert's headliner Jimi Hendrix proved to be a masterstroke. Although the festival had its share of sound, weather and financial difficulties, the performances delivered there would go on to be the stuff of legend.

#2: Monterey International Pop Music Festival (1967)

Monterey was huge in terms of cultural importance, not only thanks to its now legendary lineup of classic artists, but its influence as a whole upon the idea of the big summer concert series. Held two years prior to Woodstock, it's entirely possible that Woodstock might never have happened, were it not for the success of Monterey Pop. Simon & Garfunkel, The Who and Jefferson Airplane all delivered the goods for audiences, but it was arguably Otis Redding's sensational set which had the most lasting impact upon the concert's predominantly white audience, breaking down color barriers with the universal language of music.

Before we reveal our most drool-worthy concert lineup, here are a few honorable mentions!

Altamont Speedway Free Festival (1969)

Wacken Open Air (2010)

Tomorrowland Festival (2014)

Glastonbury (2008)

Lollapalooza (1996)

#1: Woodstock (1969)

If Monterey Pop set the template, then it was Woodstock which broke the mold. Woodstock brought together hippies and rockers from across the US for three days of peace, love and music. Of course, sex and a whole lot of drugs were also on the menu, set to a throbbing soundtrack of artists like Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and Joe Cocker. The Woodstock legacy was so massive, that two anniversary concerts were held in 1994 and 1999, respectively, although the latter was marred by violence, rape and riots over the festival's inflated cost for fans. Regardless, the original Woodstock in high regard as one of the best concert lineups ever assembled.

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