Have you ever set your guitar on fire and smashed it all over the place? No? I guess that’s why you’re not part of our 5 Most Iconic Gigs list. Artists are restless innovators and seek to impress their fans in any possible way. We came up with a list of five most memorable performances (in no particular order) that we would like to share with you:
1.Talking about burning guitars, Jimi Hendrix’s live concerts were almost all shockingly impressive. We chose his performance at the Isle of Wight not only because it was considered his ultimate gig, but also to highlight his preaching personality and his sexy guitar skills. Fun fact: while playing Machine Gun he faced some technical difficulties as the security’s radio signal was interfering with his amp output. But no one noticed over the sound of his awesomeness.
2. Bob Dylan’s Live 1966: The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert, recorded at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, is an example of how a live performance can also easily upset an audience. Not everything “new” and “original” can be warmly welcomed by fans. The first half of the concert focused on Dylan’s acoustic performance, which was greatly appreciated by the crowd. However the second set of electric songs, played alongside the Hawks, was highly criticised. An audience member, feeling betrayed by Dylan’s music experiment, called him “Judas”. They must have really despised his electric sounding pieces. But we don’t care. He’s Bob Dylan. Come on.
3. I tried this at home and found it amusing (which might also make me very sad and lonely). Imagine witnessing this live at Wembley Stadium in 1986. Before performing Under Pressure, which was number-one hit at the time, the band Queen stopped playing, leaving Freddie Mercury to the cheering crowd. Of course, instead of taking a quick power-nap or simply relax, Freddie used his two-minute break to majestically show off his vocal abilities and involve the crowd in a singing improvisation. A surprisingly responsive audience left Freddie in awe until the band started playing the first seven bass notes of Under Pressure…and what came next is now history. Applause.
4.Time to return to the 21st century and raise our glasses to P!nk’s live performance of Try at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. Not only is this a song that requires great vocal skills and probably adamantium vocal chords, but P!nk also performed it upside down, hanging from a rope in mid-air. In all of this we are also able to notice her incredible core strength and powerful abs as she lifts a man with the sole use of an arm and a knee. By the way, she is on pitch the whole time.
5.The most memorable performance in the history of music for us is, and will always be,The Beatles’ impromptu concert on the roof of Apple Corps Headquarters (not to confuse with Apple inc.). Was it a symbol of revolution, a form of art, or a casual decision? Doesn’t matter, really. What we know is that it was an original way to host a concert. People congregated in the streets and on roofs of opposite buildings, crying and cheering at the sound of Paul, John, George, and Ringo’s Rock. The rooftop concert marked the end of an era, as the group would go on to record one last album (Abbey Road) and then break up.
Even though there are many other live performances that would definitely have been worth mentioning in this list, we hope you enjoyed our personal favourite five. And as John Lennon said at the end of the rooftop concert: “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we’ve passed the audition.”