Watching a band perform live in concert provides an experience that goes far beyond just the music. No two live shows are the same; the band, travelling from city to city across the globe, improvise upon its performances and feeds on the varying energies that different cultures and backdrops provide. Iconic locales, such as Scotland’s Slane Castle or the unusual ‘Float’ in Singapore’s Marina Bay provide a unique ambience to the show. What’s more, the way different cultures interact with and appreciate music can be experienced through the crowd; different people all brought together through a love for the music. While the energy can’t be fully captured on a TV screen, watching how the different crowds enjoy the show, how they influence the artist at a host of iconic venues can add a whole new dimension to the music you like listening to. The following are a few great concert recordings that are available to watch free on the internet.
Radiohead is a band that rose to fame writing songs about alienation and isolation. It’s rather fitting, therefore, that they should be first on a list meant to ease the social distancing blues the lockdown has brought upon us.
The band has long since cemented their name among the all-time greats, and earlier this year, took the bold step of launching the Radiohead Public Library, a digital archive of their work through the years. The library contains artwork, rare unreleased records and shows, and a whole host of live shows they've played around the world.
A concert much revered by the band’s loyal fanbase is the 2006 show at Bonnaroo, a massive three-day festival held every year in Manchester, Tennessee. The show was part of the tour in which Radiohead were testing out a lot of material from their forthcoming album In Rainbows, but also went back through their discography and played hits such as ‘Kid A’, ‘Paranoid Android’, and ‘Karma Police.’
The impact that Nirvana had was nothing the world had ever seen before. It might be cliched to call them the ‘voice of a generation’ but that’s exactly what they were for Generation X. Following in the wake of commercial, over-produced glam rock, Nirvana thrust the apathy, angst, and reckless abandon of alternative rock into the mainstream and became the biggest grunge band that remains a household name today.
The concert we would recommend is their MTV Unplugged show from 1993. The heavy, high-gain guitars and crashing drums are not on full display here, which might upset purists, but the Unplugged show is probably the most popular memory of the band today. The acoustic instruments let Kurt Cobain's iconic, raspy voice and melancholic and abstract song-writing take centrestage.
Today, Nirvana’s legacy is largely remembered through Cobain’s tragic suicide and Dave Grohl’s immense success with the Foo Fighters. Revisiting the classic show can move away from the events surrounding the band and allow us to focus on the music.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Winners of Grammys, members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and six-time platinum selling artists, the Chili Peppers are a beloved in the world of rock and roll.
One of their best live shows has to be Live at Slane Castle in 2001. Although it was before the release of two of the band’s biggest albums, By the Way and Stadium Arcadium, the set-list was full of classics such as ‘Give it Away’, ‘Californication’, and ‘Scar Tissue.’ Pair this with bassist Flea’s iconic skeleton costume and the magnificent Slane Castle overhanging the audience, and the show’s energy is unrivalled.
The prolific funk-rock band is still functional today, with beloved guitarist John Frusciante returning to the band late last year. While production of a new record is probably on hold right now, watching the Slane Castle show will surely get you amped up for future releases.
Since their 2013 album AM, the Arctic Monkeys have become global alt-rock darlings, amassing millions of fans the world over. Frontman Alex Turner’s evocative lyrics, innovative examples, and relatable themes of love and heartache lie at the core of the band's aesthetic, but the vibrant, upbeat progressions and rhythm make them accessible and infinitely enjoyable. Their 2011 concert at the T in the Park festival in Scotland is an example of the monkeys at their prime. Part of the tour for their fourth album, Suck it and See, the set featured many of its charming ballads, including the title track. Many songs from their revered second album were also performed, including hits such as, ‘Fluorescent Adolescents’, ‘Teddy Picker’, and ‘505.’ Alex Turner’s charisma as he banters with the audience between songs makes the live show an enriching experience, over and above the songs listed.