There’s something different about experiencing music live, the buzz of the atmosphere and witnessing your favourite musicians dance flamboyantly across the dance floor that just can’t be replicated in any studio album or recording irrespective of the quality.
Whilst there are so many concerts across a wide variety of genres, we found ourselves gravitated to some of the earlier concerts and hence transitioned this to focus on the best rock music concerts.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience concert tour
Without a doubt, when Jimi Hendrix released his 1967 debut album, “Are You Experienced?” the music scene shifted. He had established himself as a pioneering genius. Never before had the whammy bar or distortion pedals been used and pushed to great lengths to create new sounds. Combine that with the rings Jimi often wore when playing to get the strings to reverb in interesting ways, and you have beautiful rich, vibrant and skilful music.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience tour following the release of the album has always been deeply imprinted in the minds of rock music enthusiasts. They were playing alongside massive big time starts like Pink Floyd and Cat Stevens. Combine that with the flashy showmanship Jimi Hendrix always had whenever he played guitar. Even his solo and performance at Woodstock in 1969 remains legendary and lives on today more than 50 years later. One interesting fact to note in this performance, is that he performed as the final closing act for Woodstock early on the Monday morning. By that time, the crowd had dwindled, making this a performance participants would have sorely missed looking back with hindsight on its lasting historical influence.
Carlos Santana, 1969 Woodstock
Because we mentioned Woodstock, we couldn’t ignore Carlos Santana’s performance. Many attest to enjoying him better live rather than in studio recordings. The emotion he portrayed on the stage was just magical. Enthusiasts have described his guitar as a snake, because of how he’d glide around the stage with it, whipping it back and forth as he climbed the frets.
Green Day 1994 Woodstock
Before their global success with the single and album American Idiot, Green Day continued to make some great music. Back then they weren’t a big deal, but it’s about acknowledging their roots and yet untapped potential.
Johnny Cash at San Quentin prison
Playing to over 2,000 in-mate prisoners much like he had previously done another performance at Folsom Prison, his performance was held in the face of season criminals heckling him. His concert was transmitted live at chill out radio there.
BB King at the Cook County Jail
Johnny Cash is by no means the only isolated artists to have made a similar performance. BB King, one of the greatest kings of blues music, also performed at a jail – the Cook County Jail in 1971 with a documentary promoting the experience.
Led Zepplin World Tour
An era before private planes, Led Zepplin found themselves touring the US in the late 1960s. During which they played over a hundred and fifty songs in the 1968 calendar year. Their experience very much parallels Black Sabbaths tour of the US for which we should also credit and draw attention to.
Allman Brothers at Fillmore East
Whilst played live, this concert was also recorded and became one of their defining creative works. Rock historians regard this live recording to be their best album.
Sonic Youth and Nirvana European Tour
Before Nirvana released “Nevermind,” they were a relatively unknown band. They were already booked as an opener for Sonic Youth, but as their popularity surged, they began to realise how they could captivate such large audiences. Even with their short 20minute opening slot, they amassed crows the size of major headline shows.