Sometimes there are moments in music where the World stops, when a band or artist performs a live show that goes down in the music history as a seminal moment. These gigs are few and far between but when they happen, everybody wishes they were there, caught up the hysteria and magic of musical perfection. There are many gigs that lay claim to the greatest of all time label and I don’t want to be so bold as to tell you what ‘the greatest’ was, instead I’ve decided to sit on the fence somewhat and break down the top 4 greatest of all time.
Queen at Live Aid 1985
Queen’s popularity at the time of Live Aid was relatively strong owing to songs such as Bohemian Rhapsody and Don’t Stop Me Now, but the expectation on them wasn’t exactly high. They were placed in a daytime slot and much before the big headline acts, Freddie and Co. however had much different ideas for how this show would go down. In all his pomp and swagger, Freddie picked up the Wembley crowd and took them on a 15 minute journey that would go down in history. Racing through all of their hits and reaching a crescendo with over a million people singing and clapping to Radio Gaga, no act would beat this performance on the day and Queen quite literally stole the show.
Oasis at Knebworth
The Force Majeure that was Oasis, a band that screamed out of Manchester in the Britpop 90s with attitude, anger and great music, garnered the hearts and minds of every teenager up and down Britain. Shortly after the release of their multi-platinum album ‘What’s the Story Morning Glory’ they took to the stage of Knebworth to play two nights of foot stomping, scream inducing music to some 250,000 revellers. This was a band at it’s peak, the biggest band in the World and few would disagree with Noel Gallagher’s sentiments on the night that ‘This is history.”
The Beatles on the Rooftop of Apple Offices
The Beatles had been looking for a way to wrap up their Let it Be documentary, McCartney had suggested a live broadcast releasing new songs that the band had been working on, this idea was shelved and instead, they took to the rooftop of the Apple offices to pump out some of their hits to the unsuspecting public. The Beatles hadn’t performed live for some years prior to the gig and rumours had been circling of a fracture within the band. The rumours would prove to be true and at the end of what would be the final ever performance of the ‘fab four’ Lennon signed off with “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition!” History.
Nirvana at Reading Festival
In 1992 Nirvana were a rock juggernaut, they had captured the hearts of every angry teenager in the World and their musical assault was unrelenting. When they were booked to headline Reading festival there were many fears around the health of the Kurt Cobain as a result of his drug addiction. These fears were swiftly allayed when Cobain entered the stage on a wheelchair using a Courtney Love-style wig and mimicking his own death before launching into an ear-bleeding, heart thumping, raw performance that lifted the Reading crowd to another place. At the end of the seminal gig the band promptly destroyed the stage and their instruments leaving the audience asking themselves what the hell they had just seen and if they’ll ever witness the like again.
You may not have been lucky enough to be at the gigs, but all are available on DVD for you to enjoy, I recommend that if you truly want to feel like you were there then you are going to need to have a television with a great picture and a perfect sound. I recently purchased a Panasonic 4K TV and having watched the Queen gig last week I can honestly say that for picture and sound, there are none better out there. I urge you to get out there and relive these seminal moments in music history.