Some of the Greatest Gigs on YouTube
Published on 26 March 2020
So, we're all stuck at home with a bit of time on our hands. Don't worry rockers, there are plenty of ways to pass it... For one, stop playing with your phone and pick up your guitar! This is optimum practice time and at the very least we can't wait to see all of the amazing music that comes out as a result of this. That said, when your fingers are bloody, broken, bruised and tired, the neighbours have been banging on the wall for the fourth time that day and your family no longer treat you as one of their own... Maybe it's time to put down the axe for a couple of hours. But how to fill your time? You've already watched every true-crime series on Netflix and the group chat has gone stale as your pals drift into new levels of boredom. Well, don't worry dudes and dudettes, guitarguitar have always got your back! We thought we'd help you out by hooking you up with a few absolute gems from the archives. After trawling through YouTube, we've put together a list of some of the finest concerts ever to be uploaded to the website, all of which are available to watch right now. So, get the speakers plugged in, get these streamed onto your TV and shout the family through to watch in awe as you delve into some of the most musically captivating performances in history, all from the comfort of your own home!
Prince - Montreux Jazz Festival, 18th July 2009
No matter where your musical tastes lie, there is no denying the aura and magic of Prince. An absolute legend of not just guitar, but pop, rock, funk and anything in between, Prince's genius transcended genre and this unequivocally cool performance in 2009 at the Montreux Jazz Festival is the perfect showcase of his power. The concert was held in two parts, with both caught on camera and available to watch now and despite fairly similar sets, both are worth watching, even just to see the improvisation and master stagemanship exhibited. We could honestly have picked just about any performance, as every single one absolutely oozes style, talent, and a confidence that only comes from being the best, but this show in 2009 is a great example of how that energy never left him, even some 30 odd years into his career. With more seductive, wah soaked, gloriously stylish guitar parts than you can handle, there's nothing better to shake off the boredom right now than to spend some time with the master.
Led Zeppelin - Knebworth Festival, August 11th 1979
Throughout the history of rock, there are few bands who boast the talent of Led Zep. Influencing almost every rock outfit that came after them (we're looking at you Greta Van Fleet...), the mystic four-piece had a raw energy that's impossible for us mere mortals to match. Now, if you were one of the lucky ones who managed to catch the band in their prime, we've no doubt that memory is etched into your mind forever BUT, if not, we've got you covered with this incredible performance at the Knebworth Festival in 1979. With the band absolutely in their prime and ready to play, this concert is a perfect snapshot of what made the Led so special. I mean, combining such unbelievable talents was always going to result in something spectacular, as we've heard countless times on their records but actually witnessing the band play, seeing their chemistry and charisma is a special thing. From Bonham's thundering drums, to Plants wailing vocals, to Jones' unstoppable grooves, to Page slinging a double-neck SG, gigs don't come much more hard-rocking that 70's Zep, feast your eyes on the glory days of rock.
Queen - Live Aid (Wembley), 13th July 1985
What can we say about this gig that hasn't already been said? There is no greater frontman than Freddie Mercury and there is no greater example of that than the band's utterly iconic performance at Live Aid. Despite the set lasting less than half an hour, it has gone down in history as one of the most powerful performances of all time and has etched itself into the hearts and minds of music fans across the globe. Unfortunately, while the full set is online, we couldn't find it all in one video but you can check out the entire gig by having a quick search on the Live Aid channel. For the clip to sum it up, we, of course, had to choose Radio Gaga, a moment where Freddie had the crowd in the palm of his hand and 72,000 sets of arms in the air clapping along to the timeless track. Inspiring in so many ways, this sums up everything we love about the band and everything we love about live music, a shared energy that can be powerful enough to shake up the world forever.
Jimi Hendrix - Stockholm, Sweden, 9th January 1969
Come on, we're called guitarguitar, did you think this list wasn't going to have Hendrix in the mix? Please... This performance in Stockholm is one of our favourites from the great man. We know, we didn't pick Woodstock but don't dismay guitarists, there are plenty of clips from that amazing moment available online too if you fancy having a hunt for yourself. We opted for this footage from Sweden instead, purely for the amazing clarity and intimacy of the video. Remastered and offering a close up look at the band as they operate, this is an absolute masterclass from the king of the electric guitar. Not only that, with Hendrix being the wrecking ball of sound that he was, his band often get overlooked. But can you imagine trying to keep up with the wild improvisation and off the cuff changes that Hendrix liked to throw about!? It's a pretty terrifying prospect and Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding make it look so natural that it is fascinating to watch this close to the action. Sit back, put your guitar as far away from you as possible to avoid the feeling of utter despair this is sure to bring and enjoy!
Nirvana - Reading Festival, 30th August 1992
Is there a better example of the raw, punky, grunginess that set Nirvana apart from their peers as Reading '92? Unplugged in New York may have been a rare look into the soul of frontman Kurt Cobain but in this full-blown festival performance, he rips it apart and leaves it on the stage. Addressing tabloid rumours of his divorce, illness and subsequent demise, Kurt came to the stage on a wheelchair, hospital gown and (possibly Courtney Love inspired?) blonde wig, baffling the crowd for a few seconds before the intro to Breed sent them into a thrashing frenzy. Belting out chainsaw to the throat vocals that changed and empowered a whole generation of music fans, Nirvana rattle through an unstoppable setlist, sometimes at lightning pace, joined occasionally by hearty revellers who made it past the rows of security at the front. A reminder of how powerful three crazy kids with guitars can be, this performance is an inspiration to anyone who ever picked up a guitar and thought about making it. Pure grunge goodness with a side of sarcastic humour, love it. We've included the longest clip we could find but you can catch the full performance in different parts by having a search on YouTube.
Beastie Boys - Glasgow, May 3rd 1999
Keeping up the energy, we're moving on to 1999 and the unlikely venue of Glasgow's SECC for the next addition to our list. The Beastie Boys, a force of hip hop and punk rock, married the two to create one of the most explosive concoctions ever designed. Despite being outsiders to both scenes, the band took them over with their snarling attitudes and absolute insistence on doing things their own way. Nothing captures that more potently than this performance in Scotland. Rocking suits and low slung guitars, this concert is an absolute masterpiece from the band, showing their versatility and presence. Performing a mammoth 30 track set with more than a few truly incredible moments, the band dive about the stage as if possessed and it just sounds so musically on point we couldn't miss them out of this list. Who'd have thought Fuzz pedals worked so well with Hip Hop tunes? Ther Beasties, that's who. Sit back and observe the perfect storm. Saaaabotaaaaaaaage!!!
U2 - Los Angeles, 18th November 1987
There aren't many bands who can compete with U2 when it comes to live performance. As tight as they come with an instantly recognisable sound, hypnotic guitar parts and astonishingly strong vocals, U2 really are a supergroup in their own right. While their hair cuts may not always have been timeless (damn you 80's...), their sound has never wavered and if you've seen the band live yourself, you'll know how impressive they are in the flesh. There aren't many four pieces who can sound as gigantic as U2, who really are capable of filling just about any venue on the planet with their sound. They've countless amazing performances but we dug this gem from '87 out partly because of the hats, but mostly because of the amazing choice in tunes. Touring the Joshua Tree, this is the band at one of their highest moments and they sound utterly astonishing. Playing to no less than 90,000, U2 were and still are one of the strongest forces in music. Get this one turned up folks, you won't be disappointed.
Rage Against the Machine - Woodstock '99, 24th July 1999
Woodstock 99, the end of an era, one of the most talked about and infamous festivals in the history of rock and a truly explosive performance from one of the best bands on the planet, Rage Against the Machine. Who better than to fly the flag of rebellion at a festival that would go on to shock and astound the world!? From the start of first track No Shelter, this set pulls absolutely no punches with the renegade himself Zack De la Rocha stood prophet-like holding one fist defiantly in the air and snarling down the mic at the screaming crowd. Featuring more funk popping bass and otherwordly guitar squeals than you've probably ever seen in one performance, this captures the very essence of the band with a set that just goes from strength to strength, captivating and empowering the hungry crowd as Zach leaps about the stage in front of the heaviest, unapologetic funk metal the world had ever laid eyes on. Putting their values and beliefs at the forefront of every single song they wrote, few bands spit with the venom of Rage, it truly is relentless. Sit back and enjoy, and don't set fire to the house... Remember, this is your living room, not Woodstock...
So there you have it rockers, some of the finest footage on the internet to see you through these crazy times! Don't worry though, if none of the above is to your taste (seriously, none of it!?), then there are literally endless hours of gig footage available at the click of a button. While many of us weren't blessed to see the glory days of classic rock, grunge, hip hop, punk or whatever your chosen poison, we do live in an era like no other, where we can access these amazing moments. Spend some time looking for your dream gig online and let us know what you come up with in the comments... Be warned, it's a rabbit hole, we could've easily made this list 5 times the length!