amazing live videos of Alice Coltrane, The Who, Liz Phair & more to watch while every show is cancelled
Cities have begun to reopen (NYC is in the early stages of doing so) and some people are finding socially-distant ways to put on concerts, but the world of live entertainment as we know it is still far from back to normal. In addition to watching the many livestreams that happen every day, one thing we've been turning to in these concert-less times is live concert footage, and thankfully there’s YouTube which has an amazing array of live footage from throughout the history of pop music, from clips from concert films, TV performances and other pro-shot footage, to tons of fan-shot video from shows. If you’re looking for a place to start, we’ve been picking some of our favorites. Here are five more:
Alice Coltrane - live harp solo
It's not easy to find live footage of the late, great Alice Coltrane, but this nine-minute harp solo is one of the few live videos I've found and it's a truly mesmerizing one. A retrospective on Alice that The Quietus published in 2017 mentioned that Alice "would later recall how, if the windows [in her house] were open, a strong breeze would make the harp’s strings hum, as if it was being played by some invisible force," and Alice has a way of playing the instrument that feels as airy and barely-there as the breeze itself. [Andrew Sacher]
The Who @ Isle of Wight 1970
The Who were still supporting Tommy when they played the storied Isle of Wight festival in 1970, and they performed that rock opera in full at the fest, alongside a nice selection of older faves, a few covers, and a few songs that hadn't been released yet, some of which ended up as Who's Next era rarities that didn't get properly released until years later. The band's whole Isle of Wight set is out as a two-disc live album, though this hour-long video doesn't have the entire performance, but it's still more than enough high-quality footage of The Who in their prime and it's a treat to see their early '70s days immortalized like this. The classic Who lineup is one of those bands where every single member brings something hugely significant to the table and they've got an immense amount of showmanship, all of which is on display in this great video. [Andrew Sacher]
Frank Sidebottom Celebration Evening One Hour Movie
You may have seen the 2014 film Frank starring Michael Fassbender, but the true story of the man behind the mask is much more interesting. Chris Sievey always wanted to be in the spotlight, having made wildly creative films, cartoons and videos with no budget, and was in a number of bands with not much success... till he created a paper mache head and Frank Sidebottom was born. A truly one of a kind creation, Frank did parodies of both popular songs and indie hits, all reworked to be about Frank's life in Timperley, England. Live shows were as much performance art as anything else, but Frank's love of music always shined through as this collection of footages shows. Rest in peace. [Bill Pearis]
The Futureheads @ Glastonbury 2005
While part of the mid-'00s post-punk revival scene that gave us Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party, there really wasn't another band quite like The Futureheads, who mixed dadaist lyrics, spiky music and complex harmony arrangements. Their debut album remains one of the best of that era and here they are wowing Glastonbury the summer after it was released, with their knockout cover of Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love" and more. [Bill Pearis]
Liz Phair @ Town Hall, NYC - 4/25/1995 & Lizner Auditorium, Washington DC - 4/26/1995
These two nights of back-to-back East Coast Liz Phair shows are from the time between 1994's Whip-Smart and 1998's Whitechocolatespaceegg, and despite questionable picture quality (sourced from a VHS tape), feature a killer mix of her classic material. As we wait for Liz's first album in a decade, they're a reminder of why we're anticipating it, as well as her return to the road, so eagerly. [Amanda Hatfield]
Check out pictures of The Who at Madison Square Garden in 2019 in the gallery below.
For more of our favorite live videos, head here.