Basically no shows are happening due to the coronavirus outbreak (though some artists are doing livestreams instead), but if you’re already jonesing to see a show, or just need a brief distraction from the insanity of the world right now, 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:
R.E.M. @ Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ June 9, 1984
Having released their second album, Reckoning, a couple months earlier, R.E.M. were kinda unstoppable, confident and prolific when they played this show at Passaic, NJ's Capitol Theatre, peppering their set with songs from not only 1985's Fables of the Reconstruction but also 1986's Life's Rich Pageant. The show actually kicks off with a Velvet Underground cover ("Pale Blue Eyes") and then running through a killer set that includes early classics "Harborcoat," "7 Chinese Brothers," "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)," "Gardening at Night," "Radio Free Europe," and an all-covers encore ending with Them's "Gloria." This was recorded for an MTV special titled "Rock Influences: Folk Rock." [Bill Pearis]
Tom Waits @ Hammersmith Apollo, London - 11/23/2004
Recordings of Tom Waits and his routinely excellent backing bands are treasured among fans. While this is mostly because of the power Waits’ take on American music exudes when performed live, the trickle of rare appearances since his last tour in 2008 have only made fans desperate for every bootlegged moment of him in action they can find. This concert from the Real Gone tour featured many of his cherished stage show hallmarks: ritualistic convulsions; searing, skronky performances by long-time collaborators Marc Ribot and the late Larry Taylor; and a career-spanning setlist, commanded by Waits’ inimitable growl and avuncular storytelling. [Andrew Marinaccio]
Husker Du @ Camden Palace, London - 5/14/1985
The energy that Husker Du brought to the stage was genuinely life-affirming -- Bob Mould still brings much of that same energy to his own shows today -- and on this pro-shot 1985 concert film (recorded for the UK TV show "Live From London" and later released on home video), that energy comes pouring out of your speakers and screen. This was done in between the releases of New Day Rising and Flip Your Wig, and their set leaned most heavily on songs from the former but also included two then-unreleased songs from the latter ("Makes No Sense At All" and "Every Everything"), plus they did killer, very Husker Du-sounding covers of The Beatles' "Ticket To Ride," The Byrds' "Eight Miles High," and Sonny Curtis' "Love Is All Around." [Andrew Sacher]
Related: more photos of Husker Du at NYC's Peppermint Lounge in 1985 (like the one at the top of this post) here.
Radiohead - Live At Reading Festival 2009
Touring behind In Rainbows, Radiohead managed to put together a near-perfect setlist for their headlining performance at 2009's Reading Festival. It's a remarkable show from the start, as the band surprised everyone by opening with"Creep," which was a fantastic to kick of this set. The band also included the usual staples like "The National Anthem," "Street Spirit (Fade Out)," "Paranoid Android," and lots more, all of which were made more powerful by the band's dazzling light displays. Meanwhile, incredible versions of In Rainbows highlights like "Bodysnatchers" and "Reckoner" sounded just as fitting among the older classics. This is how you play a festival. [Jeremy Nifras]
The Sex Pistols @ Winterland 1/14/1978
If you’ve never read 12 Days on the Road by Noel Monk, about the Sex Pistols’ first, and last, tour of the United States, I beseech thee to rectify this vacancy in your reading history immediately. Manager Malcolm McLaren had the idea to subvert the typical tour routes and bypass the major markets like NYC and LA in favor of an itinerary that would wind them through the deep south, including stops in places like Atlanta, Memphis, San Antonio, Baton Rouge, Dallas and Tulsa. As the tour slogged on, the myriad idiosyncrasies and problems that had been festering within the group began to seriously manifest. When the final gig of the tour hit San Francisco’s Winterland on January 14, 1978, the tiny thread holding them together finally snapped and the band split immediately after. Finally in a relevant market with a lot of hype in tow, the massively sold out show was simulcast on KSAN FM Radio and got a multi-camera recording which you can see below. Aside from Sid Vicious sounding like a three year old dicking around on a bass he found in the garbage, the rest of the band sounds pretty amazing and Johnny Rotten is in his purest form. [Jeff Bergstrom]
For more of our favorite live videos, head here.