The best concerts are remembered for more than just their music. They bring an extra level of senses-blasting awesomeness to whatever is taking place on stage. The greatest concerts take the music and elevate it to a whole new experience — an experience that resonates for years to come. Here is the list of 10 epic concerts of all all time. Like us on Facebook and Twitter if you are a fan of one of these groups.
10. Jimi Hendrix
The Jimi Hendrix Experience generated a crazy buzz when they took the stage at the three-day Monterey Pop Festival in California Their debut album, ‘Are You Experienced,’ was just released, and the concert helped usher in a new wave of rock music during the ‘Summer of Love’. Hendrix ended the concert with a cover of the Troggs’ ‘Wild Thing’ — complete with the guitar acrobatics that got him the recognition he deserved. However, it was the final act — which involved dry humping his instrument, setting it on fire and smashing it onstage — that made him the rockstar people loved.
Musicologist Andy Aledort saw Hendrix as “one of the most creative” and “influential musicians that has ever lived”. Chuck Philips argued: “In a field almost exclusively populated by white musicians, Hendrix has served as a role model for a cadre of young black rockers. His achievement was to reclaim title to a musical form pioneered by black innovators like Little Richard and Chuck Berry in the 1950s.” The impact and legacy of Jimi Hendrix is immeasurable.
9. The Beatles
Stranded on a small stage in the midst of a baseball field far away from their audience, The Beatles could barely hear themselves play, nor could their audience, on the evening of August 15, 1965. The sound at Shea Stadium was horrific. The Beatles were the first band ever to utilize the stadium for this type of venue, and no one had any idea how to make use of the sound for such a monumental event. The crowd, however, could not care less. Attended by nearly 56,000 Beatles fans – the sold-out concert hired 2,000 security guards, whose job it was to prevent the fans from going on the stage. This was the height of Beatlemania, when John, Paul, George and Ringo still dressed similarly – in smart khaki sports coats and black trousers – and belted out their more fun-loving hits. Though it was before the advent of laser light shows, the show would signify the conception of a modern rock concert, stifling other records previously set for concert attendance, revenue generation and even sound amplification.
8. Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan was the perfect fit for the 1995 Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island. He performed there two well-liked acoustic sets in 1963 and ’64 respectively. But when he came back in July 1965, he decided to change things around. After a traditional acoustic set on July 24, Dylan returned the following day and took the stage with five backing musicians, who proceeded to plug in their instruments and perform electric versions of Dylan’s greatest hits. The fans were not happy, booing both Dylan and his band off stage. Dylan and his entourage would not play at the festival for another 37 years.
7. The Doors
Jim Morrison was a drunken rambler when he was performing onstage. He had a reputation for digesting any kind of drug that was given to him by a fan. As well, he was as unreliable as he was erratic. On March 1, 1969, during a Doors concert in Miami, the singer began yelling at fans. Having too much to drink, he also started confronting the police who were located near the stage. By all accounts, it was a horrific scene, incomprehensible performance capped by what was allegedly Morrison’s most notorious onstage action, whipping out his penis. Four days later, he was arrested. He died while the case was still open.
Like a few other entries on this top ten list of the Most Epic Rock Concerts of All Time, Woodstock had way too many great performances to nominate the best one. In fact, it’s the entire four-day festival that makes it one of the most historic concerts ever planned. Santana were there. So were the Who, Jimi Hendrix and Crosby, Stills & Nash. And they all played their all-time best hit at the venerable hippie fest. The festival is considered to be the definitive nexus for the larger counterculture generation.
Believe it or not, there was a time when The Rolling Stones were actually cool. This tour in 1981, promoting their last great album Tattoo You, was in many ways the end of an era. They were still young enough to write good songs like “Start Me Up,” but just old enough to be respected and awed. This was one of the great concerts in Dallas history (The Fabulous Thunderbirds and ZZ Top opened the show), played before a sold out crowd of 90,000. The masses got their money’s worth, as The Stones opened with “Under My Thumb” and closed with “Satisfaction.” In between, all present were drenched by a huge thunderstorm, but the band kept on playing. Mick Jagger, at one point, clothes soaked, hair matted, said into the cordless microphone, “I believe we are going to have to build a fucking ark.”
It’s hardly difficult to forget Sir Elton John these days. I cannot recall if he was touring for a new album or not because he has many of them. But this night, he was not quite so middle aged. During this concert, he was admired in white leather suit, red elevator shoes and sunglasses, and a white leather beret. He and his extraordinary band opened with “Funeral for a Friend.” The stage was glowing in darkness during the moody number, and then suddenly exploded in light as they ripped into “Love Lies Bleeding.” Sir Elton John, sitting (and often standing) at a grand piano, never let up, playing “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting,” “Pinball Wizard,” “Bennie and the Jets” and many other hits. It was not a typical concert. But Sir Elton was hardly your conventional rock star.
3. Live Aid
Organized by Midge Ure and Bob Geldof, the concerts came in the attempt to raise funds for Africa, started with the single Do They Know It’s Christmas? The purpose of the event was to raise money for North Africa, especially Ethiopia. The two main concerts were held at Wembley Arena in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, with other smaller events taking place in the rest of Europe and in Australia. The show lasted 16 hours and many of the great bands of the moment took part, including U2, Queen, David Bowie and Paul McCartney. Since then, many musicians have followed and launched fundraising campaigns.
Throughout the concerts, viewers were urged to donate money to the Live Aid cause. Three hundred phone lines were manned by the BBC, so that members of the public could make donations using their credit cards. The phone number and an address that viewers could send cheques to were repeated every twenty minutes. Nearly seven hours into the concert in London, Bob Geldof enquired how much money had been raised; he was told £1.2 million.
2. Rod Stewart
A New Years celebration featuring Rod Stewart with the largest concert crowd ever. The wonderful Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil was over crowed with singing and celebrating audience. Total number of people attending was 3,500,000. Instead of opting for a traditional venue like a stadium — and those Brazilian soccer fans sure have large ones — Stewart performed, his way, and staged the concert at Copacabana Beach as a gift to the people of Rio who were unemployed or in financial need.
1. The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert
When Queen frontman Freddie Mercury died of AIDS on Nov. 24, 1991, the rock and roll world was left with a big void. Nearly half a year later, a massive tribute concert was held at London’s Wembley Stadium to raise funds for AIDS research. The members of Queen were joined onstage by generations of fans and friends, including Metalica, Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses, and U2. Some artists chose to sing Queen songs with the group’s surviving members; some played sets of their own material. All rocked pretty hard to promote a worthy cause.
The extent to which Mercury’s death may have enhanced Queen’s popularity is not clear. In the United States, where Queen’s popularity had lagged in the 1980s, sales of Queen albums went up dramatically in 1992, the year following his death. In 1992 one American critic noted, “What cynics call the ‘dead star’ factor had come into play—Queen is in the middle of a major resurgence”. The movie Wayne’s World, which featured “Bohemian Rhapsody”, also came out in 1992. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Queen have sold 34.5 million albums in the United States, about half of which have been sold since Mercury’s death in 1991.