The 50 Greatest Live Rock Concerts You Have to See

Going to a rock concert is an experience.  Going to a GREAT rock concert is an experience you’ll be sharing with others for years – perhaps decades – to come.

We all have our favorite artists, but not all of them know how to give a great performance.  Web Watch appreciates The Steve Miller Band, for instance, but didn’t need to hear them perform a 2-hour rendition of the Steve Miller’s Greatest Hits album.

We also recall one start-up band (whose name we will purposefully leave out) that had to fill a 30-minute set… but only had about 15 minutes worth of material.  They opened with their hit, they closed with their hit – then, after being told backstage that they “need to get back out there”, finished their set by playing their hit a third time.  Almost a text-book example of what the term ONE HIT WONDER really means.

The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll: The Definitive History of the Most Important Artists and Their Music
The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll:
The Definitive History of the Most Important Artists and Their Music

Then there are those bands that you may or may not appreciate in album form, but whose live performances can convert anyone into a fan.  Some concert experiences can be contrived (oh, let’s invite a 12-year-old on stage and have them play with us… then we’ll give them a guitar!), but the best ones are where you can tell that the artist and the crowd have become one, feeding off another into a spectacular frenzy that turns into that singular “you had to be there” moment.

And it’s the latter experience that ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE was concentrating on when they came up with their list of the 50 GREATEST LIVE ACTS TODAY.  These are artists that, whether you’re a fan of them or not, you absolutely need to figure out a way to see them live before they decide to retire – or worse.

You’ll want to click through to read the description as to why these particular artists made the list, but here’s who they selected as the Most Incredible Live Performances You Have To See NOW:

  1. Bruce Springsteen
  2. Prince
  3. Rolling Stones
  4. Arcade Fire
  5. Neil Young
  6. Jay Z
  7. Radiohead
  8. Jack White
  9. Rage Against the Machine
  10. My Morning Jacket
  11. U2
  12. Wilco
  13. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  14. The Black Keys
  15. Paul McCartney
  16. Alabama Shakes
  17. Nine Inch Nails
  18. Metallica
  19. The Roots
  20. Kanye West
  21. Red Hot Chili Peppers
  22. Tom Waits
  23. Pearl Jam
  24. Dave Matthews Band
  25. Phish
  26. Leonard Cohen
  27. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  28. Patti Smith
  29. Muse
  30. Madonna
  31. David Byrne
  32. Sleigh Bells
  33. Beyonce
  34. Foo Fighters
  35. Bruno Mars
  36. Florence and the Machine
  37. The National
  38. Queens of the Stone Age
  39. Rush
  40. Eric Church
  41. Tame Impala
  42. Skrillex
  43. Mumford and Sons
  44. Janelle Monae
  45. Lady Gaga
  46. Tool
  47. Sigur Ros
  48. Green Day
  49. Taylor Swift
  50. Fiona Apple

So we’ve only seen about 20% through this list ourselves.  Not a bad track record of concert-attending – but we could do better, based on who’s here.

Now if only we still had our ticket stubs… then we could look back and tell our friends, “we were there, here’s the proof!”