Why would anyone see a live orchestra
It is only on stage that it becomes apparent what distinguishes the best live bands. What is finally pressed onto a record after countless takes and sometimes tough discussions up to negotiations in the context of a studio production is a polished snapshot that sounds flawless, but does not reflect the true skills of a band or only insufficiently realistically. How filigree, well-rehearsed and coordinated a band works can only be seen when it performs "raw" and, above all, live on a stage.
The best live bands of all time know what is important on stage.
By Alexander Schölzel
Not everyone can live live
What is it that makes a good live band? Is it a high technical level, the best stage equipment and a lot of show? Or is it more the human achievements, the grandiose command of an instrument and the musically demanding songs?
Not every band manages to build the right connection to the audience in order to do justice to them in all facets of live performance. If you ask yourselves once and listen to the best live bands among your musicians, you often get a lot of euphoria and disillusionment at the same time. A lot of bands deliver really good music, but when it comes to their qualifications on stage, adjectives like "terribly bad" or "underground" are quickly used.
Stage action hell come out?
Still others attach great importance to stage presence and simply demand to be "taken with you". If you want to animate your audience as a band and also control them to a large extent, you need self-confidence. The contact with the audience is created a lot through movement, which in turn assumes that a guitarist has mastered his pieces and does not have to constantly look at his fingers. The eyes occupy a high proportion of the human sensory power at a concert.
Nevertheless, live bands should be able to adequately transport the studio sound to the stage. Nevertheless: the audience is happy to forgive minor mistakes if a band instead goes crazy and gets carried away. If the shirt isn't soaked in sweat after a concert, it wasn't a good show. Or what was that like? Every concert goer will quickly notice when the band doesn't love what they're doing on stage and, in the worst case, isn't having fun. If the fun and passion are in the air, the rest will come by itself.
What it is ultimately that the best live bands of all time bring with them, everyone will probably decide for themselves in their subjective perception. Here, however, comes our suggestion of ten acts who truly know what to do on stage.
Place # 10: U2
At their first appearance there were just nine spectators. Later, Paul David Henson, aka Bono (vocals), David Howell Evans (guitar), Adam Clayton (bass) and Larry Mullen Jr. (Drums) fill entire stages and make them rock out. Despite all today's honor, the success was initially a long time coming. With their debut album "Boy" the production costs could hardly be covered and their subsequent releases "October" and "War" also only got off to a sluggish start.
First chart topper: her single »Sunday Bloody Sunday«, which jumped into the hit lists all over Europe. It continued like a catapult after the release of the album "The Joshua Tree", which already reached platinum status within two days and has been sold ten million times in six months. The summary of success: 13 studio albums, 22 Grammys and entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
# 9: Rage Against the Machine
With their sound they met the ravages of time: Rage Against the Machine, consisting of front man Zack de la Rocha, Tom Morello (guitar), Tim Commerford (bass) and Brad Wilk (drums), roared against the establishment. The musical mixture of rhythm-oriented, hard rock in combination with rapping vocals was just as pleasing as the rebellious messages of the band. With their song "Killing in the Name" they attack police brutality and racism and call on their fans to resist.
17 years after the song was released, it landed at number one on the British charts. A call on social media to buy and download the song multiple times led to late success. A sign of protest: in the years before that, the winning song of the casting show X-Factor was consistently and without exception always at the top of the chart. In 2010 the band gave a free concert in honor of their song. In an interview with the BBC, Tom Morello drew his feedback:
»The campaign was a lesson: that applies to small things - for example who is at the top of the charts. But it also applies to the big things like war and peace or social justice. If people get together and speak out, they can beat the system. "
# 8: Metallica (nickname "Alcoholica")
Metallica is currently James Hetfield (guitar / vocals), Lars Ulrich (drums), Kirk Hammett (lead guitar) and Robert Trujillo (bass). In the »Süddeutsche [n] Zeitung« a portrait of singer James Hetfield was once titled »Four Monsters between Metal and Mainstream«. And that's really fitting. The band is considered a legend live. Many, certainly referred to by fans as musical aberrations, shaped by stylistic influences, have always remained true to metal at heart.
From 2002 the band returned to their musical roots. Their eleventh album “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” is considered the best work in over 20 years and on November 25, 2016 it entered the German album charts at number one. In total, the band has sold more than 110 million albums worldwide and gigs on all continents of the world - that speaks for itself, I think. By the way, if you want to have the live experience: Metallica will also be stopping in Germany on their “WorldWired Tour” 2018.
# 7: Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl (vocals / rhythm guitar), Pat Smear (lead guitar / rhythm guitar), Nate Mendel (bass), Taylor Hawkins (drums) and Chris Shiflett (lead guitar / vocals) form the basic line of the American rock band. Keyboardist Rami Kaffee has also been involved since 2017. The Foo Fighters present their sound on nine studio albums. Even if the history of the band is one of separations and changes, they could always convince live.
The stage excitement even went so far that Grohl fell off the stage during a concert in Gothenburg and had to go to hospital. After about half an hour he got up again, bandaged, and continued his show. The audience will have been delighted.
# 6: The Rolling Stones
What would a top list like this be without the Rolling Stones? They are considered to be the longest-lived and most commercially successful band in rock history and they know how to deliver live. They seem to have been touring continuously since their founding in 1962. Even as you write this article, you are playing on European stages. There seems to be no question here whether Jagger and Co know how to convince on stage.
On their current tour, the Stones know how to delight their audience with a setlist consisting of old classics and unexpected tracks. With their 23rd studio album "Blue & Lonesome" they released an homage to their early days as a band. At that time they toured London clubs and bars as blues musicians. Their fans are still raving about their live experiences today: "Totally brutal, fantastic, unforgettable", enthuses a concert-goer in his fan report on eventim.de - this is how you imagine the fascinating old rockers.
Place # 5: AC / DC
Hard-Rock, Rock'n'Roll - you don't really know. Founded in 1973 by the brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, as well as bassist Larry Van Kriedt and drummer Colin Burgess, the goal was quickly established: “We just want to collapse the walls and collapse the roof. Music is there to be played as loud as possible, nice and raw and powerful, «the band announces on their official website.
From here you can undoubtedly have a rough idea of what a visit to a live concert might be like. AC / DC, which comes from English and stands for alternating current / direct current, make your audience tremble - whether they like it or not. This band electrifies the masses and lets it crash terribly, terribly.
# 4: Pink Floyd
Her style was considered completely new and unmistakable at the time: Pink Floyd was quickly able to convince people after it was founded in 1965. In their musical development their founding members Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Richard Wright went through many phases - from psychedelic to intellectual. Pink Floyd have always been known for their live shows. Their 360-degree multi-media choreography, specially developed for planetariums, stood out in particular. Images are projected onto the dome of a planetarium.
Rank # 3: The Who
As a live band, The Who experienced a kind of reunion in 1999. Previously they were mostly on the road including a big band, but now they have returned to the manageable line-up. While the focus of their appearances was previously on the concept albums, Zak Starkey and John Bundrick now "only" performed their greatest hits. One of the most important concerts is her appearance at the Concert for New York City, a benefit concert for the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Despite the depressed mood, the group managed to transfer their energy to the audience and create an energetic atmosphere of optimism.
# 2: Led Zeppelin
They play a mixture of hard rock, folk and blues and quickly developed into one of the most successful bands of the 1970s. After their separation in 2007 rumors arose of plans for a reunion tour with the old line-up. On December 10, 2007, Led Zeppelin finally played their live comeback at the O2 Arena in London in honor of the late founder of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegün.
The rush for the concert tickets was huge: an unbelievable 20 million people registered for the tickets. Ultimately, the lot decided to whom the 20,000 tickets would be issued. Cost per ticket: 183 euros. There was a lot on offer! Led Zeppelin exuded fervor on the stage and always left a blissful crowd of enthusiastic fans.
# 1 place: Queen
Even without front man legend Freddy Mercury, Queen are still tearing down walls live. Adam Lambert serves as an honorable replacement. With so many hits, a live show can only guarantee a stunning performance. In 16 years the band played over 700 concerts, making them one of the most successful live bands of the 1970s and 1980s. Nothing was allowed to come from the tape live, the structure of their concerts was thought out down to the smallest detail. Like hardly any other band, they built up an arc of tension during their shows, which ultimately led to an exploding climax.
Songs performed especially for the country of performance cast a spell over the audience. Often the audience was left to sing alone over several passages - an unbelievable atmosphere. Freddie Mercury is also kept in memory during the more recent shows: guitarist Brian May plays an acoustic set and sings - initially - together with the audience "Love Of My Life". Later together with Freddie, who was shown on a video wall.
What is it in your eyes that defines a live band?
What are your favorite live bands and what do you think makes a great live show? Is it the fireworks, the light show or just the fact that you can be very close to your favorite band?
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