The global shutdown amidst pandemic made live performances, specifically those done in front of a physically present audience, a thing of the past.
Last month marked the 35th year since the staging of the Live Aid benefit concert held to raise funds for the Ethiopian famine.
Theatre actress Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo emphasized to the media that the lockdown last summer effectively stripped live performers of their jobs and ultimate form of expression as they knew it.
All is not lost though as the online live showcase became an instant solution to the ongoing problem. On that note, it’s okay to indulge ourselves in nostalgic trips to some fine concerts and hit songs performed live. This shortlist is pure classic, randomly picked. It should remind us of the luster of the old world.
1. Queen’s greatest gig: The 20-minute showcase on July 13, 1985 at London’s Wembley Stadium sealed Freddie Mercury’s status as perhaps the greatest frontman. The moment when the sea of people clapped in unison to simulate the band’s act in the music video of “Radio Gaga” was, believe it or not, real and spontaneous.
2. The Band Who Sold The World: Kurt Cobain’s tour de force for the television series MTV Unplugged, which he and the rest of Nirvana accomplished in New York on November 18, 1993 resulted in an iconic live album released months after his death. Their cover of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World” outshone the original, period.
3. Peace and Music: The Woodstock Rock Festival in Bethel, New York in August 1969 was a three-day outdoor affair in a dairy farm, featuring 32 acts and attended by 400,000. Free love; no social distancing.
4. Eva’s gold: If you listen to Eva Cassidy’s “Live at Blues Alley,” which she performed in 1996 or months before her shock death, you’d hear the intimate crowd acknowledging her with applause. Her version of Sting’s “Fields Of Gold” said everything about her moving voice and tragic story.
5. First Moonwalk: The 1983 “Motown 25” silver anniversary special taped before a live studio audience at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in California featured Michael Jackson’s solo performance of “Billie Jean” where he showed the crowd and the world his moonwalk dance.
6. First Big Charity: The "Concert for Bangladesh" was a project by George Harrison and Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar in 1971 - a blueprint for all-star gigs.
7. Love Generation: The Monterey International Pop Festival was a three-day concert as the 1967 Summer of Love happens.
8. Somebody To Watch: George Michael’s live rendition of “Somebody To Love” with surviving Queen members was a highlight at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert in April 1992.
9. '90s hit: Rod Stewart’s MTV Unplugged-take of Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately” was a radio staple in the early 90s.
10. Stadium show: The Beatles were the act to follow after they performed at the Shea Stadium, New York in August 1965 in front of more than 55,000 delirious fans.
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