Saturday, September 29, 2007

Great Live Music

I've had 10 Cent Freeze Pops listed on my blog roll for a few months now, in spite of the fact that the site has more or less gone defunct. It turned from a very clever sports blog (featuring one of my favourite sports blog bits, the review of an old Sports Illustrated issue from 20 years ago) into a blog that highlighted great musical performances found on YouTube. Now it's been over a month since the last post, which makes me think they've gone dark for good.

But their legacy isn't dead yet. I've cherry-picked a few great live performances from YouTube for your viewing and aural enjoyment. May you rest in peace, 10CFP.

Bruce Springsteen, Thunder Road, New York City, 1975

The beauty of the Boss is that almost all of his songs can either be played at full blast with the E Street Band going nuts and making it the best rock tune ever. Or, alternately, they can all be played acoustically or on piano/harmonica and they sound just as good if not better. Case in point, Thunder Road. The debate over whether this song is better built up or stripped down is the equivalent of the Lincoln-Douglas debates amongst Springsteen fans.

Paul Potts, Nessun Dorma, Cardiff, 1997

This might be my favourite one of the bunch. This phone salesman performs on Britain's Got Talent, says he's going to do opera, and everyone is semi-expecting a William Hung-esque debacle. Instead, he cleans house. I love the gradual "Holy shit" look that develops on Simon Cowell's face.

Beck, Clap Hands/One Foot In The Grave, Saturday Night Live, 2006

Sort of in the same that SNL isn't really 'cutting-edge' humour anymore, the musical guests are rarely anyone off the beaten path or who don't deliver a rote performance of their hit single. The nadir was Ashlee Simpson a couple of years ago. Beck, however, is never one to half-ass anything. I'll see if I can talk my family into a cover version during Thanksgiving next week.

John Entwistle and the Who, 5:15 bass solo, London, 2000

Good gracious. Wouldn't it be great to be as good at something as John Entwistle was at playing the bass? Oh wait, I am. coughcoughlovemakingcoughcough.

Pulp, Common People, Glastonbury Festival 1995

I saw this on Muchmusic back in 1995 and it made a Pulp fan for life. Remember when Much actually played concerts? God, I promised myself this wouldn't turn into yet another "Much is garbage" rant, and yet here it is.

White Stripes, One Note Concert, St. John's, 2007

Ok, it's not the most illicit Meg White video I could've posted, but.... The best part about the White Stripes' elaborate Canadian tour this year has been the fact that, well, they're Americans. You'd think the Hip or Nickelback or Our Lady Peace would attempt the totally cross-Canada tour, but instead it fell to the duo from Detroit.

With or Without You, U2, Washington 1992

I forget if it was Bono or the Edge who went on record as saying what they liked most about WOWY is that instead of having a big ripping guitar solo at the end, the guitar just sort of trails off, yet is still powerful in its own way. Well, in this live performance, Edge just says sucks to that ass-mar and busts out a big ripping solo. Bono kicks in the legendary "we'll shine like stars..." additional lyric that is necessary for a truly A+ live version of With or Without You.

Arcade Fire, Neon Bible, Paris, 2006

All 5,469 members of the Arcade Fire crowd into an elevator and do a sound-check on Neon Bible before taking the stage for a show in Paris. All I can say is the drummer is using a freakin' magazine for percussion, and it's as awesome as thirty Super Bowls.

Talking Heads, Naive Melody (This Must Be The Place), Stop Making Sense, 1983

There's no better word for this song than 'pretty.' If it was a bird, it would be petted by that blind kid in Dumb & Dumber in spite of it having a broken neck. David Byrne's lamp dance is pretty cool. And, just because I can't even get through one post without mentioning Lost, apparently this song was supposed to be used in the third season premiere for the opening scene when Juliet is crying in her house. There was some kind of a rights issue that resulted in 'Downtown' being used instead, though if you look at that scene, you can see Juliet putting a Talking Heads CD into her stereo.

Kanye West, Gold Digger, Saturday Night Live, 2005

This one's got it all. A string orchestra led by a pregnant conductor using just one arm to conductor. Face paint on the cello players. Steve Carell. The Myers cameo before the song --- this performance took place just a couple of weeks after the infamous "George Bush doesn't care about black people" incident" --- was literally the funniest thing that happened all season on SNL. It was not their strongest year.


RT Murphy said...

I just saw that episode of SNL with Beck last week (I've been on a House kick lately, and Hugh Laurie hosted). The puppets were great! I love how they just have that one guy who's on stage to rock out and bounce around.

Hal Incandenza said...

Good God, I tracked down those blog posts and: that old SI bit is pure gold! How quickly can I rip them off?