Thursday, December 13, 2007

(More) Live Music!

My last post featuring live music clips found on YouTube was a huge success (two responses!) that it's time for a sequel. Once again, all credit must be given to the dearly-departed Ten Cent Freeze Pops, which was the only blog in internet history to ever YouTube clips. Ever.

Stevie Wonder, Superstition, Sesame Street, 1973

When I saw the title of this clip, I figured it would've been something like Stevie singing a re-worked version titled 'Monster-stition' to Grover. While this would've also been awesome, I was surprised to find an actual live performance, and a sick one at that, with no tomfoolery about except for that hilarious shot of the one kid on the balcony totally rocking out. That child at age seven had a thicker head of hair than I ever had or ever will again. Dammit.

U2, Mysterious Ways (w/Sexual Healing snippet), Irving Plaza in New York, 2000

To promote the All That You Can't Leave Behind album and to warm up for their full-out world tour in 2001, U2 did a handful of small theatre shows in late 2000 and early 2001. This particular gig was broadcast live on the radio, and I remember tuning in on a cold, wintry night almost exactly seven years ago. It was my first direct (not a video, not a concert film) taste of live U2. Mysterious Ways is one of my favourite of their songs, and despite it being a big hit and well-known the world over, it's kind of underrated. You don't really hear it mentioned in the same breath as U2's other classics, in spite of the fact that it holds as well or better as any song they've ever recorded and sounds wicked live. Whassupwitdat?

George Harrison and Paul Simon, Here Comes The Sun/Homeward Bound, Saturday Night Live, 1976

Quite possibly the greatest of all musical performances in SNL history. Is there any doubt Art Garfunkel was somewhere watching this and taking stiff shots of whiskey from a rapidly emptying decanter? I think this was also the episode that featured Harrison trying to collect Lorne Michaels' famous $3000 cheque for the Beatles to reunite on SNL ("You can divide it up any way you want --- if you want to give less to Ringo, that's up to you").

As a bonus link, here's an account of a live sketch comedy show performed by most of the current SNL cast and 'hosted' by Michael Cera. This show took place a few weeks ago at a small Manhattan theatre due to the fact that SNL isn't running due to the writer's strike, and yet given the description, it sounds like it was good or better than any SNL episode in several years.

The Breeders, Cannonball, The Jon Stewart Show, 1993

This clip is wonderful for many reasons, only a few of which have to do with the song. First of all, good lord, check out 1993 pre-Daily Show (and apparently pre-puberty) Jon Stewart! Listen to his energetic plug of Sinbad as tomorrow's guest! Look at that hair!

Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven, O2 Arena in London, 2007

Well, this one is more or less the inspiration for my reviving this post. When one of the legendary rock bands of all time reunites for a one-off performance, that's cause for celebration. Apparently Led Zep didn't film the concert because they were afraid it would suck and didn't want to be obligated to release something that would tarnish their good name. As it happens, however, the show went off without a hitch. I've got to believe that Zep at least did a soundboard recording for a future live album, but then again, perhaps it fits better with their mystique that this show lasts forever in people's memory and in fuzzy YouTube clips. It's also kind of funny that in the controversy over Robert Plant singing everything in a lower register, people forgot that he's actually a way better singer (in terms of actual singing) today than he was 30 years ago. Frankly, if Led Zep can reunite after all these years, it gives me hope that we'll still see that Beatles reunion. Come on, John, Paul, George and Ringo! 'Come together' for one more show!


......what? Really? Wow, when did that happen? 2001?? And 1980?! Good lord, where was I?

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