Saturday, March 12, 2011

Boss of the live acts

Rolling Stone asked its readers to pick their favorite live acts and we can't argue with the top of their list. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were runaway winners -- not surprising to anyone who has seen the Boss in action -- and the Rolling Stones finished second.  That's a heckuva 1-2 punch.

We regret we never saw Who, Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin in concert, but the footage we've seen of their shows supports their positions at 3-4-5.  Here's the Top 10:

1. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
2. Rolling Stones
3. Who
4. Pink Floyd
5. Led Zeppelin
6. U2
7. Queen
8. Pearl Jam
9. Grateful Dead
10. Kiss

It's a shame video can't adequately capture the electricity and raw emotions of a live Springsteen show.  You just gotta be there... meanwhile, anybody for the Allman Brothers? The Ramones? Talking Heads?


  1. I have seen Bruce Springsteen probably a half dozen times, mostly with the E St. Band but once solo. The shows were all good but none of them was transcendent for me. I guess I found them a bit predictable, and a longer show does not always mean better.

    Some of the most memorable shows I have seen are:

    Allman Brothers Band, about a half dozen times when Duane was alive - every show was amazing

    Byrds with Clarence White at Fort Homer Hesterly National Guard Armory, 1973 ?

    George Jones /Tammy Wynette and Merle Haggard and the Strangers, Lakeland Fla, 1974 ?

    Led Zeppelin at Curtis Hixon in Tampa, 1968 or '69

    Ry Cooder opening for Eric Clapton, Omni, around 1983 or '84

    Talking Heads on Remain in Light tour in SF

    Rolling Stones, last show before Altamont, Palm Beach Pop Festival

    Replacements at 688 sometime in the '80s

    I'm sure I am forgetting some great ones

  2. Chas, you took me to the 688 one night and it might have been the loudest show i've ever heard. (Wish I could say it was the Replacements but I honesty don't remember.) Man that house shook...

  3. Possibly Husker Du. That was the loudest thing I ever heard. My ears are still ringing.

  4. I'll take a Truckers show in Athens or a Gov't Mule show at the Ryman any day over a giant gig in some stadium. Overlooked in stuff like this is how much intimacy plays a part in a great show.