Best live music concert DVDs

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As the summer festival season draws to a close, Time Out Music editor Eddy Lawrence casts his eye over some of the best live concerts on DVD

Pink Floyd, ‘Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii’

Not quite a gig per se, as there wasn’t actually an audience besides the ghosts of dead gladiators, but still a timeless opportunity to see the world’s first stadium rock band performing at their height, and in their underpants. The harsh volcanic heat obviously got to the Floyd, or perhaps they just got lost on the way to the pool, as there can be no other reason for Roger Waters to play in Daisy Dukes.

Led Zeppelin, ‘The Song Remains the Same’

Never mind watching sweating in a cramped 02, sat next to a bellowing Dave Grohl, as the reformed Led Zep make you sit through an hour of Paolo Nutini to prove your loyalty. Now you can pretend you were at every single one of the mighty dinos’ 1973 Madison Square Garden concerts! Widely accepted by people who were alive then as the gigs that defined stadium cock rock, the movie version also features amusing, confusing intercut scenes detailing the fantasies of the individual band members, so you can claim an intimate working knowledge of their collective psyche.

Stax, ‘Wattstax’

One of the greatest, and now largely forgotten, live musical gatherings of the civil rights era. How anyone could forget the sight of Rufus Thomas in pink cape, hotpants and go-go boots is beyond us. His improvised crowd control efforts (singing ‘don’t jump the fence – it don’t make no sense’ to the tune of ‘The Funky Chicken’) is generally credited with preventing a riot which would surely have made the event a hundred times more famous than it is today. Speaking of which…

Rolling Stones, ‘Gimme Shelter’

Of course, these days everyone quacks on about how Woodstock (also available on DVD) changed the world, man, but it was Altamont that really captured the zeitgeist. Some guy pulled a gun! And got stabbed to death by racist bikers! And the Rolling Stones played!

Flaming Lips, ‘UFOs at the Zoo’

Possibly the highest-scoring on the ‘you had to be there’ scale (and the ‘you had to be on that’ scale too) , as the audience for the Oklahoman psychedelicists’ homecoming show were (mostly) resplendent in furry ‘Chuckle Hound’-style animal costumes.

Various bigshots, ‘Live Aid’

The exact moment when pop music finally sloughed off any debilitating pretence of rebellion, and several million people were better off for it. The biggest names of the ’80s gathered to mobilise the world’s charitable instincts and plug their new records in the subtlest, yet most massively public, way. Perhaps lacking a performance as mesmerising as Roger Hodgson’s strangulated turn at its spiritual descendent, the Concert for Diana (also available on DVD), but still better than its twenty-first century incarnation.

Queen, ‘Live at Wembley’

This may possibly have been the actual Best Gig of All Time, but no one except Brian May would admit it. Queen were in their pop prime at the time of filming, ruling the world’s stadiums with an iron fist in a leather glove. Freddie Mercury was just the right side of cocksure and, of course, they were rocking their chart-friendliest ’80s material. Everyone did the handclap thing during ‘One Vision’, which will have remained with them as a profound and life-changing moment.

Author: Eddy Lawrence


Users say

6 comments
brynn
brynn

Don't Think - Chemical Brothers.

Viking
Viking

ACDC live at castle donnington ? Ladies and Gentlemen, the rolling stones ? Black and white Roy Orbison ? Monterey Pop ? let's make a longer list ! top 50 ?

mike lee
mike lee

dave matthews band in central park and his other live dvds

JohnFan
JohnFan

Red Hot Chili Peppers live at Slanes Castle

Syd
Syd

Wot, no Last Waltz? Tut tut.



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