50 Greatest Concerts 1959-2009: Part One (Relix Revisited)
Back in November 2009 we presented our list of the Greatest 50 Concerts from 1959-2009 with commentary by our staff and some special guest writers. We’re going to revisit the list over the coming days, starting today with the countdown from 50-31.
50. Arcade Fire, Coachella, Indio, Calif., May 1, 2005
Arcade Fire had already appeared on the cover of Canada’s Time and scored a near impossible 9.7 on indie music site Pitchfork Media by the spring of 2005, but it was the Montreal collective’s debut performance at Coachella that instantly catapulted them from a buzz band into a careerband. From the anthem-like opening guitar riff of “Wake Up” through the barrage of keyboards, percussion and guitars pulsating through the set’s climax “Rebellion (Lies),” Arcade Fire positioned itself as an arena rock band in the guise of an artsy club act. In an era where multi-genre music festivals function as three-dimensional radio stations, it was the move that anointed Arcade Fire as a voice, if not the voice, of the indie generation—and it sounded pretty great, too. Mike Greenhaus
49. Pantera, Santa Monica Civic Center, Santa Monica, Calif., May 2, 1994
Texas cowboys from hell emasculated just about every other thrash band of its day when it came to six-string fueled high-octane, heavy rock and roll. This shredding set delivered by one of metal’s most important institutions of higher yearning even attracted fellow musicians from Exodus and Metallica—as nod of respect, Pantera closed the show with the latter’s “Whiplash.” The band’s locomotive rhythm section married perfectly with Dimebag Darrell’s face-melting Flying V playing and Phil Anselmo’s brick-busting vocals saw full impact on the medley “Domination”/“Hollow,” “Walk” and, of course, “Cowboys from Hell.” Lonn Friend
48. Phil Ochs, Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y., March 27, 1970
Phil Ochs was one of the most politically conscious of the sixties-era troubadours. Somehow inspired by the vision of a fusion between Che Guevara and Elvis Presley that might spur revolution, he appeared at this Carnegie Hall show in an Elvis-style gold lamé suit. Two concerts were scheduled that night; the first was interrupted by a bomb threat. The second featured medleys by Buddy Holly, Elvis and various country songs as well as several of Ochs’ best known protest songs. Audience reaction—at first hostile—turned appreciative. Power in the hall was turned off at midnight, but Ochs led a “power” chant and the lights were turned on, so he played into the early morning. A recording ( Gunfight at Carnegie Hall ) was his last before his eventual suicide—not released in the U.S. for 20 years—and documents his search for a way to unite radical action and popular culture. Dick Flacks, author and professor
47. B.B. King, Regal Theater, Chicago, Ill., November 21, 1964
B.B. King combined the raw emotion of traditional blues with the elegant delivery of a jazz singer, playing terse, single-line guitar solos to match his powerful vocal style in a call-and-response pattern that created a template for modern blues. Live at the Regal documented a Chicago performance in which King fronted a sextet with a crack rhythm section that followed his every move. He turned the set-opening “Every Day I Have the Blues” into a statement of purpose, and had the crowd responding gleefully to the double entendre of “Sweet Little Angel.” The concert reached its triumphant peak with King’s witty catalog of complaints about an ungrateful woman, “How Blue Can You Get?” John Swenson
46. H.O.R.D.E., Cumberland County Civic Center, Cumberland, Maine, July 9, 1992
The premise seemed logical. Bring five bands together (Phish, Blues Traveler, Spin Doctors, Widespread Panic, Aquarium Rescue Unit) that were still slogging it out in the clubs, with the hope of reaching the critical mass(es) to fill arenas and amphitheaters. ARU opened it all in Portland before their largest audience to date and as the members of Widespread Panic stepped out for the first of the galvanic full-band segues that would come to mark the opening installment of the HORDE tour, it was clear that this was more than a multi-band bill. It was a celebration of community on both sides of the stage and everywhere in between, buttressed by a mutual admiration for crackling, capacious improvisational music. Dean Budnick
The Howlin’ Brothers take to the Relix rooftop and share a song they wrote with Warren Haynes.
Beth Hart shares the opening track from her latest album, Bang Bang Boom Boom, live at Relix.
Jamie Lidell sets up in the Relix boiler room and delivers a tune from his 2005 album Multiply
Duane Trucks is happy to announce his new project, King Lincoln. Watch them perform “Coffee” live and acoustic at Relix’s Online-Video Coordinator’s loft in Williamsburg.
Here’s another song from Crystal Bowersox’s new record All That For This, live at Relix.
WYATT share a song in the famed Relix boiler room.
Goodnight, Texas share a song from their latest studio album, A Long Life of Living, live at Relix.
Warren Haynes performs a solo, acoustic version of “Railroad Boy” and explains how he adapted the traditional Celtic song for Gov’t Mule, backstage at the Hangout Music Festival.
Australia’s Alpine recently made their NYC debut at the Relix office with this song from their new album A is for Alpine.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
- Sexmob: Cinema, Circus & Spaghetti (Sexmob Plays Fellini: The Music of Nino Rota)
- Summer Stars: Shovels & Rope
- Visions of Bonnaroo Friday (Paul McCartney, Passion Pit, Conspirator…)
- Preservation Hall Jazz Band: Free Download "Dear Lord (Give Me The Strength)"
- God Street Wine with Warren Haynes "Sweet Little Angel" (Live 1996)
- The Howlin’ Brothers "Big Time"
- Primus in Toronto
- Twice "The Joker" on Saturday at Bonnaroo (Gov’t Mule and Jack Johnson)
- Interlocken Confirms Daily Lineups, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Punch Brothers, Keller & The Keels and More Added
- Mumford and Sons Cancel Bonnaroo Show, Summer Tour
- Ed Helms: Bonnaroo, Banjos and a Bit of Phish
- Robert Hunter Will Return to the Stage for Eight Shows
- Warren Haynes to Play Jerry Garcia’s Wolf on Symphony Tour
- Tedeschi Trucks Band Share New Song
- Jack Is Back: Jack Johnson Talks Bonnaroo, ALO and New Album
- Patty Griffin in Boston
- Doctor’s Orders: So what should we call the Super Ball IX Newspaper?
- John Kadlecik Posts Statement on Bob Weir’s Collapse
- "I Wanne Be In moe.": The Latest Volunteers
- Bob Weir Escorted Off Stage During Furthur Show
- Vote for Your Favorite "I Wanne Be In moe." Contestant
- Furthur Cancels BottleRock Show as Bob Weir Is Out Of Commision
- Doctor’s Orders: What’s Your Favorite Furthur Song? (Win Copy of Relix Signed by Phil and Bobby)
- On The Verge Poll