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10 most iconic concerts to watch online, from Beyonce and Taylor Swift to Radiohead and Nirvana - inews

10 most iconic concerts to watch online, from Beyonce and Taylor Swift to Radiohead and Nirvana - inews

10 most iconic concerts to watch online, from Beyonce and Taylor Swift to Radiohead and Nirvana - inews

Posted: 02 Apr 2020 04:05 AM PDT

Sweaty stadiums might be a distant memory, but some of history's most unforgettable concerts are available to watch right now

Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 11:52 am

Updated Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 11:59 am

Beyonce Knowles performs onstage at Coachella (Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Coachella)

Concert-going is one of the many pleasures we have had to give up as the coronavirus crisis has spiralled into an epoch-defining event. It is also an experience not easily replicated in your own home.

You can pour some wine and stick on a bit of lounge-jazz and pretend you are in a swanky bar (especially if you dim the lights and take out your contacts). And while they can cancel football, they can't stop you winning the Champions League on Fifa 20.

An up-close encounter with your favourite band or artist is trickier to reproduce. It isn't simply about the music.

i's TV newsletter: what you should watch next

i's TV newsletter: what you should watch next

It's about the collective experience, the jostle for the bar, the bit where the performer leaves the stage and – plot twist – miraculously comes back for another three songs.

How can a Spotify playlist, or Chris Martin live-streaming from his attic, come close?

So, assuming you aren't wealthy enough to pay for Mick Jagger to call around and knock out a few hits while maintaining a distance of two metres, you are out of luck.

Unless, that is, you consider the largely undiscovered world of the concert movie.

Yes, concert films are typically terrible. But there are a few gems that succeed in communicating the magic of live music without its attendant hassles. And best of all, you don't have to run the gauntlet of iffy toilets, taxi queues and £6 pints.

Under present circumstances, it's a win. Here are 10 you can catch right now:

Taylor Swift performs at ANZ Stadium on November 02, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

This two-hour feature captures the scale, ambition and unstinting navel-gazing that were the major features of Swift's first all-stadium jaunt.

It was shot by Paul Dugdale – who has also directed video and concert movies for One Direction, Coldplay and Adele – from the vast AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on the final night of Swift's Reputation tour.

The Reputation concerts were undoubtedly an extravaganza.

But the price of entry was buying into the idea of Swift as one of the most interesting people alive. In particular, you needed to be invested in her feud with Kim Kardashian, who dubbed Tay-Tay a "snake".

Hence the huge inflatable vipers that keep popping up as Swift romps through her catalogue.

The best bit is when she invites support acts Camila Cabello and Charli XCX up for a rendition of "Shake it Off" and the other two try to upstage Swift while taking care not to look as if they are trying to do so. Magnificent.

Thirty-six years on, Stop Making Sense remains the gold standard for concert films, and is also a deconstruction of the live music experience itself.

In December 1983, Jonathan "Silence of the Lambs" Demme filmed David Byrne and friends playing over four nights at the 2,700-capacity Pantages Theatre at Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles.

It begins with Byrne beat-boxing a ditty about a serial killer to loops from a ghetto blaster and expands to include the rest of the band, a carnival of support players and Byrne's huge suit.

Byrne had a go at replicating the magic on his recent American Utopia tour.

But that was him and some hired hands, so lacked the undercurrent of tension that flowed from his complicated relationship with Heads bassist Tina Weymouth ("complicated" in that they couldn't stand one another).

Liam and Noel Gallagher perform on stage in Munich in 2009. (Photo: JOERG KOCH/DDP/AFP via Getty Images)

Before the feuds, the terrible Beatles rip-offs and the grand pianos-and-Bentleys indulgences, Oasis were a quintet of rocket-fuelled ragamuffins taking on the world.

That early incarnation of the Gallaghers and their gang is thrillingly evoked in this documenting of their April 1995 concert at Southend Cliffs Pavilion.

It is a lot less glamorous than their more celebrated shows at Maine Road or Knebworth, which is where the charm lies. Still in their scrappy underdog phase, they power through formative anthems "Columbia", "Rock'n Roll Star" and "Acquiesce".

A kick to the shins of a concert film.

Much like Swift and her Reputation movie, getting the most from this chronicling of Bey's 2018 Coachella headliner involves buying into the idea that the ex-Destiny's Child frontwoman is one of the most important people alive.

Backstage segments find her banging on at length about the huge sacrifices she puts into her music – she underlines her hard work by donning some apparently tatty tracksuits in rehearsals.

These sequences are worth putting up with, however, as the actual concert footage is astonishing – particularly at the start, when Beyoncé and what looks like a 500-piece band, all dressed as cheerleaders, deliver a super-sized "Crazy in Love".

Mark Ritchie's camera zooms in tightly on the performers. And, if you never quite feel as if you are there, you do get a sense of what it might be like to be on stage in the desert next to Beyoncé.

Bjork performs at Hammersmith Apollo during her Volta world tour. (Photo: Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

This 2002 live film begins as every Björk concert should – with Ms Guðmundsdóttir manipulating a music box while covered in bird feathers. It doesn't get weirder, though.

Instead, this is old-school Björk belting out the hits, captured gorgeously for posterity and with the Royal Opera House as a mood-enhancing backdrop.

Bowie aficionados will point you towards DA Pennebaker's Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture, which captured the singer's final night fronting the Spiders from Mars, from Hammersmith Odeon.

But that movie was seemingly filmed without a functioning light source so that mostly all you see is Bowie's huge orange quiff looming in the darkness. Cheesier but more enjoyable by far is this memento from the Thin White Duke's tan and hair-product phase.

In the mid-80s, Bowie became properly famous for the first time, and he is clearly enjoying every moment as he schmoozes though the Let's Dance album, plus assorted catalogue hits, at Vancouver's PNE Coliseum.

Tori Amos performs in Berlin, Germany. (Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A Tori revival is long overdue. We could all do with some magic-realist piano-pop escapism at the moment.

She is at the height of her powers on this 2003 concert video capturing her performing – on an honestly quite overcast day – from Sound Advice Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Amos was promoting her last truly great record, Scarlet's Walk, and the hits are alternately recreated in obsessive detail and twisted into strange new shapes. Time and again she straddles piano and organ, hammering at both with demonic intensity.

She also wears a cape, as every pop star should at some point in their career.

Who among us wouldn't want to descend into our basements – let's pretend we all have basements – only to find Radiohead down there running through selected highlights from their 2007 chart-topper, In Rainbows?

Shot by VH1 the year after the LP's release at the Hospital Club TV studios in Covent Garden, this is Radiohead at their most thrillingly stoic.

Thom Yorke was deep into his refusing-to-have-a-haircut phase while songs such as "15 Step" and "Reckoner" are both avant-garde and wickedly catchy.

Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Jay-Z at the European Premiere of Disney's "The Lion King". (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney)

In 2004, Jay-Z announced he was retiring from the rap "game" with a farewell concert at Madison Square Garden (spoiler: he changed his mind). Guests included Mary J Blige, Missy Elliot, Diddy and erm, R Kelly.

So some parts of the performance have aged better than others.

The whole jamboree can be watched on Tidal, the streaming platform in which Jay-Z has a stake.

This is a cheat, as it isn't a concert movie in the usual sense.

Rather, it is a documentary following Kurt Cobain and bandmates through their pressure-cooker ascent to global stardom.

However, it brims with incredible live performances and also a bit where Cobain kicks a stage invader in the face and Dave Grohl rushes from behind his drums to intervene.

More than that, it captures the craziness of life on the road when you are as popular, and as ambivalent about fame, as Nirvana.

As their tour grows more deranged, so does the video so that by the end you will feel as if you've been stuffed inside a tumble dryer and spat out. Highly recommended.

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