Concerts can inspire a kind of madness in the true fan. That madness can lead some on 20 year Phish tours and some rolling in fields of Vermont mud. Live shows like the "Central Park Be-Ins" of the late '60s evoked peace and tolerance, while many a punk rock show of the late '70s brought out a bloodier side of its fans. From the depths of mosh pits to the hills of California, live shows can transform fans into religious followers and musicians into legends. Ultimately, the right kind of show can even alter the course of music history.
1. Bob Dylan, Newport Folk Festival, 1965
When the rough 'n tumble folk legend decided to plug in the guitar and go electric, he was treated like an unfaithful lover by his zealous fans. At the '65 Newport performance, his electric guitar conducted an orchestra of boos. Apparently, his dalliance with rock music, coupled with some terrible sound quality, was practically riot inducing. Legend has it that a furious Pete Seger was running around backstage with an axe threatening to cut all the chords. Dylan walked offstage, only to be led back on by the angelic Joan Baez, at which point he surrendered, playing "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" on his mild acoustic guitar.
2. Monterey Pop Festival, 1967
Sort of the godmother of the modern music festival, the 1967 Monterey musical extravaganza marked the American debut of Jimi Hendrix and The Who, and brought Janis Joplin to her largest crowd yet. Kicking off the Summer of Love, the show embodied the free-spirited, free-lovin' counter culture that would define these years in rock music and popular culture.
3. The Replacements, No Particular Time or Place
The Replacements were radical rock stars in all their immaturity and intoxication. Perhaps the least predictable live performers to ever grace rock music, they could be a critical success in one town, and lisping, tripping degenerates one state over. Daring and irreverent, they would sometimes play entire sets of cover songs, long before cover songs were acceptable concert fodder. To their own delight, they would often choose tracks ill suited to their style and their audience's tastes. They challenged conventions of live concerts, and cultivated a new brand of rock star, the talented, contrary mess.
4. The Sex Pistols, Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall, 1976
The crowd was only a few dozen people, but the influence is widespread enough to put this punk rock display of glory in the proverbial scrapbook. Legend has it that members of Joy Division, The Smiths, The Fall, The Buzzcocks were present, and, consequentially, this show kicked off the punk rock revolution that would inspire angry teenagers and terrify parents across the globe.
5. Tupac Hologram Tour, Coachella, 2012
Tupac achieved literal immortality through music when a hologram version of him captivated the audience at 2012's Coachella Music Festival. "He" performed alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, as a ghoulish manifestation of a musical legend that was dead but hardly buried in the hands of time. Rumors have followed of Michale Jackson and Amy Winehouse revivals, making us wonder how many more musicians will be resurrected by digital media companies.
Far from all encompassing, this is a surface skim of legendary shows we wish we'd seen. What did we leave out?