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Buddy, Come On! I'll Take All of That You Got!
March 26, 2014 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Future Islands' recent David Letterman appearance has me in a frenzy. I want to see more examples of dazzling showmanship and unstoppable catharsis -- raw, intimate, unfettered performances by artists at the top of their games. I'm talking pulsing veins, searching eyes, trembling throats and chest-pounding theatrics. Send me your best videos of rockers and riveters!

Any craft, not just music.
posted by fritillary to Media & Arts (51 answers total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
 
Letterman (and I!) also loved The Heavy playing How Ya Like Me Now.
posted by The Deej at 12:40 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


James Brown on the T.A.M.I. show (1964).

It's been said Prince used to play this on a continuous loop in the lobby of his studio.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:58 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Probably anything by Janis Joplin would meet your needs. Here's Cry Baby.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:05 PM on March 26


R.E.M.'s Tourfilm does this for me, especially the song I Believe (it really starts getting great at about 1:20).
posted by jabes at 1:21 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


Mikhail Baryshnikov! Dancin!
posted by stompadour at 1:23 PM on March 26


Prince! KILLIN it during someone else's tribute... his solo is toward the end
posted by stompadour at 1:24 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


I immediately thought of this footage of DEVO in 1978. It's in France, the audience is great!
posted by rose-selavy at 1:28 PM on March 26


Here's a few from my impressionable youth:

Pearl Jam- Jeremy, MTV Music Awards 1992
Living Colour - Cult of Personality, SNL 1989
Neil Young & Pearl Jam - Rockin in the Free World, 1993
And I was totally going to link to the Prince face-meltingly good performance upthread.
posted by griffey at 1:32 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Thom Yorke of Radiohead is a crazy dancing fool in concert.
posted by cnc at 1:32 PM on March 26


Janelle Monae shuffling on her television debut on Letterman.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 1:37 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


Oh thanks for bringing up Pearl Jam.

Porch (MTV Unplugged) sticks in my memory as an intense performance.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:53 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


Vladimir Vysotsky's Capricous Horses
posted by Requiax at 1:54 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Pretty much everything by Andrew WK. This is my personal favorite of his songs.

I understand that GG Allin would fall under your description, but I've never gone down that particular rabbit hole so don't know of any particularly good starting points.
posted by jbickers at 1:56 PM on March 26


Queen: Somebody to Love (live in Montreal)
posted by jammy at 1:58 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Old Arcade Fire videos are good for this.
posted by youcancallmeal at 2:02 PM on March 26


Talking Heads' Burning Down The House (Live) from Stop Making Sense.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:09 PM on March 26


The Walkmen - In the New Year (live on KEXP)

This song slays me.
posted by adiabat at 2:45 PM on March 26




Van the Man, start here and then go down the rabbit hole.
posted by one_bean at 3:31 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Oh man, also Otis Redding.
posted by one_bean at 3:33 PM on March 26








At the Drive-In on Jools Holland
posted by Richard Holden at 4:17 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]




and fantastic thread - thanks for the future islands tip!
posted by bluesky43 at 4:36 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


pulsing veins, searching eyes, trembling throats and chest-pounding theatrics

No contest.

Swans - A Hanging, pt. 2

Slayer - Angel of Death.
posted by googly at 5:05 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]




Swans made me think of Throbbing Gristle's "Discipline"
posted by rose-selavy at 6:09 PM on March 26


Seconding the R.E.M. video above. You could probably post most R.E.M. performances on here and they would fit the bill.

Another that came to mind is The Killers playing "When You Were Young" at The Royal Albert Hall. For some reason, I used to cry every time I watched this performance. Right around two and a half minutes in. And at three minutes. It's just great.
posted by rensar at 6:24 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Kimbra is a great performer! Settle Down at SXSW 2012.
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 7:42 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


The Plasmatics! Wendy O never disappointed. RIP!
posted by Raymond Marble at 8:34 PM on March 26


Tori Amos is known for her onstage intensity, occasionally culminating in moments known lovingly as "freakouts." One such moment begins this performance from the Live from New York benefit show for RAINN in 1997, shortly after she had had a really traumatic (is there any other kind?) miscarriage. That's also intensely evident int this version of "Little Amsterdam" from that same show (full show here). "Sugar" was also a live fave for awhile - that BRIDGE. She's also known for her fantastic improvs, like the one in that "Little Amsterdam," or at greater length this one from Boston 2007 (sorry no video). Also this version (the "Merry Widow" version) of "Professional Widow" is TERRIFYING in its intensity - but again no video.

This has been a Tori Amos appreciation comment.
posted by kickingthecrap at 8:46 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


You can do a lot worse than Metallica singing Master Of Puppets in 1989.
posted by furiousthought at 9:38 PM on March 26


Neill Hillborn - "OCD"
posted by Rhaomi at 10:58 PM on March 26


The Eels -- That's Not Her Way is a fantastic new composition of an old Eels classic.
posted by GiveUpNed at 11:01 PM on March 26


Jacques Brel! Here he is doing "Jacky", for instance. But any live clip of him matches your criteria, I think.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 5:59 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


One of the most jaw-dropping performances I've ever seen was Korn performing Metallica's One. I still get chills from it.

(We had just purchased our first surround sound and the noise shook the whole house.. good times)
posted by getawaysticks at 7:12 AM on March 27


Natasha Richardson singing Cabaret.
posted by Mavri at 7:13 AM on March 27


Hrmm, this appearance by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is pretty tough to beat for energy.
posted by backwards guitar at 10:09 AM on March 27


The last song from Nirvana's Unplugged gig may qualify. They played 'Where did you sleep last night'. Kurt's stare at 4:48 is about as raw as it gets. It's like he's looking beyond the abyss.

Mario Salvo's speech from 1964 also hits a nerve.
posted by quadog at 1:02 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]




In 2008, Liam Finn played a song on Letterman, and it's a slow burn, he's this awkward guy singing and playing and then he puts down the guitar and then he gets on the drums and I don't know exactly what happens but I get goosebumps when he goes nuts on the drums and it's so freaking powerful and then he just ends the song and I'm heaving along with him, exhausted.

I later figured out this is Neil Finn's (of Crowded House) son and that album became one of my favorites and I've followed Liam's work that followed.
posted by mathowie at 9:09 AM on March 28


The thing about Queen at Live Aid (1985) is that those 70,000 people in the palm of Freddie Mercury's hand weren't even necessarily there to see Queen. Maybe some were U2 fans, or Elton John, or the Who, etc. It's an amazing performance.
posted by secretseasons at 6:58 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Fugazi performances had an element of this — just one clip.
posted by safetyfork at 5:24 PM on March 30


Woah. I finally got around to watching this. You're right, fritillary - that performance is quite compelling. I'll definitely be re-watching this. Thanks so much for sharing.

Now, to respond to your question. What immediately comes to my mind is Bruce Springsteen's live performance of 'Dancing in the Dark' at Barcelona in 2002.

Not sure if it's what you're looking for, but there it is, FWIW.

For my money, Springsteen's performance here is the very definition of "dazzling showmanship and unstoppable catharsis -- raw, intimate, unfettered performances by artists at the top of their games. I'm talking pulsing veins, searching eyes, trembling throats and chest-pounding theatrics."
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 1:59 AM on April 2


Graham Parker and the Rumour on the short-lived late-night show Fridays in 1980, shortly before they broke up. (Please put on flame-retardant clothes before clicking)
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:02 AM on April 4


Two of the most astounding live performances in pop music:

Jerry Lee Lewis at the Star Club, Hamburg, 1964

Sam Cooke at the Harlem Square Club, Miami, 1963
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:11 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Someone has already mentioned Stop Making Sense - good. (Although I'll add Slippery People as my own go-to.)

Someone has already mentioned Queen; good. (Although their own solo gig at Wembley in 1986 also yields particular delights.)

Someone has already mentioned Janis Joplin; to that I will add Joss Stone and Melissa Etheridge in a salute to her at the Grammies; Melissa was undergoing treatment for breast cancer at the time as well, and also deserves props for ROCKING a smooth head.)

Also speaking of the Grammies: this rendition of London Calling, featuring Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl, and Little Steven Van Zandt in a salute to the recently-deceased Joe Strummer, BLEW ME AWAY.

And finally - you have to scroll down on the page on this link for it, but Glen Hansard doing Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks" at the 2012 SXSW is the shit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:14 PM on April 4


One more note about that particular Queen clip - it was such a compelling performance that even just the recording was enough to compel an audience to sing along during the Closing Ceremony of the London Olympics.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:26 PM on April 4


I'm way late here, but Michael Jackson's Wembley show on the Bad tour is just unbelievable. "Man in the Mirror" closes the show. It's remarkable.
posted by AgentRocket at 6:37 PM on April 8


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