Best pre-COVID concert/show videos available to stream?
February 25, 2021 3:34 PM   Subscribe

Lately I've been missing live music so much, and REALLY GOOD concert videos have been helping to scratch that itch. I'm looking for things filmed in front of actual audiences pre-COVID, available to stream on youtube or streaming services. High-energy preferred.

What I mean by REALLY GOOD: The performance quality is top-notch, and the video/sound is good enough not to be distracting. I'm talking about bands or artists known for putting on really good shows. I recently watched Homecoming (Beyoncé at Coachella) and Queen at Live Aid, and that's the level of quality I'm looking for.

Any genre is fine, though I really am looking for things that are high-energy, so really ruminative folk/noodly jazz/etc. probably won't do it, and I'm not necessarily looking for classical, though I'm willing to be surprised on either front!

I'm looking for videos that have the whole set/concert, or at least 5-6 videos. Ideally available on Youtube, Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, or HBO Max since those are the streaming services I have on my TV.

I'm NOT looking for things recorded during COVID - nothing against them, but I've watched plenty and they don't scratch this particular itch.

(Stagings of Broadway musicals are ok too! I've seen Hamilton, Les Miz, Company, Into the Woods, and The Last Five Years)
posted by lunasol to Media & Arts (33 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
These might be too obvious, but...

Stop Making Sense by The Talking Heads (Sample: Live During Wartime)

Sign o' the Times by Prince (Sample: Forever In My Life)
posted by VirginiaPlain at 3:40 PM on February 25, 2021 [15 favorites]

Oh, and American Utopia by David Byrne, if you haven't seen it already.
posted by VirginiaPlain at 3:41 PM on February 25, 2021 [10 favorites]

I know Muse recently put out a video from their Simulation Theory tour. I haven't seen the video but I did go to one of the concerts and it was amazing.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:46 PM on February 25, 2021

I recently watched a good chunk of the Netflix concert movie of Taylor Swift's Reputation tour and I'm not a superfan of her music (not not a fan either, probably neutral to mildly positive) but was impressed by her performance and stage show. And if you're jonesing for audience energy the audience was generally losing their mind with excitement - if I remember correctly it was the last show of the tour and either in her hometown or home state.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 3:52 PM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Vulfpeck put out their Madison Square Garden show on Youtube and it's a blast. Funky and very high energy. The whole audience knows every little bit of the songs and you can tell the band is loving every minute of it.
posted by downtohisturtles at 4:02 PM on February 25, 2021 [10 favorites]

Seconding American Utopia. Like Stop Making Sense, it starts out lower energy, but quickly builds into joyous raucousness.
posted by ejs at 4:08 PM on February 25, 2021

It's not free, but Amazon has Nine Inch Nails - Beside You In Time streaming. I don't think this show was quite as visually jawdropping as the previous (only available on used DVD) tour film but it was still very new lighting technology used in very interesting ways.

Note that it is absolutely not watchable if you have any kind of seizure or neurological disorder triggered by flashing lights. Not even the trailer is okay.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:17 PM on February 25, 2021

Came here to suggest that Vulfpeck show -- incredible!

Maybe this is too obvious, but Stop Making Sense (Talking Heads) is such a classic!
posted by mekily at 4:25 PM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

I caught the recent Jane's Addiction concert film and it was pretty good for some old dudes. (it's probably meh if you're not a fan, tho)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:28 PM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

For some reason, "Satisfaction" got taken down, but Moshcam has a whole pro-shot concert by DEVO you can watch.

They're not all pro-shot, but I have a Youtube playlist of awesome full, concerts on YouTube, though my musical tastes may not be compatible with yours.
posted by SansPoint at 4:35 PM on February 25, 2021 [3 favorites]

Red Hot Chili Peppers. Live at Slane Castle. ~ 80k people in attendance, high energy funk/alt rock. Was hailed as perhaps the best live rock concert video to ever be produced. It features Flea Jumping in Bullet Time :) I link the whole shebang but all the songs are available individually on YouTube.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:57 PM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Anthax and Public Enemy: Bring The Noise.

Don't know if the whole concert's out there anywhere but this encore from their 1991ish tour is some hot noise.
posted by Sauce Trough at 5:00 PM on February 25, 2021

This is super old school, but The TAMI Show is on YouTube (with time links to specific songs in the information). Filmed in 1964, it features a peerless list of hall-of-famers at or coming into the top of their powers: Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Lesley Gore and others. After making what Keith Richards would call "the worst mistake in their lives", the Rolling Stones are the final band; the mistake was choosing the final slot, and having to follow James Brown and the Famous Flames. I've heard that Prince kept a TV monitor at Paisley Park showing the James Brown segment on a perpetual loop.
posted by Superilla at 5:08 PM on February 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

Can I interest you in the best of both worlds?

Spike Lee's live capture concert film of the closing two performances of PASSING STRANGE on Broadway. Absolutely electric. Here's the trailer. Here's the film on Amazon.
posted by minervous at 5:13 PM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

A lot of great stuff has been posted to YouTube and a lot of it has gotten taken down, so you should download anything you might remotely want to watch again.

Capitol Theater shows 1973-1987
posted by rhizome at 5:29 PM on February 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

Peter Gabriel, Secret World Live; seems to have moved from free-with-Prime to IMDb-TV-with-ads recently.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:40 PM on February 25, 2021

If you like Radiohead, get thee to Radiohead Public Library . Tons of great full-concert videos there.
posted by outfielder at 5:48 PM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Phish has been streaming archival show videos on youtube, in a series called Dinner and Movie. They stay up for a few days. The latest is from this week in 2019.
posted by knile at 6:01 PM on February 25, 2021

Peter Hook & The Light, This Is Permanent: a 2015 concert running through every Joy Division song. Hook streamed it on Facebook & elsewhere last May on the anniversary of Ian Curtis's death; not sure if it's still up anywhere, but it's worth keeping an eye out for. Tremendous energy.

Another complicated one: Aretha Franklin, Amazing Grace. Recorded in 1972, famously beset by syncing problems, and then held up by litigation from Franklin herself, who sued to keep it from being released. Came out in 2018 after her death.
posted by miles per flower at 6:04 PM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Live at Massey Hall has a whole lotta great stuff.
posted by Poldo at 6:30 PM on February 25, 2021

Standing in the Shadows of Motown is also great. It's a bit of a straight forward documentary about Motown's Funk Brothers alongside modern concert footage, which is excellent. You can skip through the documentary parts for the performances, they're well worth a watch.
posted by VirginiaPlain at 7:16 PM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Stromae in Montreal
posted by lalunamel at 9:01 PM on February 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

Peter Gabriel - Growing Up Live is on YouTube. One of the best concerts I have ever watched and one of only two I actually bought on DVD. Mixture of energy as PG tends to be, but mostly higher energy tunes from across his works.
posted by SquidLips at 9:14 PM on February 25, 2021

When I saw the Ron Howard documentary, The Beatles: Eights Days a Week, there was a 40-minute video (after the credits) that featured the entire concert at Shae Stadium. It was digitally remastered and enhanced. It was really good. I'm not sure if the streaming version has it or not.
posted by akk2014 at 9:32 PM on February 25, 2021

While I know you said classical probably won't be what you're looking for, watching Martha Argerich spill out one of the most passionate pieces of music in human history is ELECTRIFYING: Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 9:33 PM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Might not quite reach your production quality bar, but I've found this Kíla concert pretty great for the same purpose you're talking about.

It's Irish folk, but high energy and with global musical influences.
posted by knapah at 3:38 AM on February 26, 2021

I haven't looked at them, but the only thing I listen to when working in my garage is the Foo Fighters live at Hyde Park. The sound is produced well enough for the rinky speakers I listen on, and the crowd sounds electrified.

Also, there's apparently an actual production of Foos @ Wembley Stadium. That's going on my list, so thanks for prompting me to look this up :) (and double thanks to @downtohisturtles---Vulfpeck at MSG sounds like exactly the thing for a February Friday night!)
posted by adekllny at 5:55 AM on February 26, 2021

Dave Chappelle's Block Party
posted by yerfatma at 8:36 AM on February 26, 2021

YMMV, because this is extremely Italian, but I think this does qualify: Laura Pausini, San Siro 2007.
posted by sailoreagle at 10:47 AM on February 26, 2021

Journey - Live in Houston 1981: The Escape Tour
YouTube playlist
posted by fuse theorem at 11:46 AM on February 26, 2021

I don't see that the full film is available anywhere for streaming, but R.E.M.'s Tourfilm (from the 1989 Green tour) is my favorite concert film -- the video is cobbled together from different shows so you'll see clothing changes during songs, but the audio is from one set. Here are a few clips (you could probably watch the whole thing from clips on YouTube):

These Days
Begin the Begin
I Believe - this is one of my favorite live performances by anyone, ever
posted by jabes at 12:08 PM on February 26, 2021

St. Vincent's performance at the Outside Lands Festival, 2015
One video's been taken down. I'm going to take rhizome's advice and download it tonight.

Talking Heads live in Rome, 1980
Tortoise - Live at Werchter, 2004
posted by hydrophonic at 12:57 PM on February 26, 2021

Secret World: Live by Peter Gabriel is still on Youtube, you just have to look a bit deeper.

L'Imperatrice @ La Felicità - Mostly their Matahari & Odyssée albums.

Polo & Pan - starts out very DJ set-ish, gets a lot more live mixed as the evening wears on and the energy ramps up.

Seconding the Stromae live in Montreal show earlier, it was fantastic and ridiculously energetic. It's hard to beat Alors On Danse with Stromae's live energy. He has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.
posted by Kyol at 7:17 PM on February 26, 2021

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