Tuesday, July 26, 2005

No Daphne & Celeste?

Forgot to do this at the weekend when the lists were revealed in the Times and the exhibition it ties in with has opened, so just as everybody else stumbles across it let's examine the poll results for the greatest live performances ever, because of course the panel who put these forward has been to every gig ever between them:

Best group performance

1 Queen at Live Aid
2 The Beatles on Apple's roof
3 Pink Floyd doing The Wall at Earl's Court
4 Led Zeppelin at Earl's Court in 1975
5 Oasis at Knebworth
6 Sex Pistols at the 100 Club
7 The Clash at New York Palladium in 1979
8 Stone Roses at Spike Island
9 AC/DC at Hammersmith Odeon in 1980
10 The Specials at the Brighton Top Rank in 1981

Well, of course Queen at Live Aid - the most spectacular performance on the biggest stage ever, although you'd wonder where U2's nomination (or that for Red Rocks, or something off the Elevation tour) has got to. Tokenism rears its head for the first time - the Clash date provided the London Calling cover whereas surely there were better gigs just on Westway To The World, while the Specials in 1981 was surely a year past the 2-Tone tour incendiary live peak, two years on from the Lyceum gig which provided their live EP.

Best solo artist

1 Dylan at the Manchester Free Trade Hall
2 David Bowie retires Ziggy Stardust
3 Jeff Buckley's Mystery White Boy tour
4 Elvis '68 Comeback Special
5 Bruce Springsteen at Wembley in 1985
6 Bjork at Union Chapel, 1999
7 Michael Jackson's Dangerous tour
8 Bob Marley at the Rainbow
9 Madonna's Blonde Ambition tour
10 Iggy Pop in 1972

Change that redial number, CP Lee. Odd how that one gig passed through the ages as legend and then suddenly a proper live recording (released as The Royal Albert Hall Concert, the twat) turned up, followed by colour film soon to be seen in Scorsese's documentary. The Comeback Special wasn't a gig as such, surely, while Buckley, as critically acclaimed as he was, would surely not be number three were he still alive. And hang on, what's that at ten? Iggy Pop in 1972? When he was still with the Stooges and recording Raw Power, you mean? I blame Mick Rock.

Best festival appearance

1 Radiohead at Glastonbury 1997
2 The Who at Woodstock
3 Jimi Hendrix at Monterey Pop Festival
4 Nirvana at Reading 1992
5 The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park
6 Pulp at Glastonbury 1995
7 New Order at Reading 1998
8 Kevin Rowland at Reading 1999
9 PJ Harvey at Glastonbury 1995
10 Iggy Pop at Reading 1988

Stones at Hyde Park a festival, Oasis at Knebworth not? Looking up these links I've found contemporary reports laying into quite a few of these entrants - someone in the Nirvana camp must have owed Caroline Sullivan money, I'm saying - and PJ in 1995, while undeniably powerful, was surely nominated so they could print the catsuit picture again. Hang on, Kevin Rowland's negligee/suspenders, 'best'?

Most controversial

1 Rolling Stones at Altamont, 1969
2 Jarvis Cocker at the Brits
3 Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison
4 Sinead O’Connor on Saturday Night Live
5 Ozzy Osbourne in Iowa in 1982
6 Madonna's Girlie Show tour
7 Jesus and Mary Chain at North London Polytechnic
8 Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl
9 2 Live Crew generally
10 Aerosmith at Washington DC, 1976

Three of these aren't concerts, but that's by the by. It has to be said, all the talk of how everyone roared Jarvis on ignores the fact that nobody knew until the following morning that it had happened at all and it was missed by the director, only caught on camcorder by someone at the nearest table. Ozzy is for the dove biting, Aerosmith for Tyler collapsing on stage, J&MC was the McGee-sponsored riot. What this does prove, of course, is how times change - 13 years on from 'KICK THIS EVIL BASTARD OUT' Snoop's playing for billions at Hyde Park. And then there's the top two here...

Best dance/hip-hop (won't bother with links for these, as they're even more difficult to find)

1 Run DMC with the Beastie Boys at Brixton Academy, 1987
2 Eminem's Anger Management tour, 2000
3 Prodigy at the Big Day Out in Sydney, 1996
4 Public Enemy at Hammersmith, 1987
5 Fatboy Slim on Brighton beach
6 Orbital at Glastonbury 1994
7 Danny Rampling at Shoom
8 Justin Timberlake at the NEC, 2003
9 Jay-Z at Wembley, 2003
10 Paul Oakenfold in Ibiza, 1998

It does get hard as the years progress to equate the iconoclastic Tibet supporting Beastie Boys with the cages, inflatable Buds and 'SNEER AT DYING KIDS' image. Of course the growth of rap meant a whole new set of sighters for tabloid front page morality to lock and load onto, as we see in most of this list (remember Marshall's fake E's?) but seems to be grinding to a halt now. No, Doherty, you don't count, it's for what you do at gigs rather than what you don't do. Even Justin's had a go at the start of last year with Janet's help, and I do recall that NEC gig being talked about in advance a lot at the time - did he just not play in London or something? Good news, of course, for Dave Pearce, who can claim to have made an impact on number 4.


ian said...

I know these lists are formed just to make people angry.... grrr. I'm so angry I'll just have to blog it myself.

Matt said...

I realise picking holes in this list is somewhat fish/barrel like, but if they had to pick a Reading novelty act Daphne and Celeste would have been much more worthy of inclusion than Kevin Rowland. I think everyone had forgotten Rowland in the time it took to wander back across the field, but Daphne & Celeste was actually quite exciting. I've still never seen anyone else sprint across a field to hurl abuse at a video screen.

Although I did meet those who claimed responsibility for the whole affair and took against one of them quite vehermently, so probably best to leave it off of the list.

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