‘There’s nothing better than live music. It’s raw energy, and raw energy feeds the soul’ – Dhani Jones
When I was 15 I think like most 15 year olds I dreamed of being a popstar and would spend ages in my room making up dance routines to all my favourite Spice Girls/All Saints/BSB (delete as appropriate) songs. I also used to try and put together set lists of what my live shows would look like, so needless to say, live performances are something I’ve always had an interest in. Now that we live in the age of youtube I’m able to watch over all my favourite live performances from my youth (as well as pick up some new ones) any time I like. So here’s a list of my 10 favourite:
TLC – No Scrubs (VMA’s 1999)
1999 was a good year for live performances as you’ll find out as you read on. Mostly because there were some great pop songs released that year. I’d never seen TLC perform anything other than on Top of the Pops where I have a strong suspicion they were miming so I love this performance which is full of sass, attitude and you get to see them seriously bust a moved at the end!
Britney Spears – Baby One More Time/Crazy (EMA’s 1999)
You can’t really have a list of live performances without Britney can you really? She’s had some corkers in her time so there were lots to choose from but in the end I had to go with this one, as this was the only one that I video taped and watched over and over again trying to copy the dance routine. It was also one of the first time’s I’d seen anyone perform a mash up of two songs, sheltered as my upbringing was!
Backstreet Boys – Everybody / We’ve Got It Going On / That’s The Way I Like It (Millennium Tour 2000)
As I said before I love a mashup and was lucky to see this twice with my own teenage eyes as it was at the height of my BSB obsession. I thought only performing the first verse and chorus of two of their biggest songs was very brave but the 3 songs together works really well. It came at a point in the show after two ballads so really got the energy back up again. I also love a show performed in the round and they make use of the stage really well.
Lemar and Jamelia – Addicted to Love (Brit Awards 2005)
This kind of fell into the annuls of my mind for a while but when I started looking into some of my favourite live performances for this post I came across this one again and remembered how much I loved it at the time. Neither Lemar or Jamelia do much musically anymore but I think you’ll agree they sound amazing live. Their chemistry together isn’t the greatest but it’s a great version of the Robert Palmer classic and Jamelia’s legs are absolutely insane!
Madonna – Vogue (Sticky & Sweet Tour 2008)
Madonna is my absolute live idol and much like Britney I had a lot of performances to chose from. I went for this for a couple of reasons, 1. because it’s an absolutely brilliant sing, which I don’t think anyone can deny and 2. she’s done something different with it. The backing track has been changed and instead of just doing the iconic dance routine in the video she’s updated it a little bit, which is why she’s so brilliant really!
Boa – Energetic (Live Tour 2010)
I love this girl, like really love her, she’s all the best bits of Britney without being dead behind the eyes. I discovered her on Last.fm (this very song incidentally) just as she was about to release her first English album. She’s quite possibly the best dancer who’s out currently and everything she does looks effortless. Although this is quite a dancey track and isn’t going to win any Ivor Novello’s for lyrics. she still sounds pretty good live despite all the bouncing around.
Tinie Tempah (Brit Awards 2011)
I was only half watching the Brits in 2011 and Tinie came on and started this performance. It made me stop what I was doing and pay attention. He just looked and sounded so cool with this onslaught of energy! So much so that we booked tickets to see him on tour the following year (I really am a marketers dream!). Shame really as the tour wasn’t nearly as good as this one performance – he had my money by that stage though!
Take That – Kidz (Progress Tour 2011)
I wasn’t happy when Robbie rejoined Take That. I was annoyed with Gray for letting him back after all the nasty things that had been said when Robbie left, and I thought he would completely try and steal the show again. I’m still not a huge Robbie fan, but I concede that this was one of the best tours I’ve seen them on. This performance in particular has everything; Mark on lead, rapping and a dance battle!
Childish Gambino – Heartbeat (Last.fm Sessions 2012)
I would sell almost everything I own to see this guy live. I found him on last.fm with this song too so makes sense that this performance would make the list. I love the energy he has and the animated way he performs. He switches between rapping and singing brilliantly and he still looks cool even in a beige cardigan! If you have chance check out the whole last.fm session if you can, you won’t be disappointed!
Katy Perry – Paris (Radio 1 Live Lounge 2012)
I’ve never made any secret of the fact I’m Team Katy over Team Taylor all the way.She’s everything I love in a popstar without the annoying butter wouldn’t melt America’s Sweetheart attitude. I love that she takes risks, this can’t be the easiest song in the world to perform yet she pulls it off comfortably and as if it’s one of her own tracks. Take note Tay Tay. This is how it’s done!