What are the best live acts?

I’m not asking you to list your favorite concerts. I think that there is another thread for that. Rather, we shouldn’t judge pop bands solely on the basis of their recorded music. Some bands are simply better on stage than they are in the recording studio. I’ll cite the following for their consistent ability to put on a great live show.

1. The Cramps
2. The Ramones
3. Toots Hibbert (touring as Toots and the Maytals, even though Toots fired the original Maytals some time ago)
5. The UK Subs (crap music, brilliant live show)
6. AC-DC (when Bon Scott was their front man)
7. The Meat Puppets
8. Tom Waits
9. The Anti-Nowhere League
10. Van Halen (w/ David Lee Roth: I hate their music, but I saw them twice, and had a rocking good time!)
11. Iggy Pop
12. Ted Nugent (This man is the redneck Iggy Pop)
13. Joe Ely
14. The Butthole Surfers
15. The Clash
16. The Mentors
17. Nig Heist
18. Emmy Lou Harris
The Mentors... you perv. Wish I could have seen em', El Duce kills me, and the playing on Up the Dose is pretty damn good.

PS- Any of you B.O.C. heads out there who have Direct TV can catch them any weekend this month on a free pay per view doing an excellent live set (it's on channel 103 in No. Calif.).
The Bodeans
Alison Krauss
James Taylor
My nominations:

Best Sound:
I saw Jewel/Rustic Root in Birmingham at an ampitheater and the concert was mic'd PERFECTLY. Sound was freakin amazing. Unfortunately she is recorded POORLY.

Most Entertaining live show:
Weird Al... This guy was very humorous, and really works hard on stage to get laughs. Ya gotta admire someone who graduates at the top of his class at Cal Poly's School of Architecture (one of the best in the country), and goes on to become a hilarius entertainer.

Most Specatular and Impressive:
Emerson Lanke and Palmer... These guys can really put on a show. Their songs maybe old, but man do they play their instruments well and have an excellent show.

Least Enjoyable Show
I saw Lou Reed about 3 years ago, and boy did did that concert suck. It was really depressing. He should be required to at least sing 50% of his songs from the 70's at his concerts and not his new stuff.

I haven't seen the Stones since '76 but I bet they are still a great live show from the video I've seen of them.

Los Lobos
Jason and the Scorchers
Richard Thompson
Drive-By Truckers
White Stripes
Glenn Hughes, have taken six different people to see him and everyone agrees with my high praises after seeing him in person. Most of my shows have been R&R so can only use them for reference; second ELP and recommend Uriah Heep highly if you are lucky enough to catch them now. Also, tried to get tickets to the Stones show in Fort Worth in late 70's to no avail; couldn't pay me to see them now!
Jesus Lizard
Iggy pop
Nick Cave
Dead Moon
Jon SPencer Blues Explosion
How about Dave Matthews Band and Counting Crows, they both put on great live shows!
Leon Russell rates as the top show I've ever seen.
Neil Young is always a delight with a new persona each time.
Frank Zapa was the most wonderful production.
Elvis was spell binding and I'm not a big fan.
Garth had the entire audience in his hand.

When I was about 13 my older brother took me to see The Rolling Stones on their first USA tour in Omaha. There were only about 250 people at the concert. They played perhaps four numbers and left in a huff. That turned me off to them forever although I could understand their anger. A couple of years ago while watching a history of rock 'n roll series on television I listened to a young Mick make insulting remarks about Omaha and vowing never to return. I wonder if he kept his promise.

the burning brides in philly...all rock...no filler...no posing...kick ass tunes
check out their re-released disc 'fall of the plastic empire'
Ok, admittedly all metal (I listen to lots of different stuff, but I live for metal) - but I saw a few hard entries already, so...

Destruction - the original Mad Butchers, none can match their mastery and energy. They're back!

Queensryche - repeatedly wiped Metallica off the stage during the Operation Mindcrime / And Justice... tour. What a mismatch.

Megadeth - Rust in Peace tour, anything newer is dross. Mustaine back on planet Earth briefly, Marty Friedman's in.

Coroner - thanking my lucky stars I saw these techincal killers before they called it a day.

Saxon - never quits, never fades. Stronger than ever, once again in the new millenium. They've got Wheels of Steel!

Demolition Hammer - none but the hardcore would have seen these guys, but holy hand-grenades Batman! Still love the memories from these shows.

Now, just if Venom would stop by my little neck of the woods!
ROLLING STONES Period! I've been to many shows over the last 40 years and no one does it better or more consistantly or innovatingly. Good music coupled with spectacular, highly technical stage design.
Nina Hagen...
You should first see her mimics and act during the live performance!
Kate Bush...
Uh... she's so lovely!
This is my angry side so dont be afraid...
Definately best live acts that I have seen multiple times to answer this thread.
1 Godsmack.........awesome live... excellent musically and
great on stage presence. Sully, lead singer, great
people person.
2 Metallica........super heavy and loud... not always
a good thing, but in this case, you must make an
3 Tool...........by far, technically, fantastic
musicans. Best drummer in the business Danny Carey
IMO.. Very deep music and visual effects are great.
Anyone care to list their pics for most
dissapointing live acts???
Happy listening,
Custom Audio LLC
David Allan Coe
Bruce Springsteen
Rolling Stones
Sammy Hagar (solo)
Moody Blues

Your local Symphony
Re The Stones: I am of the opinion that their live shows for the past close to 20 years now have been prefunctory money-extracting operations of the most hollow sort. Pay your hundreds, see the legends. True, they do empty professionalism as well or better than anybody - and of course they have a huge advantage in material over the competition - but that's still all it is.

Duane: The Mentors were about a hundred times better live than they were on record!

Random thoughts, very incomplete:
Highest, most concentrated live energy ever released on a stage: The Bad Brains, circa late 70's - early 80's.

Bands I most wish I'd seen live: MC5, New York Dolls, Jimi Hendrix Experience, the original James Brown revue, and of course, The Beatles.

Bands I danced the most to: C.J. Chenier and his Red Hot Louisiana Band, Trouble Funk.

Band that meant the most to me to see live (many times): The Replacements.

For a good time, bands you should see live the next time they come to your town: The Dictators, The Flaming Lips, NRBQ, The Soft Boys (back from the grave), Sloan, The Fleshtones, The Swingin' Neckbreakers, Oxes.
Keb Mo, James Taylor.
While you still can, you should go see Otis Clay. That is, if real soul music is your thang. Here in Chicago, he gets booked into blues bars occasionally. His live shows are invariably better than those of the more common formulaic blues acts.

Not that it will do anybody any good now, but I should share my observation that The Minutemen always rocked the house in a most profound way.
Tweakgeek, speaking of Otis Clay, did you catch the TV news feature (can't remember if was network or cable) last week about the resurrected career of Howard Tate?
Talking Heads and Thomas Dolby really shine when appearing live. Most of their recorded music lacks the emotion.
Grateful Dead
Dave Matthews Band
Allman Brothers Band
David Nelson Band (formerly of New Riders of the Purple Sage)
Shawn Colvin
Jerry Douglas
Tragically Hip.
By far- the Outlaws. Second- the Who(before Quadrophenia)
The Black Crowes, Alien Sex Fiend, The Cramps, The Ramones, The Clash, Gang Of Four
OK, how 'bout this? Some bands I saw resurrected at the Cavestomp shows in NYC '97 - '01 (RIP) that I never imagined I'd get a chance to see in my lifetime:

The Pretty Things
? & The Mysterians
The Litter
Barry & The Remains
The Gants
The Troggs
Sky Saxon (The Seeds)
Mark Lindsey (The Raiders)
The Blues Magoos
The Creation
The Electric Prunes
The Beau Brummels
The Monks
The Zombies
The Standells
The Chocolate Watch Band
Richard & The Young Lions
Sean Boniwell's Music Machine
Downliners Sect
The Third Bardo
Syndicate of Sound
...and those were just the gen-u-wine '60's bands...

Hope I haven't left out anybody (except for a band calling themselves The Shadows of Knight who didn't sound like it, and deserved to be), but these shows were truly an embarrasment of riches from out of the mists of time, real rock'n'roll-wise. Ya'll kiddies shoulda been there.
Gwar, thats freaking RICH.
I have heard a lot of bands, virtually all in 60's & early 70's when it was $3.50 to hear your favorite groups (now superstars) in a crowd of about 150 people. But I never heard the band that played what has been and always will be my single favorite song, which is the only song I liked by the group. I really envy you having heard ? Mark and the Mysterians. I know its just another of a million songs by a million artists, but I'd die to hear 96 Tears live.
Jetter, there is a live CD from that show, released on Norton I believe. It actually does a good job of catching the band's live sound, but the production apparently didn't feature any mic's facing the crowd (or whoever mixed it didn't bring the applause up between songs), so it sounds strangely as if they're playing to a virtually empty small club, when in reality the packed crowd of about 300 just went nuts the whole time. (Nice story: The Lyres played on that bill, and mainman (Monoman) Jeff Connolly plays a vintage Vox Continental organ just like was used by ? & The Mysterians back in the day. The group was the all original linup, but they only had some Korg synth or something with them, and were able to borrow the Vox for the show, which made everything right with the world.) They actually managed to tour together for a couple of years there after that Cavestomp show, and I saw them again twice more here in DC, but they seem not to have been active for the past two years now. Rudy Martinez (Question Mark) puts on a hell of a show - he's like the forgotten Latino James Brown; the orange cape and tight pants, with of course his trademark shades and long black hair, but he's quite a bit trimmer at a few years younger, so his moves are still slick.
Having heard hundreds of groups, and not remembering a lot of them for good reasons, the groups that stand out for show or music are:

Pink Floyd
Rolling Stones
Kiss (70s vintage)
Kansas (unbelievably tight musically)
John Cougar Mellencamp (just flat out fun)
Genesis (70s vintage)
Leonard Skynard
GWAR (in a league of their own)
Any Clapton
Jethro Tull
Who (sad)

Yeah, these are older rock groups. My tastes have mellowed, and I could add a lot of other groups, but the above groups were a lot of fun, and they really could get the crowd going. The groups were not listed in numeric order except for the first group. Pink Floyd is unbelievable in concert, but then again, you will never see a group as shocking as GWAR!
i just saw iggy pop last night at a local hang out here in miami.he was shooting a video with sum 41(they suck a..)and man,oh man he hasn't lost one bit of energy.he didn't perform any songs just the same one for the video, which i don't even know what it is.
Guided by Voices from Dayton, Ohio. Robert Pollard is a songwriter/frontman extraordinaire, a hook-laden songwriting machine who gives all on stage. (Plus he hands
out free beers to the audience while he performs)
Rush & Pink Floyd have been the two best bands I have seen live.
springsteen - unbelievable energy; entire crowd was up and singing along

phish - always something new; great musicians

allman brothers - tremendous jams, which you can get lost in under the right, um, circumstances
Devo- Radio City Halloween 1980. The sight of a bummed out guy dressed as a giant penis getting tossed by security was priceless.
There is one singular act which stands far above the rest.....Peter Gabriel. His live show was a visual and musical extravaganza.
The Avett Brothers put on the best live performance. There is so much power in the room when they perform. If you have a chance to see them live don't pass up the opportunity.
Many of the best have already been noted. I'll add:

Todd Rundgren (on a good night, there have also been some bad ones)
Rebirth Brass Band
Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Kid Creole
Gatemouth Brown
Fleetwood Mac/Lindsey Buckingham
Zachary Richard (when he was legal and Sonny Landreth was aboard)
Smithereens (loud!)
The Bongos
Richard Thompson

Among others
Stevie Ray Vaughn (1984)

The Who (1982)

U2 (1987)

Mettalica (1992)

Prince (1982,4,7)

INXS (1983,5,7)

Tears For Fears (1990)

Elton John (1993)
Buddy Guy, John Hiatt
Skinny Puppy. unbearably alive..........
I saw Big Head Todd and the Monsters a few weeks ago. I've got a couple of his albums but not really a fan.
He puts on one heck of a show. Lots of energy.
In the live music space and do 200 shows a year.

The single best show was The Clash at the Palladium in LA for intensity and energy. A close second was U2 at the LA Sports Arena for the Joshua Tree Tour (entire crowd out of their seats).

Best band for maintaing a high level of musicianship would be Los Lobos.

Most intimate show was Paul Kelly at the Hotel Cafe (12 people) and Van Halen at the Covina Bowl (12 people) and Louie's Lounge (20 people).

Most impressive was Stevie Wonder; did a private party, and despite having the flu, played a 3 and 1/2 hour set, even though the contract said one hour.

Best lighting rig was at the recent Eminem Show at the Epicenter.

Worst show for a "big name" act was Pink Floyd during the Animal Tour: completed overwhelmed by the stage props--even the pig floated away.

Most flawless playing, i.e. perfect recreation of an album, lick for lick, was Dire Straits at the Greek.

Most hobbled but beloved show: The Replacements at the Variety Arts in LA: so drunk they has to huddle between songs
Joe Cocker at Ruth Eckerd Hall in St. Pete.
That was truly a class act. Sounded better live than on CD's.

Kind of funny that I saw several of the same shows you cite - but at different tour stops and sometimes with very different impressions. For instance,

I loved the Animals show (Madison Square Garden) because - despite the props - the music was stripped down rock, at least for Pink Floyd. and

I saw The Clash at Bond's in NYC and it was terrible - the worst acoustics I've ever encountered at a rock show, which is really saying something.

OTOH, I agree that Los Lobos maintains a ridiculously high level of musicianship - even when the material isn't up to their usual standards. I still refer to the Colossal Head show as the Colossal bore show. But that band can play! If it has strings, I want to hear David Hidalgo work it.

Always a pleasure to get your take on this stuff, since you live it in a way that most contributors here don't.

Thanks Marty. I usually tune out most shows--kind of like a kid in the candy store, so I am amazed when I really "feel" a great show go down, i.e. when everything clicks.

I worked with The Clash on their last US tour, 6 warm up dates leading into the US Festival. They told me they hated the Bonds shows--overbooked and a really small crummy space.

Pink Floyd suffered from trying to play to the video parameters of the day--very "deer in the headlights" moment, when the lighting rig and video went mental.

I also saw Radiohead where the entire rig went silent twice, due to the generator.

I love Los Lobos and wish I could have saw Booker T and the Wray Men in their day--heard both bands were incredibly tight.

Still like seeing bands on their way up. I don't find many new bands can carry a show today--my current faves are Aloe Blacc and the Throwdowns--super great and tight young bands.
Derek Trucks, Widespread Panic, Steve Kimock band, Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Mars Volta, Ben Harper....
Rusted Root, I have seen them about 13 times, I never saw show that was less than phenomenal!
Bruce Springsteen, Dave Holland, Keith Jarrett, and Charles Lloyd
The Church out of Sidney Australia. They tour the states about every other year. I have seen about 200 show. Out of those, the Church are the best. These guys bring it every time and their shows are epic, the best.