Top 5 Televised Musical Performances

Features — By on September 11, 2012 2:29 pm

There’s nothing like going to a live concert and experiencing the pulse of the subwoofers and authenticity of the lead singer’s vocals. But these days, you can watch great artists perform from the comfort of your couch. With HD channels like Palladia, offered by TV providers such as, watching live bands perform has never been easier.

But live performances on television aren’t something that’s necessarily coincided with the rise in popularity of HD programming. Even before HD became mainstream, artists from the rock and roll and country genres electrified audiences of millions with live television broadcast performances. Some of the top televised performances of all time include:

1) Queen – Live Aid (1985)

Live Aid is perhaps the most well-known large scale televised concert. The dual-venue event featured
some of the most prominent names in popular music at the time. Queen was able to steal the show
with an electrifying performance that included some of music’s best known hits at the time, such
as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Are the Champions.” The crowd of more than 70,000 people sang
in unison with the band as it delivered an energizing 20 minute set that is known as one of the top live
performances in music history.

2) U2 – Halftime Super Bowl (2002)

U2 is one of those bands you either like or you don’t. With that said, their performance during halftime
at Super Bowl XXXVI was too powerful for even the staunchest detractors to overlook. The performance
came only several months after 9/11 as the Irish band paid tribute to those who lost their lives with an
inspiring performance of “Where the Streets Have No Name” among other songs.

3) Garth Brooks Live from Central Park (1997)

Garth Brooks’ HBO special was his hallmark performance. And the fact that Brooks was among the
biggest and most popular acts in country music at the time meant that this New York special was a
groundbreaking one. More than 750,000 people gathered in Central Park to watch Garth perform
country hits like “The Dance” and “Friends in Low Places.” Straightforward and without gimmicks,
Brooks concert was one of the most memorable in country music history.

4) Neil Young on Saturday Night Live (1989)

When the conversation turns to late-night television routines and which have had the most lasting
impression, Neil Young’s piece on SNL in the late ’80s comes to mind. Young’s lively performance
of “Keep On Rockin’ in the Free World” immediately comes to mind in discussions of the top television

5) Elton John at Princess Diana’s Funeral (1997)

Elton John’s performance of “Candle in the Wind” at Princess Diana’s funeral was an extraordinary and
moving song choice given the gloomy aura surrounding the tragic situation. And the execution was
classic Elton John – crisp vocals and a deliberate delivery. Many in the crowd were moved to tears, and
John’s performance help bring closure to a mourning nation and society.

These 5 particular events stand out among the rest due to the efforts of the vocalists, the circumstances
surrounding the performances, or both. Which songs do you have on your list of top TV performances?


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