In your opinion, what makes a great live performance?

B. ViciousB. Vicious Opening Act
edited March 2009 in History of Rock
Okay, so i was thinking to myself today, what makes a great live performance. My 2 favorite band's (avenged sevenfold, bullet for my valentine) live performances are considered terrible (from what i've seen others say within forums, not just this one) HOWEVER, i have seen both in concert, and because i enjoy listening to the music more than just going around acting crazy as hell in the mosh pit, i thought they sounded great, and the lights and pyrotechnics were stellar. So I want to ask you, the people of these forums, what in your opinion makes a great live performance.

Comments

  • supernova1324supernova1324 Headliner
    edited February 2009
    Good rough sound that isn't duplicate of the studio version and isn't horrible.
    Improv in songs
    Guitar/drum battles
    Humor
    Trash talk
    Pyrotechnics
    Both acoustic and electric songs

    More things that I can't be bothered to name.
  • RunesmithRunesmith Headliner
    edited February 2009
    Energy and a close connection with the fans, primarily.

    I also might be one of the few people alive who think pyrotechnics actually make a show much worse than normal.
  • supernova1324supernova1324 Headliner
    edited February 2009
    Runesmith;2007729 said:
    Energy and a close connection with the fans, primarily.

    I also might be one of the few people alive who think pyrotechnics actually make a show much worse than normal.
    Depends on how they are used.
  • LolicatLolicat Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    Anything like pyro, costumes, set-pieces automatically turns me off, sorry.
  • franticfishfranticfish Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    Tension between band members often results in performances I like Improvisation and a sound that isn't exactly like the studio recording.
  • GowienczykGowienczyk Pooper of Parties
    edited February 2009
    Energy and Charisma are most vital.
  • LolicatLolicat Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    Gowienczyk;2008652 said:
    Energy and Charisma are most vital.
    This, plus a decent sound and that's basically it. Guitar duals are for losers.
  • ArmsAreLoudArmsAreLoud Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    Actually, Loli, my first concert (and currently only, unfortunately) ended in a guitar duel between Leslie West and Joe Satriani. It was hilarious.

    I actually preferred Mountain over Satch live (even though Satch's studio recordings are leagues ahead of Mountain's), probably due to the improv. Plus, the drummer was so stoned he could have kept me awake if he was the only one on stage. XD
  • LolicatLolicat Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    ArmsAreLoud;2008735 said:
    Actually, Loli, my first concert (and currently only, unfortunately) ended in a guitar duel between Leslie West and Joe Satriani. It was hilarious.

    I actually preferred Mountain over Satch live (even though Satch's studio recordings are leagues ahead of Mountain's), probably due to the improv. Plus, the drummer was so stoned he could have kept me awake if he was the only one on stage. XD
    If I had to watch Satriani at all I'd gouge my ears out.
  • AxlVanHagarAxlVanHagar Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    For me it's a combination of things, a lot of these have been mentioned already in this thread. These here are my big three.

    Overall musicianship - do they sound good live, doesn't have to be a carbon copy of the album, which I don't really like anyway, but does it at least sound like the band/song I'm familiar with. Are they playing in tune/right key? Depending on the band are they taking a few chances and jamming a bit? Playing the songs in a different arrangement. the right bands can do that well abd give you a new twist on an old classic which can be very cool.

    Setlist - There better be a few deep cuts for the longtime fans in there, I don't want a greatest hits type show unless it's a farewell tour type of deal. Nothing bums me out more than a predictable set list or one that doesn't change from year to year. Ozzy and Poison are notorious for this, neither have changed their setlist for a show in over a decade.

    Showmanship - Doesn't necesarrily have to be tons of pyro and lights or theatrical in nature but it does have to be a show. The band is there performing so they better be performing and entertaining my ass otherwise I may as well have stayed home and listened to the album. A concert needs to be visual as well as sonic. I've alwayd agreed with a quote of David Lee Roth's on that "Go big or go home. You need to make sure you're entertaining the cat that's in the last seat in the last row. He paid the same hard earned money that the cat in the front row did. So you'd best be playing up to him and make sure he's got something visually stimulating to look at as well as being sonically entertained. Now that doesn't mean that you rely on the theatrics cause let's face it. If you can't go out on stage in a pair of jeans and a plain white T-shirt with one spotlight and figure out a way to entertain then you don't belong there." Very true.
  • MronoCMronoC Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    Lolicat;2008576 said:
    Anything like pyro, costumes, set-pieces automatically turns me off, sorry.
    I'm tempted to agree, but Alice Cooper is still the best show I've ever seen.

    I think a big part of a great live performance is the audience, if it's an audience of hardcore fans who really get in to it, the energy is reciprocated back and forth.
  • AxlVanHagarAxlVanHagar Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    Lolicat;2008576 said:
    Anything like pyro, costumes, set-pieces automatically turns me off, sorry.
    Depends on how they are used for me. Are they used to augment and enhance the show? Then cool. Are they being completely relied on for the show? Then boo!

    A performer like Alice Cooper uses them to great effect to enhance the show, brings them out every once in awhile to to give that extra added punch to a song, he used them as an exclamation point. KISS is filled with with lights and pyro but they use them well in much the same way Cooper does, they tend to do it more often. I've also seen both not use any theatrics what-so-ever.

    Alice during the Bare Bones Tour didn't even whear his standard makeup and there was no theatrics or set pieces at all. Stll a great show! He still performed very well, interacting with the audience more than usual since he wasn't in character, and goofing around with the band more. It was still awesome.

    KISS on the Hot In The Shade Tour were co-headlining with Whitesnake when i saw them. Because KISS were to go on first they were not allowed to use any of their show pieces, the giant sphinx, lights, pyro etc. KISS came out angry and pissed off in their street clothes pretty much and rocked the **** out of the building that night. killer setlist, and really played! That was the best show I have ever seen KISS put on.

    So both of those bands while known for set pieces, and theatrics and such are quite capable of doing it without. The fans expect a certain show with them so they tend to deliver. A band like say GWAR I don't think are capable of doing it with out all the other stuff and to the best of my knowlege have never attempted it. There's a band that relies on the stuff you're talking about. I really think it comes down to how that kind of thing is used and wether or not the bands in question are able to do it without the added stuff.
  • Insane3Insane3 Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    Lolicat;2008576 said:
    Anything like pyro, costumes, set-pieces automatically turns me off, sorry.
    I don't agree. When I see a show, I want it to be somehow different then when I listen to the cd. I want it to be visually original.
    Examples: The Wall tour, Ziggy Stardust, Genesis' early tours.
  • Insane3Insane3 Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    AxlVanHagar;2008843 said:

    Alice Cooper
    You could simply have said that, we would have undestood your point.
  • Insane3Insane3 Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    Lolicat;2008704 said:
    This, plus a decent sound and that's basically it. Guitar duals are for losers.
    Burn in hell, heretic. Did you ever see the movie Crossroads (not the Britney Spears movie).
  • LolicatLolicat Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    Insane3;2010344 said:
    Burn in hell, heretic. Did you ever see the movie Crossroads (not the Britney Spears movie).
    Uh, yea, it was boring as all Hell, like all of Vai's output.
  • dalcytedalcyte Opening Act
    edited February 2009
    It's all about energy and stage presense, which go together. I mean a lot of it has to do with the type of preformer. I saw keller williams a bit ago live, who's a big a jam guy. And improv goes with jam, so that doesn't really apply there...

    But yeah, doing things that remain true to classic favorites, but also mixing it up. I saw Steely Dan do a totally crazy version of Showbiz Kids that was really cool..it has to be done jsut right if you mix it up a lot.

    Anyway, the preformer really needs to be having fun and look like they're putting a lot into it. My two favorite shows that I have ever seen are Radiohead and Bruce Springsteen (two of the greatest live acts ever lol, so not that weird). I guess Bruce was up there because well his live shows are just fantastic because he just loves what he's doing, and he arguably had his best show of the Magic tour so....heh lol, that worked out. Played like every major hit except Rosalita and a bunch of really obscure stuff too.

    And radiohead just is mindblowing because they are just so crazy and into live performances...especially with the lighting and LED things. Good lights make a good performance, but i would be fine if the artist had nothing and just had a ton of energy.
  • FizzelerFizzeler Washed Up
    edited February 2009
    AxlVanHagar;2008796 said:
    For me it's a combination of things, a lot of these have been mentioned already in this thread. These here are my big three.

    Overall musicianship - do they sound good live, doesn't have to be a carbon copy of the album, which I don't really like anyway, but does it at least sound like the band/song I'm familiar with. Are they playing in tune/right key? Depending on the band are they taking a few chances and jamming a bit? Playing the songs in a different arrangement. the right bands can do that well abd give you a new twist on an old classic which can be very cool.

    Setlist - There better be a few deep cuts for the longtime fans in there, I don't want a greatest hits type show unless it's a farewell tour type of deal. Nothing bums me out more than a predictable set list or one that doesn't change from year to year. Ozzy and Poison are notorious for this, neither have changed their setlist for a show in over a decade.

    Showmanship - Doesn't necesarrily have to be tons of pyro and lights or theatrical in nature but it does have to be a show. The band is there performing so they better be performing and entertaining my ass otherwise I may as well have stayed home and listened to the album. A concert needs to be visual as well as sonic. I've alwayd agreed with a quote of David Lee Roth's on that "Go big or go home. You need to make sure you're entertaining the cat that's in the last seat in the last row. He paid the same hard earned money that the cat in the front row did. So you'd best be playing up to him and make sure he's got something visually stimulating to look at as well as being sonically entertained. Now that doesn't mean that you rely on the theatrics cause let's face it. If you can't go out on stage in a pair of jeans and a plain white T-shirt with one spotlight and figure out a way to entertain then you don't belong there." Very true.
    This as well as time and location help me decide the level of the performance (although I do not know why it just does to me)
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited February 2009
    i don't think there's anything in particular that does it for me.

    i'm fine with basic performances, theatrics, total lack of energy, and just about anything else so long as i'm somehow getting something that i enjoy out of the experience.
  • HungryfreakHungryfreak Headliner
    edited February 2009
    Depending on the band, it could be a lot of things.

    I always like a good energy in a performance, but the energy can differ (for example, I would feel a different type of energy at a thrash concert than I would at a death concert that I would at a doom concert).

    Theatrics are cool, but they have to suit the band. Sometimes I just enjoy bands that go out there as nothing but themselves and play an awesome show from their hearts. Same thing goes for showmanship.

    Raw live sounds and improv are always great, but it can also be nice to hear a more precise version since it just feels much more nostalgic.

    Ill with Axl that good musicmanship and setlist are important. Those things apply throughout any type of show.

    The other thing that can make or break a show for me are the fans. Having to deal with *******s throughout a concert can always detract from the fun, while meeting cool people can enhance your enjoyment.
  • DemeniseDemenise Rising Star
    edited February 2009
    Arguably one of the best live performers is Bruce Springsteen.

    Last time I saw him:

    -3 1/2 or 4 hour show
    -30 songs
    -6 encores
    -Crowd requests
    -Extended songs
    -Really puts his all into it

    Seriously. One of the top live artists of all time.
  • AxlVanHagarAxlVanHagar Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    Demenise;2011333 said:
    Arguably one of the best live performers is Bruce Springsteen.

    Last time I saw him:

    -3 1/2 or 4 hour show
    -30 songs
    -6 encores
    -Crowd requests
    -Extended songs
    -Really puts his all into it

    Seriously. One of the top live artists of all time.
    Agreed. I became a fan after I saw him live on the Born In The USA tour. He is really incredible live.
  • supernova1324supernova1324 Headliner
    edited February 2009
    One more thing that is interesting sometimes is when bands do covers.

    And yeah, Bruce has good energy, but I just don't like how he sounds. My dad blasts Bruce every week and it gets really annoying.
  • HungryfreakHungryfreak Headliner
    edited February 2009
    Concert only songs are cool, too, whenever a band does them. Donovan does that and I had the pleasure of catching one of those songs in a concert a few years back.
  • Alright_ComputerAlright_Computer Butt Neck
    edited February 2009
    I think it's a combination of two factors: overall musicianship and connecting with the audience. Having energy is great, but only if it suits your style of music. I wouldn't want an acoustic folk concert to have tons of energy, likewise, I wouldn't want a metal band to stare at their pedals like shoegazers.
  • LolicatLolicat Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    I think Bruce is one of the best performers out there. I don't even like most of his music, but I've seen a couple of videos, and he really impresses every time, I think that's the mark of a good performer. He also encompasses the greatest element; when the performer appears to be having fun, you enjoy yourself more.

    That said, I'd have been interested in seeing some of Chan Marshall's 'drunk and confessional messes' of concerts.
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited February 2009
    Lolicat;2013874 said:

    That said, I'd have been interested in seeing some of Chan Marshall's 'drunk and confessional messes' of concerts.
    the one i saw in 2000 or so was pretty tense, though not quite as uncomfortable as some of the earlier bright eyes shows i saw around the same timeframe.
  • LolicatLolicat Road Warrior
    edited February 2009
    afterstasis;2013879 said:
    the one i saw in 2000 or so was pretty tense, though not quite as uncomfortable as some of the earlier bright eyes shows i saw around the same timeframe.
    I'll admit that I'm one of those horrible people really nosey about performer's lives.:(
  • B. ViciousB. Vicious Opening Act
    edited February 2009
    Yeah, im still not understanding why people say avenged sevenfold sucks live. I saw them last night in pittsburgh, and they were ****ing awesome. They sound stellar, they do add (or take away) parts of their songs, syn rips 3 SOLOS, they are active in talking to the audience, they are funny, do some cool stuff while they are playing, they DONT **** up, and the light show is ****ing awesome. they have enough stage presence to get by, the crowd was rediculous, and i still don't understand why several people think negatively of them live.
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