Top 10 Greatest Live Rock Hero Moments!

What are the definitive Rock Hero moments in music history? We are thinking of those magical moments, crazy antics, insane arrangements, and the indescribable fretwork that lead to legendary gigs. Steve Colver has compiled a top ten of suggestions to get you thinking...

Rock Heroes are few and far between today. They were a rare breed that manifested through the ‘60s and died out somewhere towards the end of the ‘80s in a blurry mixture of money, alcohol and drugs. Living fast was the motto, and dying young was often the consequence. Rock artists are notorious for their extravagant lives filled with excess. No expense is spared.
Rock musicians have also provided us with some of the best live moments on stage. Somehow the mixture of drugs, alcohol, and attitude don’t always mix particularly well. Don’t think of this as a definitive list; it is far too short to include all of the marvelous rock moments out their. Rather think of it as a spring board to all the awesome footage available on YouTube. Feel free to add your own suggestions too!


Who?
Pete Townshend (Explosion)
When?
1967 on the Smothers Brothers Show.
Why?
This might not be a true live performance, but it is a classic clip of The Who from 1967. Townshend deserves rock hero status simply from his ability to withstand Keith Moon’s exploding drum kit at point blank range! The Who are well known for instrument destruction at the end of their gigs; Townshend was never satisfied unless the remains of his beaten guitar were speared through his speaker cab.
Best Bit?
Apart from the massive explosion at 2.28. John Entwistle’s determination to proceed as if nothing was happening around him, whilst The Who frantically destroy the back line 2:21.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9-JdubfUCw

Who?
Jimi Hendrix (Pyrotechnics)
When?
1967 at the Monterey Pop Festival.
Why?
The Monterey Pop Festival initiated the “Summer of Love” in 1967 and became the template that future festivals such as Woodstock. Hendrix’s legendary performance at Monterey contributed to the band’s rising fame in the United States. The set closed with a cover of Wild Thing, in which Hendrix lights his guitar and smashes it to pieces. Also examine Purple Haze, where Hendrix plays on the misinterpretation of his lyrics “excuse me while I kiss this guy”.
Best Bit?
Well, Hendrix starts the feedback antics at 3:45 and culminates with the lighter fluid and matches at 5:13.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PShb9YiCEy0

Who?
Keith Richards (making use of his axe)
When?
During the Stone’s 1981 American concert tour promoting Tattoo You.
Why?
The Rolling Stone’s 1981 tour set a new high with record ticket sales of over three million. It was the largest grossing tour of 1981 reaching $50 million. A classic moment from the tour was recorded as a frenzied fan jumped past security onto the stage to rush the band. As Jagger nervously flinches, Richards steps forward to take a swing at the intruder with his guitar.
Best Bit?
When Keith Richards finishes swinging his guitar at the fan and casually slings it back on to continue the song, just like a true pro.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ_P1vfZYo4&feature=player_embedded

Who?
Justin Hawkins (Tiger)
When?
2004, Wembley Arena.
Why?
There is only one guitarist that can get away with straddling a plastic life sized tiger and indulgently soloing for two minutes, whilst they fly over their fan’s heads. He is called Justin Hawkins, and his band was of course called The Darkness. Throughout their rather short career, The Darkness made it their top priority to constantly ride the fine line between glam rock extravagance and cliched flamboyance. Still, with a number one album and bag full of awards the guys were anything but a joke.
Best Bit?
The whole clip is priceless. After a minute and a half of straddled soloing Hawkins begins to get a little bored and decides to take a breather 1:25.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McUI5VwFbgY

Who?
Gene Simmons (Blood and guts)
When?
2000, The Kiss Farewell Tour.
Why?
Who says bassists are boring? Gene Simmons proves they are anything but bland with this classic blood spewing clip. Although the clip is not specifically focused on the guitar, it is one of those rock hero moments that just had to be included in this shortlist. The Farewell Tour actually marked the last time KISS would play with their original lineup; it was meant to mark the retirement of the whole band.
Best Bit?
As the blood begins to seep from the demon’s mouth at 0:35.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgkLhfiGIqY

Who?
Angus Young (Stand tall on the shoulders of giants)
When?
1979, Le Stadium Paris.
Why?
In 2009 AC/DC’s US sales figures reached $71 million. Although their style is often described as hard rock, AC/DC practically pioneered heavy metal in the late ‘70s. Angus Young and Bon Scott made an unbeatable pair during live shows. Young’s stage moves included the spasm (throwing himself on he floor kicking, shaking and spinning in circles), the duck walk (taken from Chuck Berry), the devil's horns, and a constant mix of intense jumps and frantic scrambling back and forth the stage.
Best Bit?
4:00, when Angus Young climbs onto the shoulders of Bon Scott. The pair venture out into a screaming sea of waving arms as Angus solos.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRzp17yTij0

Who?
Jimmy Page (Guitar bowing)
When?
1973, Madison Square Garden New York.
Why?
This footage was recorded during Led Zeppelin’s 1973 North American Tour. In total, the tour grossed over $4 million. It broke the record set by The Beatles when Zeppelin played to a total of 56, 800 fans at Tampa Stadium Florida (The Beatles set the record with 55,600 fans at Shea Stadium in 1965). Page’s bowed guitar technique became a staple of Led Zeppelin live shows. Live performances of Dazed and Confused often exceeded forty five minutes as the band extended sections and Page took free-form bowed solos.
Best Bit?
The long sustained chords and edgy tremolo bowing that Page plays at 0:45. Along with the delay, it creates quite an eerie sound. Also watch the hairs mercilessly flying off of the bow at 2:11 as Page relentlessly beats it against his strings.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sarm8rzdY3Y

Who?
Dave Gilmour (Pompeii)
When?
1972, Ancient Roman Amphitheater, Pompeii.
Why?
This is now a legendary performance by Pink Floyd. It was released in 1972 as a film in which the band played seven songs to an eerily abandoned Roman amphitheater in Pompeii. Interestingly only Echoes pt 1 and 2, A Saucerful of Secrets, and One of These Days were recorded at the roman amphitheater. The remaining four were filmed at a studio in Paris where extra blue screen shooting took place. This was because three of the band’s six designated days of recording were wasted trying to source enough electricity to power all the guys gear!
Best Bit?
When the camera slowly pans around the back of Dave Gilmour’s amps and the rest of the band’s gear (7:38) showing the grand size of the theatre and rows of empty seats.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2hFZ8KnsSo

Who?
Chuck Berry (Duck Walk)
When?
1966, American TV show Hullabaloo.
Why?
The Duck Walk is a classic rock move that has become the trademark of a handful of professional guitarists and every aspiring air guitarist the world over. Chuck Berry is credited with the moves rise to fame. However, it was actually T-Bone Walker who invented the move during the ‘50s. John Lennon said of Berry, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”
Best Bit?
Interestingly it is not the two dancing women, raised on separate plinths above Berry’s head that receive our vote, but the classic Duck Walk at 2:11.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF3xvl4Kd_U

Who?
Eddie Van Halen (Eruption)
When?
1983, US Festival in California.
Why?
If a rock guitarist states they don't like ten minute solos they are more than likely a liar! Eddie Van Halen popularised the tapping trend of the ‘80s with Eruption. The song features a mixture of two handed tapping, tremolo picking, dive bombs, harmonics, and hammer ons and pull offs. In this ten minute live clip Van Halen reminds us why Eruption is such a landmark solo; it reached number two in Guitar World’s ‘100 Greatest Solos’.
Best Bit?
7:11 for some good old fashioned tapping and 9:51 for the classic line.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_lwocmL9dQ


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