Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Ten On Tuesdays: Greatest Live Performances of the 2000's

As someone who frequents a lot of concerts, I can tell you that there is nothing like experiencing great music live. The energy is contagious and there's always an air of electricity that resonates through the room. One of the marks of a great live performance is that it can have that same power whether you're there in person or watching from the comfort of your own living room. This edition of Ten on Tuesdays takes a look at the best live performances of the decade in my opinion. I took into account the overall quality, memorability and how well it held up over the years. I've also only included performances that were broadcast to a wide audience, either on TV or online.

These ten performances, all in chronological order, left their mark on me when I first saw them and they still give me chills to this day. Of course, there had to be some omissions. As much as I wanted to include Bruce Springsteen's premiere of "My City of Ruins" for the 9/11 charity telecast because of its importance and how much it struck me at the time, it still stands as only merely a good performance removed from the context. My sentimental favorite was Lauryn Hill breaking down during "Peace of Mind" on MTV Unplugged 2.0 because you rarely get that intimate of a look at a big artist, but I concluded that it probably could have been trimmed by a few minutes, but it's still nonetheless magical. Five years from now, I might also kick myself for not including Lady GaGa's recent performance on Saturday Night Live, but I could go on and on about all the great ones I might have missed on this list.

Mary J. Blige - "No More Drama" (Grammys, 2002)

The nation was still in the healing process from the events of 9/11 and all the additional stress and paranoia that it brought on. Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama" took on a whole new meaning in this context and when she belted it out while running back and forth across the stage, you can feel that she understood the newfound weight of the song too. Blige opened her soul for the world to see like few others could do and you can't help but feel all her pain and hope.