Queen tops world's greatest rock gig poll

Queen’s flamboyant performance at Live Aid 20 years ago has been crowned the world’s greatest rock gig.

Queen’s flamboyant performance at Live Aid 20 years ago has been crowned the world’s greatest rock gig.

The set came top of a poll voted for by a panel of over 60 artists, music journalists, broadcasters and music industry executives.

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, the ultimate 60s event in August 18, 1969, came second.

The Sex Pistols at Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall on June 4 ,1976 came third.

Bob Dylan at Manchester Free Trade Hall in May 17, 1966 came fourth followed by David Bowie at the Hammersmith Apollo on July 3, 1973.

Bob Marley gets sixth place with his One Love Peace Concert on April 22, 1978 in Kingston, Jamaica.

The Queen gig was described by judges as a “show-stealing performance” which took place in front of 1.5 billion television viewers worldwide.

The countdown is broadcast in a one-hour TV special, The World’s Greatest Gigs, at 11.05pm tomorrow on Channel 4.

The World’s Greatest Gigs and judges comments

1. Queen, Live Aid (13th July 1985)

At the gig itself 75,000 people clapped in unison to their 20 minute set - which included classics Radio Ga-Ga, We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions.

2. Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock (18th August 1969)

Arguably the festival’s most memorable set came from Jimi Hendrix, and included his magnificent rendition of the Star Spangled Banner – somehow savage and grand at the same time, Hendrix wrestled new levels of emotion from the song and generations have never heard it quite the same way again.

3. Sex Pistols, Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall (4th June 1976)

A show organised by two Bolton Institute students Howard Trafford (Devoto) and Pete McNeish (Shelley). Less than 100 people turned up but more than 1,000 later claimed to have been there.

The show acted as a catalyst for the nascent Mancunian music scene, inspiring many to form groups that went on to alter the course of pop music history such as New Order, Buzzcocks, and The Smiths.

4. Bob Dylan, Manchester Free Trade Hall (17th May 1966)

Dylan turned his back on his acoustic roots and went electric, marking one of the most important junctures in post war popular music.

Dylan was at the peak of his powers; the finest singer songwriter poet of his generation backed by arguably the best set of musicians ever to share a stage, playing some of the most amazing music that anyone had ever heard.

5. David Bowie, Hammersmith Apollo (3rd July 1973)

The last night of the UK Ziggy Stardust tour and Bowie makes his famous final speech about “The last show we’ll ever do“, sparking screams of pain from the audience. Confusion reigns amongst fans – has Bowie actually retired from music?

6. Bob Marley, One Love Peace Concert (22nd April 1978)

Bob Marley brings the hands of Prime Minister Michael Manley and opposition leader Edward Seaga together.

The historic concert marked Marley’s triumphant return from exile and ended Jamaica’s most violent political rivalry.

7. Bruce Springsteen, Roxy (7th July 1978)

Having been in court during the years following the huge success of Born To Run, Springsteen’s return with his fourth album, Darkness On The Edge Of Town was eagerly anticipated.

The accompanying tour has been hailed as one of the greatest Rock n’ Roll shows of all time.

8. U2, Red Rocks (5th June 1983)

U2 exploited the video age and the advent of MTV. The concert in the 9000 capacity venue, located outside of Denver, showed U2 as a band on the verge of conquering the rock heartland of America, a springboard to them becoming the biggest band of the last 25 years.

9. The Rolling Stones, Hyde Park (7th May 1969)

What was supposed to be a celebratory return to the live scene, but took place two days after the death of Brian Jones. It would become one of the defining moments of the Sixties.

10. Radiohead, Glastonbury (28th June 1997)

Considered by many, including Michael Eavis, founder of the Glastonbury Festival, the finest performance in the history of the event, despite the rain and cold.

11. Rock Against Racism, Victoria Park (7th May 1977)

Rock Against Racism was set up as a response to the rise of the far-right. The gig followed a massive anti-racism march through London. The Clash shared the stage with X-Ray Spex, Tom Robinson Band and Steel Pulse and a crowd of 80,000 witnessed an explosive set that crystallised political and artistic opposition to the National Front.

12. The Who, The Isle of Wight Festival (29th August 1970)

The Who’s performance defines rock and roll – loud, nasty, angry, funny, arrogant and scary. Coming on stage at 3am, they played for nearly two hours.

13. Pink Floyd, Earls Court (17th June 1981)

Roger Waters decided to construct a physical wall between the band on stage and the audience during the show. Pink Floyd marshalled the biggest road and stage crew in the world. Those that saw The Wall shows testify to it being one of the most visually and sonically stunning stage set pieces ever presented. Earl’s Court was their final gig as a band in the UK before Live 8 in 2005.

14. James Brown, The Apollo (24th October 1962)

The recording captured an incendiary performance and it has gone down as one of the best live albums ever by one of the greatest performers ever. Brown’s performance became the template by which all other artists judged themselves - nobody came close in terms of sheer emotion, drama and intensity.

15. Oasis, Maine Road, Manchester (27th April 1996)

Crowned as Britain’s biggest band for 30 years, Oasis played to 80,000 over two nights at the home of their favourite football team.

16. The Beastie Boys, Brixton Academy (24th May 1987)

The Beastie Boys joined forces with hip-hop dons Run DMC and proved a rousing combination: the three Beastie Boys wheeling and slouching across the stage, dispatching a raft of rallying calls. The tour continued across the UK and ended in riots and an arrest – but one thing was clear – hip hop had finally arrived.

17. Johnny Cash, San Quentin (29th August 1969)

His San Quentin performance has been called the angriest, toughest, most punk rock album of all time for its emotion and social commentary.

Cash was down and out in the times preceding this gig and came back with a song, San Quentin, that epitomised America and its people while trying to initiate prison reform. The first artist to directly play for this reason.

18. Brian Wilson Smile Concert, Royal Festival Hall (20th February 2004)

Brian Wilson’s decision to make the live debut of Smile at a concert in London astounded fans around the world. The concert instantly sold out and attracted people from as far as Australia and Japan. The full majesty of Smile was debuted to a rapturous audience that included Paul McCartney and Wilson’s writing partner, Van Dyke Parkes.

19. Elton John & John Lennon, Madison Square Gardens, NYC (28th November 1974)

The pair sang duets on Whatever Gets You Through The Night; Beatles classic Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds; and I Saw Her Standing There. Not only was it a first for the two acts but was the first Lennon live appearance in years. Lennon is reported as being terrified before going on and the thunderous reception almost brought him and Elton to tears. It was also Lennon’s last ever live performance.

20. Nirvana, Reading (30th August 1992)

Rumours were spreading that Kurt had died, that he’d gone crazy, that he was sick, and in response Kurt arrived on stage in a wheelchair and dressed in a hospital gown. The show was one of the biggest highlights of the band’s career. It was Nirvana’s last ever UK appearance.

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