The 10 Most Iconic Rock Concerts of All Time

Rock Concert
Photo by Thibault Trillet / Pexels

More than the music is on display at the best concerts. They elevate whatever is happening on stage to a new level of magnificence. The best concerts take music and raise it to a whole new level, which will be remembered for years to come. Festivals, club shows, and arena shows make our list of the 10 Best Rock Concerts of All Time. They’ve all gone down in rock ‘n’ roll history as landmarks, much like the best concerts Vegas ever held. So, let’s get rocking!

  1. Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival – When The Jimi Hendrix Experience took the stage during the final hours of the three-day Monterey Pop Festival in California, they created quite a stir. The event helped bring in a new wave of rock music during the Summer of Love, as their debut album, ‘Are You Experienced,’ had just been published. Hendrix finished his act with a cover of the Troggs’ ‘Wild Thing,’ complete with his trademark guitar acrobatics.
  1. The Who at the University of Leeds – The Who sought to return to their raw roots with a live album after their 1969 rock opera Tommy. Pete Townshend despised the recordings they produced on their American trip so much that he burned them. But everything fell into place back home in England, where the band ripped through 38 songs in front of 2,000 adoring fans at the University of Leeds.
  1. The Grateful Dead at the Old Renaissance Faire Grounds – The Grateful Dead alone might be a list of legendary rock shows. The Grateful Dead, dubbed “the hardest working band in show business” for a reason, toured so frequently and extensively that there are hundreds of incredible gigs to select from. However, their performance in Veneta on August 27 stands out as one of the best.
  1. Queen at Live Aid – What can be said about Live Aid’s centerpiece performance at this point? This early evening concert was nonetheless Queen at their zenith, even if it wasn’t quite the fan-fix that Bohemian Rhapsody made it up to be.
  1. The Rolling Stones at Copacabana Beach – When the legendary band performed in front of 1.5 million fans on the famous beach in Rio De Janeiro on February 18, 2006, it was one of the largest rock shows ever. The city was already bursting at the seams with people ready to party because it was carnival week.
  1. The Beatles At Shea Stadium – The Beatles quickly became the most famous brand in the world during their prime, as evidenced by the thunderous screaming of spectators at Shea Stadium on August 15, 1965. The band took advantage of their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and made a lasting impression on American soil.
  1. Nirvana at the Reading Festival – Kurt Cobain is wheeled out to the stage to begin the event. It’s the kind of dark comedy that fans can’t get enough of. Nirvana’s performance at the Reading Festival in 1992 was pure magic, and it didn’t stop there.
  1. Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Gardens – One of the most well-known arenas in the world is Madison Square Garden. Led Zeppelin performed three sold-out gigs at MSG in 1973. The film ‘The Songs Remain the Same’ was based on these performances. Any music fan should see this movie. The rendition of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ from these gigs makes Led Zeppelin so enthralling.
  1. Bruce Springsteen at The Roxy – When Bruce Springsteen performed in Hollywood’s Roxy Theater on July 7, 1978, as part of his ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ tour, he was on his way to becoming a star. Springsteen and the E Street Band were putting on three-hour epic shows every night, and his concerts were becoming legendary. However, his best and most well-known performance was at the Roxy.
  2. The Allman Brothers at the Fillmore East – When the Allmans scheduled three nights at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East in New York in early 1971, intending to make a live album, they were still young, eager Georgia rockers. The Allmans were initially scheduled to appear on a bill with Johnny Winter. The first night, though, they came out firing, and when the place emptied after their act, they were promoted to headliner.