To support the charity Playing for Change, musicians Robbie Robertson, Ringo Starr, joined amazingly talented artists from around the globe for a performance of The Band’s 1968 classic The Weight. Enjoy more from their Songs Around the World series here. (Thanks Jonathan!)
THE BEST Concerts
“We are isolating, but we are not isolated.” Musicians and performers around the globe continue to provide us with great bare-bones performances during the COVID-19 lockdown. Listen and enjoy as the members of Barenaked Ladies perform their 2000 hit “Pinch Me” from the comfort of their individual living rooms.
Shortly before the lockdowns began, Chris Robinson and his brother Rich dropped by the NPR offices to perform three of their soul-stirring 1990s tunes stripped down to their essence, including their hits “She Talks to Angels” and “Jealous Again,” along with a lesser-known track, “Wiser Time.”
(PG-13: Language) Alex O’Connor aka Rex Orange County performs a mini-concert of four soulful and heartfelt tunes, bringing a touch of much needed light into these dark days. We love how he embraces the vibe of 1970s adult contemporary music, but still makes it his own.
Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland dropped by the NPR offices with a nine-member gospel choir, who provided backing vocals for soulful performances of “Cry Cry Cry,” “Viva La Vida,” “Broken,” a cover of Prince’s “1999,” and their 2019 track “Champion of the World.”
German power metal band Rammstein is known for their over-the-top stage shows. In this time-lapse clip, watch as a crew spends more than 60 hours transforming an empty football field in Dresden into a complete concert venue, with a massive stage rigged with speaker stacks, lights, pyrotechnics, and musical instruments.
Christmas arrived early in October when Los Lobos released Llegó Navidad. For a special holiday edition of NPR’s Tiny Desk, the beloved group performed four festive tunes: “Dónde Está Santa Claus,” Freddy Fender’s “It’s Christmas Time In Texas,” the record’s title track, and Llegó Navidad’s sole original, “Christmas and You.”
The always amazing Sheryl Crow and her ensemble stopped by NPR Music’s studios to perform a true mini concert, playing seven tunes, including classics like All I Wanna Do, A Change Would Do You Good, and If It Makes You Happy, along with tracks off of her collaborative album Threads.
Burning Man, Lollapalooza, and Coachella owe their existence to a series of 1980s guerrilla punk rock events in the California desert. Stuart Swezey’s documentary combines interviews of punk and post-punk luminaries with performances by Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Perry Farrell, and more. Drops 9/13/19.
Watch and listen in awe as musician Maurice Steger uses every last little bit of breath in his lungs to crank through Antonio Vivaldi’s extensive and at times frenetic Recorder Concerto RV 443 during a performance with the Cappella Gabetta at the Hochrhein Musikfestival.
Famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma lights up the NPR offices with a moving solo performance, playing three pieces from J.S. Bach, Prelude (from Suite No. 1), Sarabande (from Suite No. 6), and Gigue (from Suite No. 3), regaling us with a story about why each piece is meaningful to him.
(PG-13: Language) ’90s alt-rock sensation The Breeders return to the lineup that gave them hits like Cannonball and Divine Hammer. This three song set offers a stripped down and fuzzed-out mix of folk and garage rock, including two from their new album All Nerve.
He’s turning into a creepy uncle, but nothing can change the fact that Billy Corgan and The Smashing Pumpkins helped define alternative rock. He recently dropped by NPR Music’s office to perform Tonight, Tonight and two songs from his new solo album, Ogilala.
There are lots of big, well-known festivals around the country, but if you’re looking for something a bit more off the beaten path, check out Rides and Drives‘ feature, which catalogs eight wonderful music and arts gatherings which are well worth a road trip.
“This song is called ‘You Never Loved Me’ — it’s another extremely cheerful, optimistic number,” Aimee Mann offers up four tracks from her album Mental Illness on NPR’s consistently excellent concert series, accompanied by Jonathan Coulton, Paul Bryan & Jamie Edwards.
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