A baker’s dozen live songs from when social distancing was the last thing on our minds. To make you (or, at least, me) smile, and look forward to a concert, someday.
13. Foo Fighters – Everlong
The last eight minutes of Letterman.
12. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Let The Day Begin
Leah Shapiro’s percussion, Peter Hayes’ swag and Robert Been channeling his father. In an old Paris theater. With cinematography. That’s gonna be good.
11. Catfish And The Bottlemen – Soundcheck
Purportedly, the first time the song was performed live. Watch and see if you believe it.
10. Bruce Springsteen - Growin Up
Skip Dancing in the Dark with the cheesy pulling the pre-famous Ms. Cox onstage, which can only be appreciated as a paean to the girl next store, and skip the Born To Run official video with the mix of wives, and go straight to heartwarming – pulling a teenager onstage to sing Growin Up.
9. Gaslight Anthem – 59 Sound
Or, watch Brian Fallon invite the ol’ man himself onstage to sing about dying young and cool.
8. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – Medicine
This is here just because of the moment. Checked into a hotel in Des Moines late one night and turned on the television as this song was just revving up. A few minutes of Grace Potter is worse than a double espresso if you’re trying to get to sleep. Might be the only cool thing that ever happened during Leno's tenure.
7. Sturgill Simpson – Call To Arms
Speaking of cool, other than The Replacements getting banned for life, the best performance ever on SNL.
6. Go Gos – Head Over Heels
If you’re still with me, know that this may all just be a ruse to hide in plain view my decades-long crush on Jane Wiedlin. Oops, I said it.
5. The Regrettes – Soft Shock
Or my admiration for The Regrettes, this one featuring excellent shoes and Max with his mad drum skills.
4. Rhett Miller – Fireflies
There’s a bunch of these audience duets available, but this one with a 15 year old (it says 13, but she says she’s 15) is especially charming.
3. Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place
Band kids are the best. In this case, the Berklee Pop String Ensemble.
2. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Hope The High Road
The one I really like (on The Late Show, where he winks at Amanda) isn’t available anymore, but this one is still great. Somehow, I’m less lonely when I watch Jason and Amanda onstage (if you don’t know, they’re not just married, she’s his savior), and smile like a fool when their daughter - Mercy - briefly appears.
TV On The Radio - Wolf Like Me
There are better sounding and much more professionally videoed versions of this song (see: Letterman) but this one, videoed by someone in the crowd, captures of the essense being in a small room with a great band, for a song that'll never be done exactly the same again.
Florence + the Machine – Dog Days Are Over
This is straight up amazing, with Florence - as a vision of Mother Nature herself – leading the crowd in an anthem of hope.
and the one that breaks your heart
Dolores O'Riordan - Zombie
The heart and soul of The Cranberries, taken much too soon