Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 31 May 2020

The best concerts to watch online: From Beyonce and Taylor Swift to James Brown and Nina Simone

Stay home and dance along to hundreds of hours of live music

Beyonce on stage at Coachella in 2018; the performance formed the bulk of her Netflix film ‘Homecoming’. Getty Images
Beyonce on stage at Coachella in 2018; the performance formed the bulk of her Netflix film ‘Homecoming’. Getty Images

Music lovers have been spoilt for choice during these trying times.

While the coronavirus has halted the live music industry for the summer, with events like Coachella and Glastonbury on ice, an increasing number of artists and organisations have been treating fans to hours of music, ranging from new albums and mixtapes to online concerts.

Next to step up to the plate are some of the world's leading festivals and music-streaming apps. Over the past few days, both the Montreux Jazz Festival and Austin City Limits threw open their archives to allow fans to enjoy more than 100 hours of performances by musical greats past and present.

This comes on top of Metallica’s recent initiative to turn Monday into fans' favourite day of the week by dropping previously recorded concerts weekly.

Could this motivate other bands and festivals to open the vaults? Will we see Glastonbury, which was due to celebrate its 50th anniversary in June, and the also-cancelled Coachella finally showcase some of their tightly guarded concert material? Will big-name acts such as The Rolling Stones, Eminem and Rihanna, who are known to record their shows, also bless fans with unreleased footage?

Let us all hope so, but in the meantime, there is plenty to see and hear over the upcoming weeks. Here are six of the best sites where you can watch concerts online.

1. Log on to Stingray: the Netflix of concerts

Until Saturday, April 18, the Canadian music site is offering a free one-month subscription to three of its popular apps. Stingray Qello is dedicated to pop music concerts spanning the past 50 years. It is here you will find popular and hidden concert gems from a wide variety of artists, ranging from Taylor Swift and Beyonce to classic gigs by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Ella Fitzgerald. It also boasts an impressive documentary list with more than 200 titles spanning genres ranging from pop to mambo. Stingray Classica offers the same thrills to fans of classical music, while Stingray Karaoke has more than 50,000 songs to sing along to. You can download Stingray Qello and Stringray Karaoke and gain immediate access to selected titles. When it comes to Stingray Classica, download the app and enter the gift code “free view".

2. Watch James Brown and Nina Simone electrify the Montreux Jazz Festival

The much-loved Swiss festival has also opened its archives to allow fans to watch more than 50 full sets from acts from the past 30 years. They include legendary shows by jazz great Nina Simone (1976), James Brown (1981), Johnny Cash (1994) and a particularly rowdy 2007 set by hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan. To access all that great music and more, visit the festival website.

3. See Sam Smith and Herbie Hancock do their thing at Austin City Limits

The longest-running American TV music series has made its present season, in addition to its first two seasons, free to watch. First aired in 1976, the influential series offers viewers a chance to savour an eclectic array of artists. Among the shows free to stream are electrifying sets by jazz great Herbie Hancock, British soul man Sam Smith and rap duo Run The Jewels. For more information click here.

4. Watch Beyonce slay on Netflix

The streaming giant offers more than films and bingeworthy series. Over the years Netflix has been amassing a growing and impressive array of concert films ranging from Beyonce’s blockbuster 2018 Coachella set in Homecoming to last year's Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour, as well as Bruce Springsteen's intimate New York concert, Springsteen on Broadway.

5. Metallica make Monday our favourite day of the week

Start your week in head-banging fashion as the legendary metal group drop a previously recorded concert weekly. Available to stream on the band's Facebook and YouTube pages, Metallica will dip into their extensive archive to stream shows from their four-decade history. The series began last week in suitably epic fashion when Metallica posted their 2019 show at Ireland's mammoth Slane Castle. With the band playing far and wide, as well as being renowned for having their own recording team, let's hope they surprise the region by posting any of their two Abu Dhabi Du Arena shows in 2011 and 2013.

6. See your favourite Ultra and Tomorrowland sets on YouTube

Both EDM festivals have been ahead of the curve when it comes to giving fans what they want online. In fact, both the Miami and Belgium festivals, respectively, have used their superbly shot footage as a major marketing tool in order to lure fans to the event. A quick scan through YouTube and you will find dozens of fiery sets by leading DJs such as David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren and Martin Garrix.

Updated: March 29, 2020 04:31 PM

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