Top 10 Best Stage Shows

Finest live shows in rock are here, as voted by UG users.

Ultimate Guitar

This week's traditional Wednesday Question saw you guys debating on the matter of the finest stage show in the rock genre. Rounding up your votes was as fun as always, check out the resulting list below.

A brief note before the Top 10 though - the vote was specifically about live shows, not about live bands, hence only concerts were included on the list.

10. Devin Townsend - 'The Retinal Circus'

Recorded in 2013 at the Roundhouse in London, UK, Hevy Devy's recent release gets to kick off the list. A special one-night-only show celebrating 20 years of Townsend's musical endeavors, the concert was definitely a special night for the versatile musician.

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9. Rob Zombie - Rockstar Mayhem 2013

Mr. Rob always knows how to put on a great show, ranging from stage antics, effects and quality musicianship. For this week's list, check out Zombie's Rockstar Mayhem 2013 performance.

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8. AC/DC - Live in Donington 1991

As you guys have pointed out, "The cannons, hell's bell, giant inflatable Rosie and inflatable Angus" turned AC/DC's Donington 1991 show into one of all-time classics.

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7. Nine Inch Nails - Woodstock 1994

With "The Downward Spiral" just released, Trent Reznor and co. captured their power with an amazing Woodstock '94 performance.

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6. Tool - Live in New Orleans 2010

It's hard not to mention Tool when discussing amazing concerts. The music, the vibe and atmosphere, top-notch musicianship, it's all there. Check out the band's New Orleans show from 2010 below.

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5. Alice Cooper - Live in San Diego 1979

Captured during Alice's "Madhouse Rock" tour, the San Diego show from 1979 saw the shock rocker delivering that gory, horror rock vibe he helped pioneer and put on the map.

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4. Muse - Live at Rome Olympic Stadium 2013

Getting us closer to the Top 3, Muse have dropped by with their last year's concert record from Rome.

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3. Iron Maiden - 'Flight 666'

Based on your votes, any Maiden show is good enough to make the list. Therefore, check out "Flight 666," an epic DVD encompassing the first leg of 2008's "Somewhere Back in Time" world tour.

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2. Rammstein - 'Live Aus Berlin'

If you're looking for a heavy rock show pumped up to the max, go and see Rammstein, it's really that simple.

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1. Pink Floyd - 'The Wall' Show

No. 1 spot for arguably a No. 1 band - Pink Floyd and "The Wall."

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141 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Honorable mentions? U2 360 tour Queen: Live at Wembley The Who: Who's Next Tour Jimi Hendrix Live at Woodstock
    As amazing as Hendrix was, the bongo player stole the show on that one...
    That ****ing guy, lol. I lost it when he tried to set up his kit right next to Jimi and had to be shooed back.
    I think some people forgot that this is best stage show, not best live performance. Big difference. So if you're wondering why Zeppelin, Springsteen etc aren't on here it's because we're talking stage show.
    Floyd Phoenix
    Waters' solo tours were better than the 1980 shows to be honest (thanks to advances in technology and the fact that the footage recorded is way better)... And also I think the question wasn't worded that well for the list oyu guys have made, but decent list nonetheless...
    Devin Townsend has finally made it onto one of these lists! Too many people don't know about him. The Retinal Circus was an insane live show!
    I personally thought that Muse's 2nd Law Arena stage shows were better than the Rome show...only because it was setup and broken down every day. ..that floating pyramid setup was amazing!
    KISS should be up there, I'm sorry, but they should. There's no questioning that they put on the biggest rock show in the world, but of course, everyone refrained from voting them just because it's KISS.
    Please. There are at least 20 bands that could go here before Kiss.
    and 19 out of those 20 would cite KISS as the gold standard for live rock shows. Please.
    HA! Really? I doubt U2 would cite Kiss as an influence, REAAAALLY doubt Hendrix and Queen would cite Kiss as an influence. BITCH PLEASE, let the butthurt KISS fans start the shooting, Most OVERATED band ever.
    Show a bit of maturity, please. Also, their show is certainly not overrated, they hold nothing back. This list isn't about the music.
    Exactly. KISS is influenced alot by glam rock and besides their amazing songs (which is irrelevant at this discussion) they give a perfect show. Consider the fact that their performance was unique at the times. They stepped up the game of "show" of rock. They must be in this list, if not at the top.
    AMAZING SONGS? oh my god... kid, have you heard of Protest the Hero, Periphery, Between The Buried And Me? Those ARE Bands
    Technical skill has nothing to do with amazing songs. I love Protest The Hero and I love KISS, and I'll listen to them both over and over but for completely different reasons.
    I accidentally downvoted you. Not my intention but I had to react quickly to such an excellent comment! Killer shows without having to be show-y (if that makes sense).
    U2 360 has the largest stage in touring history (120 trucks), then Rolling Stones. Each had at least 3 stages hopping all over the world. Stadium-caliber touring bands.
    I'm surprised performers like Metallica or Springsteen didn't pop up on the list somewhere.
    Especially in place of shitbands like Muse or Rob Zombie.
    Muse is one of the most creative bands out there today, whether you like them or not. That is an objective statement. Rob Zombie... is Rob Zombie.
    Muse aren't very creative... You should broaden your music tastes to something other than what is played on radio. - Sorry.
    You should read up on a thing called subjectivity. And how it relates to literally all music ever made.
    There it is… someone defending something shitty using the subjectivity argument.
    Sorry we forgot allmightybiff's opinion was always objective because you are omnipotent.
    >Muse >Not creative My sides. Stop trying to be edgy. It's OK not to like something, but don't pretend you're some kind of connoisseur because you don't.
    yeah, nothing like writing a symphony, or spanning a few genres on an album to show lack of creativity. if ya dont like something, ya dont like it, no need to shitbomb it for this reason though.
    Exactly. Anybody who claims Muse isn't creative or original clearly has never bothered listening. Even if you don't like it, even if you absolutely hate every second of it, the fact that it's creative and original is not a matter of opinion. It's a fact. If you disagree, you are wrong.
    You should hear the Muse songs that aren't on the radio. They are easily among the most creative and talented bands in the world. You just don't like it. And that's okay. But it doesn't mean they're not creative.
    Oh, I hear a Little, jealous Metallica-Teen...
    Justice tour was cool in 1988 as far as the stage goes , I was a little jealous Metallica-Teen then . Lets face it , if Rob Zombie didn't bother with visuals nobody would give a **** about him . As for Muse .....
    I saw Muse in Cincinnati before Absolution came out, before they were famous in the US, in a very small venue with no more than 40 people there and they played like there were 10,000 people watching them. Still the best show I've ever been to.
    Yea… the thing about Muse is that they are incredibly watered down… They flat out rip off a few bands with a certain sound, take that sound and simplify it. Plus, they're just so corny… mmmmmadmadmad…. baby talk.
    might as well just say all music sounds like something else while we're at it lads. Couldn't you find a better example? these songs ain't that similar...
    They're hit and miss. I will continue to defend Black Holes as their crowning achievement and also a great album in general. It sounds the least like a Radiohead knockoff to me. Great guitar work.
    90% of indie rock after 2000 sounds infinitely more like Radiohead-ish than everything Muse have done after Origin. And for some reason, it's a compliment to the former and an insult to the latter.
    Can't believe I never spotted the similarity. I've literally listened to Hail to the Thief a hundred times and been force-fed Muse on the radio.... Thanks!
    Tried to resurrect your comment but there are 30+ other negative opinions.
    Floyd Phoenix
    They're obviously both killer live acts, but in terms of stage show Springsteen doesn't even bother with visuals and Metallica don't always, so I guess that's why they're not there...
    Props for this listing including Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie!! Clearly The Wall was #1 (and rightfully so) but the stage shows were taken to another level with Alice and Zombie just took what Alice did and grew off of it.
    Surprised no one voted for Slipknot. I know they aren't everyone's cup of tea, but boy did they go all out live.
    Scott O
    The Who and U2 make every list of best live performances. Except this one I guess.
    Marilyn Manson deserves an honorable mention. His shows in the late 90s were insane
    I know Kiss gets a lot of hate here on UG (and lately a lot of it is deserved) but you have to admit they have great stage show, especially when you look what they were doing back in 70s.
    Nine Inch Nails was great on With Teeth and Year Zero. Can't wait to see them again next month.
    Beastie Boys in Glasgow in 1999. Non stop energy, songs transition and stop on a dime, almost every beat is chopped up in some way, just an amazing show.
    I'd definitely put Rush's Clockwork Angels tour high on my list. The string ensemble backing the band on stage was amazing.
    I wasn't aware we were picking a bands show on a certain date I thought it was voting for a band that has the best live show through out their career... I guess I didn't read the question correctly
    How are Through the Never and Cunning Stunts not on the list? I've seen Rob Zombie live and while it was an amazing show, Metallica put on a much better show for Through the Never.
    Not really a big fan of Slipknot and U2 , but they should have made the list. Their shows are something else
    And of course everyone forgets about the legends Blue Öyster Cult. They were first band to have laser shows + a huge ass Godzilla on the stage. Potato video quality tho (this video doesn't feature Godzilla):
    YES!!! NIN AND MUSE! I can never get enough of watching/listening to NIN's Woodstock show, and my favourite show of Muse is their Wembley performance in 2007
    Oh damn, I was totally at the Tool show in New Orleans. It was amazing for sure!
    GWAR need to be on this list, their music isn't that great, but their stage show is incrdedible. I saw them at Bloodstock a few years back, and given they were a middle of the day act, their stage show was flawless and put me in a great mood for the rest of the evening. It was the standout performance of a festival that had Opeth, Gojira, DTP, Meshuggah, Bloodbath, Korpiklaani and Ensiferum in the lineup...
    Lol at U2 not on here. They are the industry standard for stage design, for probably the last 20 years
    They are one of the leading bands in live innovation. Still waiting for their "audio lights" to be used.
    This list is bunk. I am no longer a fan but KISS started the whole concept of a stage show bigger than the band itself.
    I got to 7:34 of Rammstein and said thats enough of that shit! The costumes and stage effects were alright its just that the repetitious music sucks.
    Sevenfold's "Hail to the King" tour should've been on this list. I know this site is hit or miss with them, but that stage setup is absolutely unreal.
    Not enough tweens in guyliner read this website for them to have made it.
    Memory In Death
    Happy to see NIN in there. That show was amazing. The Wall is no doubt the best though. One of my favorites though, is Linkin Park at Rock am Ring 2004. That was some amazing shit.
    Way Cool JR.
    Pink Floyd's The Division Bell tour was far, far better than The Wall when it comes to a stage show. Nothing I ever seen before it or after has come close to topping it. They turned the entire arena into a stage for crying out loud, and had 360 degree surround sound setup around the top of the entire arena.
    WTF! give me a good reason why King Diamond isn't on this list! SRSLY!
    What kind of list is this? I'd only 5 of those are worthy. Have worked on some of those too. Pink Floyd's Pulse Tour Trans-Siberian Orchestra Roger Waters Dark Side of the Moon Tour U2...all of their tours! Queen live in Wembley RHCP live @ Slane Cirque du Soleil (would this count?) Rolling Stones tours?
    Not a bad list. I'd add that outdoor live show by Sigur Ros that the video for Olsen Olsen is filmed at (really beautiful atmosphere), RHCP at the castle and Fooies Skin And Bones or live in Sydney 2011...but overall a really good list. NIN at woodstock is still one of my fave videos (so pissed off that my DNA was a year off being developed at that stage)