Lou Reed: Live at Capitol Theatre, 1984
We at Paste Magazine were saddened when rock legend and indie pioneer Lou Reed passed away three years ago at the age of 71. However, we are able to relive one of his greatest shows thanks to this excellent footage from his 1984 show at The Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey. This excellent performance gets into high gear with an energetic rendition of “Sweet Jane.” Reed then barrels along through this marathon show, consisting of 26 of some of his biggest hits throughout his career with The Velvet Underground and some of his solo material.
Some of the more recognizable tracks performed include “White Light/White Heat,” “Rock & Roll,” “Walk On The Wild Side” and many more. There are even some special guests that come into the foray near the end of the show, including the R&B girl group The Chantels and punk rocker Jim Carroll. This footage is authentication that Lou Reed was all that he was cracked up to be, and more. His guitar lick trade offs throughout the concert with Robert Quine are remarkable. In addition, Peter Wood on keyboards and accordion brings an aura to the show rarely seen in punk rock and guitar-based indie music. If you are experiencing Lou Reed’s music for the first time, this is a great jumping off point. —Ben Rosner
Bob Marley: Live at Oakland Auditorium, 1979
Rastafarian. The word reverberates through an entire auditorium with booming religiosity. When we hear someone shout, “It’s the Rastaman vibration”, we can be sure of one thing. It’s 1979, we’re in Oakland, California, and the man behind the proclamation is none other than Bob Marley. His association with the Wailers saw its beginnings almost a decade earlier, and endured several lineup changes before materializing into the vocalist group that it was in the late ‘70s. This show is part of Marley’s second-to-last tour, organized to support the group’s release of Survival.
The set begins with a laid-back performance of “Positive Vibration” as Marley tells us to trade in those petty quarrels for a life of positive vibrations. He’s all about letting go, whether that’s letting go of our toils and troubles, or releasing his grip on the guitar to dance along to the one drop, rocksteady groove of the music.
“Ambush in the Night” highlights some of the darker moments in Marley’s life, particularly an attempted assassination that took place two days prior to his Smile Jamaica concert. During the night, his house was bombarded with bullets, leaving Marley, his wife and his manager wounded. This contingency only strengthened his revolutionary hustle, however, and he defiantly recalls the ambush in front of the crowd years later. Bob Marley always reminds us to live it up, but it’s never heedless. He’s a freedom fighter whose seen some shit and this duality that becomes even more apparent in his live performances.
In 1978, Marley visited Kenya and toured several Rastafarian landmarks in Ethiopia. His travels inspired him to produce “Africa Unite”, a call-to-arms anthem for pan-African unity. In their performance of the song, the Wailers forgo the ska-heavy noise of their earlier releases for slow-cooked, syncopated accents.
Nearly a year after the Survival tour, Marley was diagnosed with cancer that was rapidly spreading throughout his body by way of a football injury. The shows of this tour are some of his very last, as he and the Wailers triumph through the final moments of his unforgettable career. Bob Marley is nestled in music history entirely within his own niche. I mean, if you’ve ever been inside a dorm room, you’re probably familiar with at least one of his adages. He is all at once an inspirational quote generator, a political prophet, a footballer on the side, and above all else, the most notable Jamaican reggae musician to date. —Mady Thuyein
The Sex Pistols: Live at Winterland, 1978
2016 marks the 40th anniversary of when punk broke stateside with the release of the Ramones’ driving, dirty, and danceable self-titled debut. Punk quickly caught wind across the waters to England with the release of the Sex Pistols’ singular studio album, 1977’s Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. Inhabiting both sides of the Atlantic, punk upheld two individual personalities between both sides—While New York punk was bored, U.K. punk was fed up. English punk was as socially aware as it was rebellious, with seminal bands such as the Sex Pistols becoming highly politicized in their rebellion. Although a few years after punk first broke in America, this video of the Sex Pistols performing in San Francisco in 1978 depicts a clear distinction between the two distinctive epicenters of the punk movement.
With unrest comes passion, as proved by the volatile performance by Johnny Rotten. Witnessing someone whip their limbs around in Rotten’s performance is unsettling in itself, but the way he sneers lyrics of boredom, anarchy, and mayhem is what makes his performance intimidating. “There aren’t enough presents, you’re gonna have to throw up better things than that,” scorns Rotten before another band member asks for a $100 bill. The Sex Pistols are not here to please, but they are captivating enough to do so naturally. And in typical punk fashion, it is not trying to be pretty. — Kurt Suchman