The Best Live Bands Ever Ranked In Order (Beatles Not Top 5)

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Good For Your Health

When someone is passionate about a band, nothing can come close to seeing them up on stage. Even with thousands of fans standing around you, it can almost feel like the band is only playing for you. An added bonus is that attending live shows can boost one’s health! Psychology of Music journal found that going to concerts can really boost a person’s happiness!

So the question is, what bands will give you the biggest dopamine boost? There are a few musicians on this list that are sadly deceased, others have already moved on from music, and others still love to tour. All these musicians share something in common: they’re considered to be some of the greatest to ever rock. Our first musician may not be with us anymore, but he rocked like the best of them from 1976 until his death in 2017.

30. Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers


Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers were still touring until Tom’s unexpected death, he was 66. The last tour the band ever did was to commemorate their 40th anniversary, with three consecutive nights playing at the Hollywood Bowl to wrap the tour up.

There they played songs that had hardly ever been played by the band live, this included “Rockin’ Around (With You).” This track held special attachment since it was track number one on their first album. They hadn’t played the song since 1983! The next musician is connected to a certain color.

29. Prince

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The Prince we remember is far from anxious, but that’s what he was when trying to promote his debut album “For You” with a crowd of a couple hundred. Four years later and he’s stealing a show performance from Michael Jackson and James Brown with his stage presence.

For 20 more years, Prince continued to ignite crowds with his sexually-charged performances. One of the most memorable Super Bowl half times was Prince performed in 2007. Prince may be royalty but nobody can beat this next musician, he is a king after all.

28. Elvis Presley

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Elvis Presley, “The King”, was definitely at the top when it came to the “Musical Monarchy”. Elvis’ first show was in 1954 and thereafter he was always touring, providing shows to millions.

Elvis’ last show was in 1997 on June 26, a mere six weeks before his death. His final song was “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” Elvis’ show “Elvis-Aloha from Hawaii” was the first to ever be shown around the world live through satellite. Like Prince, this next band incorporated purple into their theme, just in a different way.

27. Deep Purple

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Deep Purple was one of the best and loudest live performers ever. They hold the Guinness world record for being “the globe’s loudest band” for a particularly ludicrous concert in Rainbow Theatre. Three fans became unconscious during the show

Ever since they started in 1968, they’ve toured the globe doing shows with many different artists. Their last tour was in 2017 for their twentieth album, “Infinite”.

26. Eagles

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After a brief hiatus from 1980 to 1994, the band reunified and has toured ever since. When their singer and guitarist Glenn Frey passed away, their drummer was doubtful that there would be any more tours.

That said, in 2017 and in 2018 they performed at sold-out concerts with their deceased band mate’s son.

25. Foo Fighters

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Music festivals, small shows, and global tours are what the Foo Fighters love doing. Their 2008 show at Wembley Arena in London was considered by the band to be a most memorable one.

Dave Grohl recalls it fondly: “That was huge for me because we never imagined we would get to the point we could do something like that.”

24. The Allman Brothers Band

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One of the finest live performances in history was in 1971 in New York’s Fillmore East Theater, with “Whipping Post” being played for 23 minutes.

The band played at Fillmore East again three months later to give it a proper send-off on its final night open — they only stopped playing at dawn. Our next musician liked to play his right-handed classic white strat left-handed.

23. The Jimi Hendrix Experience

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Renowned guitarist and songwriter Jimi Hendrix made three albums with his band The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Monterey’s Pop Festival in 1967 was one of their greatest performances, this was the first show of their U.S. tour.

Songs like “Purple Haze” and “Hey Joe” were played during this performance, but to top it all at the end of the show Hendrix played a cover of “Wild Thing” and set his Fender Stratocaster on fire!

22. Alice Cooper

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Alice Cooper’s shows are always brought to life with his theatrics. People have used the words “Shock-rock Anti-hero” to describe him.

British fans were ecstatic when they heard Cooper decided to start touring with his original band again in 2017. Cooper doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon at 71.

21. Grateful Dead

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The Grateful Dead was one of the first U.S. bands to steadily tour. Other than taking a year-long break in 1975 and having a few tours outside the U.S., The Grateful Dead consistently toured America for 30 years — starting in 1965.

They stopped touring as a band after Jerry Garcia died, who was their singer and lead guitarist. The remaining band members still tour, both together and apart. Our next musician loved to be theatrical with the way he dressed, even if he slowed down in his later years.

20. David Bowie

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David Bowie died days after turning 69 in 2016. he enjoyed making quite the spectacle in his live shows.

In 1973, after the final song of his concert in Hammersmith Odeon, he claimed that it was “the last Ziggy Stardust show ever.” Audiences were left in suspense as to whether or not he’d ever play again. The following year Bowie did come back, wrapped in a new persona. The next group is one of the most well-known rock bands to ever exist.

19. The Beatles

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Crowds’ reactions to The Beatles performing were almost as loud as their own music. The band played two shows in Texas in 1965 and the performance was unforgettable. Rolling Stone wrote in an article: “It sounds like the Beatles are drenched in sweat, and loving it,”

In 1966, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, The Beatles played another iconic show, while the band members were walking off the stage, John Lennon decided to play some parts of “In My Life” on guitar.

18. Pearl Jam

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In 1990, a band going by the name Mookie Blaylock played their first live show at the Off Ramp Cafe in Seattle with 300 in the audience. Fast-forward 30 years and they go by a different name – Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam often play fully-booked concerts in some of the greatest venues.

They had to postpone a show after their lead singer Eddie Vedder couldn’t sing. They made it up to the fans by giving them a three-hour show to wrap up the European portion of their World tour.

17. Guns N’ Roses

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After breaking up, many asked Axl Rose, the bands’ singer, if they would ever get back together. Axl Rose answered with the words: “Not In This Lifetime”, so when they reunited in 2016 they aptly had a “Not In This Lifetime” tour.

In their tour, they played in the U.K. for the first time in 24 years. They added a cover of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” after the tragic death of its singer, Chris Cornell.

16. Kiss

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Kiss just concluded their last tour, named “End of the Road.” this commemorates the 45-years the band has been active for. They’ve said this before, so we’ll see if they come back or not.

Their rhythm guitarist Pual Stanley in 2002 said: “People change their minds, and in this case that goes along with being a living, thinking person. What one says one day with total commitment may at another time turn out not to be so,” This quote if from when they announced they were done making music. As crazy as Kiss seemed when they donned their makeup, they never went so far as to flash the crowd, unlike our next musician on the list.

15. The Doors

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In 1969, The Doors played at Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami. What made this so memorable wasn’t their passion during “Break On Through” or “Light My Fire”.

What makes the show so memorable was that night the lead singer Jim Morrison began shouting at the crowd, this ended with police standing in formation at the front row. Morrison then proceeded to show the crowd his genitals. After 4 days he was arrested, but he passed away before further action was taken.

14. Rush

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Rush hasn’t toured or done any shows since their last tour in 2015. Once their drummer Neil Peart left the group it’s a safe bet that they won’t tour as a complete band again.

The rest of the band, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson said they aren’t against playing more concerts. This means fans are left to wonder after 40 years of Rush.

13. Van Halen

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One of the most profitable bands to ever come out of the 1970s, Van Halen was incarnated by the Van Halen brothers, Alex and Eddie.

Their last tour concluded in 2015 where they played many nostalgic songs of their past like “Light Up The Sky” and “Feel Your Love Tonight.” Nobody knows if they’ll start up another tour or not.

12. Aerosmith


Aerosmith had their last tour in 2017, they called it the “Aerovederci Baby” tour. They went to 15 different countries in only 3 months. They had one final performance at the Download Festival.

Steven Tyler and Joe Perry both were in a news sketch where the lead singer asks his band member if the band is really gone for good. Perry then replied simply with “Who knows?”

11. Iron Maiden

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Iron Maiden embarked on one of the biggest tours from 1984 to 1985. This promoted “Powerslave” their then-latest album. Iron Maiden has left it’s mark with their many unique performances.

The band has recreated a trench from the WW1, made a mask from paper-mâché that could shoot fake blood. They’ve also made futuristic art with strobe lights and flames.

10. U2

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“Zoo TV,” U2’s first tour of the ’90s, delivered a sophisticated, polished show made to match their groundbreaking smash-hit 1991 album “Achtung Baby.” It was at this time that singer Bono adopted an alter ego he called the Fly, and he rarely broke character throughout the entire tour.

In 2018, Bono devastated fans by ending the last show of the “Experience + Innocence” tour with the cryptic statement, “We’ve been on the road for quite some time, just going on 40 years, and these last four years have been really something very special for us. We’re going away now.”

9. Jimi Hendrix

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One of Hendrix’s most memorable performances was at Woodstock in 1969, where he played an uninterrupted set that was one of the longest of his career — almost two hours.

The final medley included the national anthem, “Star-Spangled Banner.” By this time, Hendrix had parted ways with his band The Jimi Hendrix Experience, so he was joined by a group he put together called Gypsy Suns and Rainbows.

8. Bruce Springsteen

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Springsteen’s live performances are known for their off-the-scale energy — and his audiences need plenty of stamina, too. Not all of his shows run as long as his show in Helsinki, Finland, on July 31, 2012 (just over four hours), but you definitely get your money’s worth.

Springsteen sees his shows as true collaborations between him and his audience, and he tends to take requests and frequently ditch the setlist in favor of impromptu covers.

7. Metallica

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Metallica made rock history when they played at Moscow’s Tushino Airfield on Sept. 28, 1991, as part of Monster of Rock ’91. It was supposedly the first free show to feature international rock stars in Russia.

It also broke a personal record for the band; more than a million people turned up to see them play, making it their highest-attended concert to date.

6. The Rolling Stones


The Stones stopped touring in 2007 but got back on the road in 2012 with their “50 & Counting” tour to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary — and 50 years with members of the original line-up (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood), which is no mean feat in itself.

Guests included Mary J. Blige, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Lady Gaga, Florence Welch, and Bruce Springsteen. Mick Taylor, who was a member of the Rolling Stones from 1969 to 1974, also made appearances throughout the tour.

5. AC/DC

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Australian rock band AC/DC started touring in the mid-1970s and continue to perform today, with Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose on board (he replaced Brian Johnson in 2016). One of their biggest tours was the 20-month “Black Ice” tour, which saw them return to Argentina for the first time in 13 years. Three dates in Buenos Aires formed the basis of their concert movie, “AC/DC: Live at the River Plate.”

“Those fans were as crazy as they’ve ever been,” said guitarist Angus Young of the Argentinian audiences.

4. The Who

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British rockers The Who have toured regularly since the early 1960s, but one gig, in particular, stands out for lead guitarist Pete Townshend: the band’s 1970 Valentine’s Day show at the University of Leeds.

In front of 2,000 fans, the band played a staggering 38 songs, including a version of “My Generation” that lasted for almost 15 minutes. According to Townshend, it was “the greatest audience we’ve ever played to.”

3. Pink Floyd

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One of Pink Floyd’s most innovative — and memorable — tours followed the release of their ambitious 1979 album “The Wall.” They even built an actual wall in the first half of each show, and spent most of the second half behind it, hidden from the audience. The audience could have done with hard hats; in a dramatic conclusion to the show, the wall fell down.

“The first couple of bricks would terrify people in the front rows,” revealed guitarist David Gilmour. “The audience would think they were going to be killed.”

2. Led Zeppelin

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Led Zeppelin frequently sold-out arenas and stadiums around the world during the 1960s and ’70s. In the U.S., they played at Madison Square Garden more than any other venue.

Their three-night stint at the Garden in July 1973 eventually became a best-selling feature-length film and soundtrack called “The Song Remains the Same,” featuring fan favorites “Black Dog,” “The Ocean” and “Misty Mountain Hop.”

1. Queen

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Since the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991, Queen’s remaining members Brian May and Roger Taylor (John Deacon left the band in 1997) have toured with vocalists Paul Rodgers (2004 to 2009) and Adam Lambert (from 2011).

Of course, there’s only one Freddie Mercury, but Lambert has impressed fans and critics alike for embracing his role without trying to replace the original frontman. Notably, Lambert’s first American Idol audition — he was runner-up on the show’s eighth season — was with “Bohemian Rhapsody.”