Top 10 Legendary 60s Gigs
The cliché goes that if you remember the 60s then you weren’t really there, but what we can be certain of is that these Top 10 60s Gigs not only took place, but all played a part in defining the decade often referred to as rock and pop’s “golden age”.
James Brown – Apollo Theatre, Harlem, New York, 1962
Soul master extraordinaire James Brown and his band The Blue Flames were on fire as a live act, but his label King felt a live recording with no new songs would not be viable. They relented in the end and the magnificent Live At The Apollo captured for posterity a trailblazing artist and band at the peak of their powers.
Jerry Lee Lewis – Star Club, Hamburg, 1964
Also thankfully captured on vinyl (Live At The Star Club), this stunning show at The Beatles’ od stamping ground found The Killer blazing through perennial hits such as ‘Great Balls Of Fire’ and ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On’ with a manic intensity.
Bob Dylan – Newport Folk Festival, July 1965
This much-vaunted festival show where Dylan dared to “go electric” much to the disgust of the folk purists who greeted his full-band performance with bitter disdain and a hailstorm of boos. One of the most controversial and oft-discussed shows in 60s gigs history.
Velvet Underground And Nico – The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, 1966
Year ahead of its time, this multimedia show exhibited the work of Andy Warhol, plus performance art and live sets from the (then obscure) Velvet Underground And Nico in different US venues in 1966 and early 67.
Jimi Hendrix Experience – Monterey Festival, California, June 1967
Arguably the first major rock festival, Monterey featured The Byrds, The Who, Otis Redding and also a legendary (and literally) incendiary set from the Jimi Hendrix Experience where Jimi set his guitar alight during ‘Wild Thing’.
Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison, California, January 1968
Supported by June Carter, Carl Perkins and The Tennessee Three, Johnny Cash played two shows at this notorious maximum state prison. It was recorded and the highlights can be heard in all their rowdy glory on the live album At Folsom Prison.
The Doors – The Roundhouse, London, September 1968
The Doors only played in London over two nights in September 1968. Jim Morrison was, however, at his hypnotic best and the highlights can be seen on The Doors Are Open documentary.
The Beatles – Rooftop Of Apple Offices, London, January 1969
The Beatles stopped touring in August 1966, but made one last live hurrah with this remarkable, impromptu set (a sort of proto guerrilla gig) wherein they aired material from their Let It Be album before being stopped by the police.
The Who – Woodstock Festival, New York, August 1969
Perhaps the Daddy of all rock festivals, Woodstock featured Jimi Hendrix’s legendary rendition of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ but also a superlative performance from The Who, whose set included most of their rock opera Tommy.
The Rolling Stones – Hyde Park, London, July 1969
The Stones In The Park. The free outdoor festival headlined by the Rolling Stones in front of between 250,000 and 500,000 fans, depending on who you believe. Their first appearance in 2 years and debuting new guitarist Mick Taylor, the gig came just two days after the death of Brian Jones. It was one of those gigs that way more than 500,000 people have said they were there!
Do you have any other legendary 60s gigs that you feel we have left out? Let us know below and start the debate!
June 19, 2017 at 7:27 pm
I’d pick The Stones at Altamont instead of Hyde Park.
November 23, 2017 at 8:13 pm
June 19, 2017 at 7:33 pm
Grateful Dead – Haight Street 03.03.1968
Also maybe Dylans Manchester 1966 gig..
June 19, 2017 at 8:15 pm
Zeppelin, first ever US appearance, December, 1968 at the Story in Demver, Co. Vanilla Fudge headlined, Spirit with Randy California had second billing but Zep, unknown to most of the American public, as a last minute replacement opening act, stole the show.
June 19, 2017 at 9:53 pm
Jimi and his Band of Gypsies concert.
June 19, 2017 at 11:07 pm
The Doors were blown of stage by Jefferson Airplane, saw the Stones at Hyde Park not there best, There best music was when Brian Jones was in the band.
June 20, 2017 at 1:16 am
Cream, 1968 at the Sales Pavilion Annex. Three local acts opened for them and they knocked my heart right up into my throat with their volume. (My first ever Concert). A few weeks later we had Led Zeppelin on their first North American tour and we were front and center as they tour up the Edmonton Gardens stage.
June 20, 2017 at 1:43 am
SANTANA at WOOSTOCK 1969
June 20, 2017 at 7:04 am
Mark S.: Great suggestion! I was there and still have the snapshot I took of that show. The performance was recorded but never released until two months ago on vinyl, which I bought the first day of issue.
June 20, 2017 at 10:37 am
Alllman Bros 1971 Fillmore East
October 14, 2017 at 5:18 pm
They said 60s
June 20, 2017 at 5:13 pm
Rainbow Bridge ’68 – ’70
Santa Monica 1972
June 20, 2017 at 6:04 pm
California Jam, Ontario Motor Speedway, April 1974: Eagles, Seals and Crofts, Rare Earth, Earth Wind and Fire, Black Oak Arkansas, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Emerson Lake and Palmer. All in ONE DAY!! Epic!
October 14, 2017 at 5:20 pm
Newport Festival Northridge Ca 1969
December 13, 2017 at 7:54 pm
Me Too ! Hendrix was a BIG surprise that weekend…Devonshire downs 1969
November 24, 2017 at 2:39 am
Uhh that was in the 70s not the 6s
November 24, 2017 at 2:45 am
June 20, 2017 at 8:17 pm
The Doors 1967 New Haven Arena Nw Haven CT The night Jim got arrested
June 21, 2017 at 10:22 am
1973.12.14 – Mott The Hoople, Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK. Queen were supporting (they never supported anyone again). Mott ran overtime and the fire curtain descended ominously as they played. The three front line guys ducked under the curtain, strode forward and kept playing. The pianist (me) shoved the grand piano under the approaching curtain, stopping its descent. The crowd surged forward and tried to mob the stage. Meanwhile, Jagger and Bowie had been dancing arm-in-arm in the wings. Wonderful, unforgettable chaos!
October 14, 2017 at 5:22 pm
They said 60s
June 21, 2017 at 10:29 am
Of course the Mott gig I just wrote about was in ’74, but you know what, it was one long brilliant blazing blur from about ’66 to ’76 as far as I was concerned. The 60’s didn’t stop on 1969.12.31! 😉
June 28, 2017 at 7:05 pm
The Grateful Dead Fillmore West 2/27/69.
June 28, 2017 at 10:44 pm
Great comment, Morgan Fisher!
Mott The Hoople was a BIG favorite band of mine, but, sorry to say, I newer saw Mott live.
But Youtube clips showes how great you were!
June 28, 2017 at 10:50 pm
As a then young Swede, I idn’t see any of these 10 Gigs.
But if I could pick one, it would be The Beatles roof concert, without a doubt!!!
September 19, 2017 at 8:14 pm
SPAC summer of 1973 I believe, Billy Joel was the opening act of a 4 group concert of Captain Hook, Quicksilver and some other band of whom I’ve forgotten. I don’t think anyone at that time knew exactly who Billy Joel was but man my impression was this guy is pretty darn good. Also that Queen / Mott 1974 concert I saw at the Uris theatre in NYC was outstanding. Did not think anyone could outdo Queen that night but boy was I wrong, Mott was mesmerizing.
September 19, 2017 at 11:25 pm
Mothers of Invention, Mothers Day, 1970, Auditorium Theater, Chicago.
December 15, 2017 at 5:59 am
September 23, 2017 at 12:51 am
If the police had only known this would be the LAST time the Beatles ever played together, in public, they shoulda/woulda let them play for as long as they WANTED to play.
October 14, 2017 at 5:24 pm
They said 60s not 70s
November 23, 2017 at 8:14 pm
Good work, Phil.
October 14, 2017 at 5:35 pm
Blind Faith also at Hyde Park with Ritchie Havens. Being a long time Stones fan I thought they were outshone by King Crimson at Hyde Park
October 14, 2017 at 5:47 pm
The first Texxas jam, both the 1982 and 1983 US Festivals, Woodstock, Watkins Glen…….
October 14, 2017 at 5:48 pm
ohhh 60’s sorry forget I said anything then …
October 14, 2017 at 8:06 pm
Glad I wasn’t at Johnny Cash.LOL
November 24, 2017 at 8:41 am
Blind Faith at Hyde Park. I was just leaving school at 16 and it was my first big concert. My boyfriend took me up on the train.
November 24, 2017 at 11:29 am
Uriah Heap in 1973, downtown Springfield, Illinois. I don’t remember the name of the venue but they put on an incredible show. The other act was an unknown band called Ten Years After. Alvin Lee was, oh what the he’ll it was Alvin Lee. Enough said.
November 27, 2017 at 6:47 am
Dylan at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester in 1966. The infamous heckle of ‘Judas’. Disappointed many fans at the time who didn’t realise the times were a changing.
November 27, 2017 at 7:11 am
The Super Legendary Legend Festival 1969 in Legend City Amusement Park Arizona .
December 14, 2017 at 4:05 am
Goose Lake Music Festival , August 1970 , Grass Lake , MIchigan