NME Authors on The Best Live Performances of 2022


2022 should be remembered as the year when live music enjoyed its unrestrained return to action. Gone are the pathetic limitations of COVID 2020-2021, while the memory of faulty live broadcasts and a random sample of live broadcasts last summer, many of which were imbued with lingering uncertainty about whether they could actually take place or not, has been decisively destroyed. banished.

Instead, a full-fledged festival season began in 2022: more than 200,000 revellers descended on Worthy Farm for the first Glastonbury since 2019, while Coachella, Mad Cool and Green Man have fully returned. Mass performances by artists such as Liam Gallagher (who returned to Knebworth for the first time after the landmark Oasis concerts in 1996), Harry Styles and Adele amazed the audience, and statements of intent by artists of the new and next generation – Wet Leg, Yard Act and Dylan, for example – laid.

The NME team was understandably excited about the resumption of concerts and festivals this year — here are our highlights of live music from 2022.

Words: Alex Flood, Andrew Trendell, Erica Campbell, Hannah Milrea, Jake Tucker, Kayann-Sian Williams, Rian Daly, Sam Moore, Sophie Williams, Thomas Smith

The Rolling Stones at the Metropolitano Stadium, Madrid, Spain, 06.01.2022

And then there were three of them. After 60 years of perfect rhythm playing, The Rolling Stones lost their drummer Charlie Watts in August 2021. Their “Sixty” tour, which began in Spain on the same weekend as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in the UK, proved to be an exciting celebration of their late bandmate and a testament to the power of the pristine rock and roll concert.

On the opening night of the tour in Madrid — their first European concerts without Charlie — wiry frontman Mick Jagger ran around the Atletico Madrid stadium as if nothing had happened — almost full of energy. Replacement stickman Steve Jordan offered a more strident approach to the Stones’ live performance, but the sweet tribute to their late bandmate was a rare moment of sincerity on the part of a band not too known for its sentimentality. Later tour dates will be disrupted due to COVID, but for one of the most anticipated concerts of the year, the stars came together perfectly – and oh, how they shone. TS

Rosalia at Altice Arena, Lisbon, Portugal, November 27, 2022

Rosalia’s 2022 recording of “Motomami” allowed the Spanish superstar to expand her sound palette like never before. Combining such diverse genres as industrial electronics, R&B, reggaeton and pop music, the exciting end result was a triumph, and during live performances this year it shone even brighter.

The carefully planned and executed “Motomami World Tour” managed to stand out as something special in a year already blessed with exciting pop shows. In some ways, it felt more like theater than a brilliant arena performance: while there were euphoric renditions of hits (TikTok hit ‘BIZCOCHITO’, where revelers massively recreated Rosalia’s viral chewing gum), it was unexpected moments that stood out in Lisbon. Take Rosalia riding a motorcycle made up of her dancers during the title track of a new record, or a stunning performance of “HENTAI”, in which idyllic visuals and great vocals are combined with the delightfully dirty lyrics of the track. Along with the thoughtful camera work on the big screen, which meant that the videographer on stage was as much a part of the show as the dancers, this led to a surprisingly intimate experience for the arena show. A dazzling theatrical demonstration of the artist’s pure talent. hm

Bonobos at the Royal Albert Hall, London, May 19, 2022


Simon Green made history at the Royal Albert Hall back in May when he brought a wonderful live bonobo experience to the historic Central London venue for five days. NME was present at the mesmerizing fourth show of the residency, which featured both blissfully-beat (“Surface”, “Cirrus”) and total raves (“Bambro Koyo Ganda”, “Kerala”) bonobos. coin — both of them felt at home, reflecting off the walls of perhaps the most grandiose live music.

Nevertheless, on the next and last night of Bonobo’s stay, there was a happy collaboration between Green’s live band and RAH organist Anna Lapwood, who added dizzying grandeur by playing the hall organ during the main set of “Otomo”. Don’t take our word for it — look at your own footage of this wonderful moment made by Lapwood, which at that time deservedly went viral on social networks. cm

Father John Misty at the Barbican Hall, London, July 4, 2022

If you want to go on tour, but you don’t have any new ideas, there is a proven tactic in the music business that can help you: hire a huge orchestra and perform hits. Stepping onto the stage of London’s Barbican Hall in an elegant black suit and loafers, folk music frontman Father John Misty gave his fans full charm, reinventing himself before their eyes as an old-school Hollywood chatterbox.

He rattled off early classics like “Funtimes In Babylon” but also found time to release 11 fresh tracks from his new album “Chloe and The Next 20th Century” (the shimmering piano ballad “Goodbye Mr. Blue” was perfect for a cool institution). Making its way into an exciting new era, it was like watching a person reborn. So if your favorite artist still hasn’t gotten rid of the rust in 2023, can we suggest that he step out in front of the microphone stand and maybe add a few violins? AF

Gorillaz at Primavera Sound, Barcelona, Spain, March 6, 2022

Compared to the infectious energy demonstrated by Charli XCX at the Primavera 2022 opening, the headliners of the third day of the Barcelona festival were much more muted — at least from the very beginning. Thousands of eager festival-goers watched with some amazement as Damon Albarn first played keyboards, and a group of special guests came and went, while the first part of the set was filled with a lot of deep cuts of Gorillaz.

Festivals are a strange beast: If you fried everyone in the crowd that night, chances are they were there to witness Gorillaz release their many hits. Albarn, an avid showman, made us wait for the hits to begin: “Kids With Guns”, “Dirty Harry”, “Feel Good Inc.” and “Clint Eastwood” — all of them sounded at the very end of the set, infuriating the audience. dance ecstasy. These joyful final 20 minutes — and sweaty smiles, which could then be seen on the Prima website — could well become the highlight of the entire festival. JT

Paul McCartney at the Glastonbury Festival, Pilton, June 25, 2022

Paul McCartney’s prominence in the headlines at Glastonbury — the second in his career after his first performance on the Pyramid stage in 2004 — was due not so much to the performance itself as to the impact it had on an audience of one hundred thousand. We’ve always known that Macca’s songs are made for the ages, not to mention that they’ve evolved beautifully over decades of cultural shifts. But it’s hard to name any other legendary live artist with a series of hits like the one he performed that night: “Let It Be”, “Live And Let Die” and “Hey Jude”. By the latter, the emotional reaction of the crowd had greatly increased, as everyone was basking with clouded eyes in a ray of rainbow lights.

There was also something impressively unforgiving about the set: it never lagged, despite the three-hour duration, while almost every song was accompanied by psychedelic visuals or, almost incredibly, pyrotechnics. But the most powerful sight was how Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen — two outstanding Beatles obsessives — realized their dreams by performing closer “The End” with McCartney. As a flurry of fireworks spread across the sky overhead, the trio repeated one word over and over again: “Love.” For 180 minutes it was everywhere. SW

Fontaine, DC, at Eventim Apollo, London, November 25, 2022

 The best Dublin band Fontaines D.C. started the year by being recognized as the best band in the world at the BandLab NME Awards 2022, and then proved that it is more than worthy of this title with its extensive and flawless third album “Skinty Fia”. On their victory lap of sold-out concerts in the UK and Ireland, which ended in 2022, Fontaine easily demonstrated the poise, passion and poetry that made them not only the best band on this planet, but also a real once-in-a-generation tour. de-force.

England had just given a strong disappointing performance against the USA at the World Cup the night Fontaine performed in Hammersmith, but these five guys — complete with string quartet for some of the show’s most tender moments — knew what they needed to do for the fans for whom these songs mean everything, and really brought it home. Life will never be empty as long as we have Fontaines D.C.

BTS at Busan Asiad Main Stadium, Busan, South Korea, October 15, 2022

Even during the free BTS concert in support of Busan’s bid for the 2030 World Expo, which took place even before singer Jin announced his plans to enlist in the military, it was clear that this would probably be the last time in a good mood. at the same time, all seven band members will be on stage together. However, instead of feeling like the sun had set in the glory days, this Busan concert was like a celebration of how far BTS has come and how far they still want to go.

Each performance was very strong: the incendiary choreography of “Run BTS” got its debut performance, the rappers of the group showed their lyrical fire, and more tender moments, such as “For Youth”, made the stadium feel. There were highlights of the production—the butterfly holograms for “Butterfly”, the constant array of stunning fireworks—as you’d expect from a show of this magnitude, but none of it overshadowed the power and awe created by the seven participants between them. all that. But at the end of the concert in “Yet To Come” there was a sharp message — an oath to continue moving forward together, even if this momentum has to be temporarily suspended. It may be BTS at its best right now, but there’s still a lot of where it came from. RD

Playboi Carti in Primavera Sound Hall, Barcelona, Spain, 06.09.2022

Clinging to the barrier in the front row of a Playboi Carti concert is an experience you will only get if you are truly committed. Watching an artist from Atlanta in all his glory is always fascinating, even if the endless clouds of smoke created by both the stage and the crowd somewhat hindered our view from the front row of the rap superstar in action.

For his Primavera set, Carty adopted his lifestyle, which he himself called “Rockstar Made”, inviting a guitarist to add even more energy to excerpts from his 2020 album “Whole Lotta Red”. Rushing around the stage with his guitarist, Carty gave his all – and the Prima crowd reciprocated this manic energy. With black curls painted around his eyes as a sign of respect for KISS, the 26-year-old turned his image from the stereotype of melodic rap, by which many recognized him in the 2010s, into the image of a punk screamer – a shocking, but very memorable image. transition to a personal certificate. SWR

Turnstile in Lollapalooza, Chicago, USA – 30.07.2022

Shouting optimistic lyrics while shaking your head, crowdsurfing and sweating, which may or may not be yours, is a unique cathartic experience that even the most dedicated visitors to live music rarely enjoy. However, this should never be taken lightly, especially if you find yourself at a Turnstile show.

On a sunny Saturday evening in Chicago, the Baltimore band gave the crowded Lollapalooza crowd exactly this experience, attracting new fans from the tracks of Grant Park with their melodic, heavy style and boundless energy. There is something beautiful, primal and human about the show that begs you to take part not only with your ears and voice, but also with your body, connecting you with thousands of strangers when you repeat: “I want to thank you for letting me see you!” in unison, like a mantra. If you feel a sense of dread of the current state of the world and need relief with distorted, bright guitars and the jubilant camaraderie of revelers, look for nothing but a Turnstile show. EU


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