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Rolling Stone’s ‘50 Greatest Live Acts Right Now’ List Is So Perfectly Rolling Stone-y

By / 08.02.13

What makes a great live band? Is it how long they play? The set list variance between “the hits” and “the new stuff”? The energy the lead singer extolls telling the audience to clap their hands? The number of original members who aren’t dead? The already-peaked level of fame they’re still coasting off from 30 years later? If you’re Rolling Stone, if’s all of that, though it also helps if you’re the Rolling Stones or at least over 50 years old.

The now-controversial music magazine named their “50 Greatest Live Acts Right Now” and predictably, the top slots went to Bruce Springsteen and Prince. No argument here — the Boss dips into all the varied eras of his storied career and plays three-hour plus shows, with little to no “let’s get a drink before he plays something from Born to Run” filler, and Prince is Prince — but beyond that, things get worrisome. The Rolling Stones at #3? Jay-Z at #6? U2 at #11? David Byrne at #31? That’s to say nothing of the inclusion of Rage Against the Machine and Tom Waits, who haven’t toured since 2011 and 2008, respectively. Most tellingly, only a dozen or so acts that have formed post-2000 are included: Arcade Fire, Alabama Shakes, Sleigh Bells, Bruno Mars, Florence + the Machine, Queens of the Stone Age, and a few more in the 40s, to throw a bone to the Taylor Swift-loving youngsters.

50. Fiona Apple
49. Taylor Swift
48. Green Day
47. Sigur Ros
46. Tool
45. Lady Gaga
44. Janelle Monae
43. Mumford and Sons
42. Skrillex
41. Tame Impala
40. Eric Church
39. Rush
38. Queens of the Stone Age
37. The National
36. Florence and the Machine
35. Bruno Mars
34. Foo Fighters
33. Beyonce
32. Sleigh Bells
31. David Byrne
30. Madonna
29. Muse
28. Patti Smith
27. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
26. Leonard Cohen
25. Phish
24. Dave Matthews Band
23. Pearl Jam
22. Tom Waits
21. Red Hot Chili Peppers
20. Kanye West
19. The Roots
18. Metallica
17. Nine Inch Nails
16. Alabama Shakes
15. Paul McCartney
14. The Black Keys
13. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
12. Wilco
11. U2
10. My Morning Jacket
09. Rage Against the Machine
08. Jack White
07. Radiohead
06. Jay Z
05. Neil Young
04. Arcade Fire
03. The Rolling Stones
02. Prince
01. Bruce Springsteen

No Rammstein and yes Skrillex should make us all angry.

(via Getty Image) (Via)


TOPICS#live music
TAGSBRUCE SPRINGSTEENrolling stone

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