2020’s Best Live Streamed Events

Live streaming music performances for at-home viewing isn’t something new. Festival organizers and artists have been using the technique to reach larger audiences over the past few years. But if 2020 was anyone’s year, it was definitely the tech industry, facilitating communication and artistic expression around the world.. With the live performance industry unexpectedly coming to a standstill, there wasn’t much to do this year besides stay inside and tune into a stream. Though we would have loved to be at a live show watching our favorites or even some new artists perform in front of us live in-person, streams have been the best we could get while keeping everyone safe.

These were some of our favorite live streamed performances that happened this year!

Post Malone’s Nirvana Tribute

Pop music superstar, Post Malone, joined his socially distanced buddies (which included Blink-182’s Travis Barker) back in April of this year to put on shockingly powerful stream. Post Malone covered several hit songs from the iconic 90s band. Post Malone is a known super-fan of Nirvana and would often cover songs like Lithium during his live shows. Malone even sported a dress similar to the one Nirvana singer, Kurt Cobain, would wear during shows on occasion. The stream was done as a fundraiser to fund COVID-19 research and raise awareness, ultimately raising over $7 million and pulling in over 14 million views.

Travis Scott’s Fortnite Concert 

Travis Scott really one-upped Marshmello’s 2019 Fortnite concert with this one. In April, rapper Travis Scott transposed himself into one of the world’s most popular video games and hosted a virtual concert. A literal larger-than-life Scott took players through a journey of otherworldly landscapes and striking visual effects as his character rapped along to a medley of his top hits. This performance really broke ground by re-defining what a virtual concert can be. Scott and Epic Games took their partnership as an opportunity to explore all sorts of possibilities in a practically limitless platform. Scott is quoted saying, “It was an opportunity to go to the max, to create a world that permits won’t let you do, fire marshals won’t let you do, building codes won’t let you do.” According to Forbes, the event earned over $20 million.

Square Garden Minecraft Festival 

100 Gecs, a hyper-pop duo that grew to fame within the last year, hosted a music festival within Minecraft, a popular sandbox type video game. The line-up for the Square Garden festival featured impressively big acts like Cashmere Cat, Benny Blanco, and Charli XCX who all attended and performed as their own Minecraft avatars. The event was not an official partnership with Minecraft, rather it was something 100 Gecs decided to organize relatively quickly in light of their recently postponed headlining tour. The event however brought back players and viewers the DIY factor of small shows we had been craving. The concerts were chaotic, fully equipped with a stage and mosh pits.

Andrea Bocelli’s Music For Hope

Live from the Duomo cathedral of Milan, famed singer Andrea Bocelli streamed a beautiful performance in an effort to help raise money for hospitals in need of equipment to treat COVID-19 patients. On Easter Sunday, Bocelli sung five powerful pieces and rounded off the performance with a rendition of John Newman’s “Amazing Grace. Bocelli had been invited by the city of Milan to perform at the Duomo and with help of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, the stream raised just over €700,000. Bocelli went on to say this about the event, “Thanks to music, streamed live, bringing together millions of clasped hands everywhere in the world, we will hug this wounded Earth’s pulsing heart, this wonderful international forge that is reason for Italian pride.”

Tom Petty’s 70th Birthday Bash

To honor the late Tom Petty’s 70th birthday, several music legends gathered virtually to put on a once in a lifetime kind of show. The lineup for the event included the Foo Fighters, the Killers, Beck, Stevie Nicks, Eddie Vedder, Post Malone, and more. Adam Sandler even made a guest appearance. The first portion of the event was exclusively streamed on Tom Petty’s SirusXM Radio channel. The second half was then streamed live on Amazon Music’s Twitch channel as well as TomPetty.com. The event emphasized many movements such as the Save Our Stages campaign which is organized by the National Independent Venue Association and MusiCares, an organization founded to help creatives in times of need. Up and coming rock band, Starcrawler, teamed up with Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and The Heart Breakers) to perform a stellar cover of “I Need To Know” which came out as single for the band shortly after.

Duran Duran’s John Taylor: Bass Series And Interviews

John Taylor, bass player of the 80s pop band Duran Duran, took to Instagram this past summer and began posting and streaming a lot of great and interesting videos. Taylor posted videos of himself breaking down the bass parts of Duran Duran’s most iconic songs and explaining the evolution and thought process behind creating his grooves. Taylor’s posted tutorial videos for songs like “Rio”, “Girls on Film”, “Some Like It Hot”, and a handful of others. Taylor also began hosting some insightful interviews over Instagram Live with guests including Nick Rhodes (keyboardist for Duran Duran), Susanna Hoffs (lead singer of the Bangles), and Neil Rodgers (co-founder of Chic).

Ultra Virtual Audio Festival

Just like every other festival this year, Ultra Music Festival, one of the largest EDM music festivals on the globe, was canceled. But that didn’t let organizers stop the party. After the blow of having to cancel, UMF regrouped and joined SiriusXM for a limited time radio stream with special sets from DJs and producers like Armin Van Buren, Afrojack, Major Lazer, Martin Garrix, and Oliver Heldens. Other DJs like Marshmello, Kygo, and The Chainsmokers had their 2019 sets streamed as well.

Jame Blake’s Instagram Live

James Blake got as intimate with fans as you can get these days by tuning into Instagram Live to perform and chat with viewers. Blake was only accompanied by his piano where he played stripped down versions of his own songs and some covers from Ray Charles, Joy Division, and Billie Eilish to make a very relaxing stream. Blake logged on a few times through out the spring and has since uploaded all the streams to YouTube.

Disclosure’s Boiler Room Set

Guy Lawerence, one half of the electronic duo Disclosure, streamed a live DJ set for Boiler Room from the comfort of his own apartment back in March. This quarantine DJ set was extremely groovy and filled with lots of great tunes that we highly recommend listening to. The stream was in part with The National FoodBanking Network to raise money for the organization and raised over $31,000. Guy’s homey and simple set up exhibits a DIY feel that brought all of us back to the small venue days. Guy did a weekly series of DJ sets in March called Self-Isolation FM prior to this set. All of his sets can be found on YouTube.

Since it doesn’t look like live venue performances are coming back anytime soon, live streams are still artists go-to for the time being. But as we begin to figure out new and exciting ways to entertain ourselves at home, live streams are only going to continue to get better and break more boundaries. If you want to catch an upcoming live stream here are some sources to help you find one:

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