Back in 2005, when Will Ferrell hosted Saturday Night Live, Queens of the Stone Age made their SNL debut. They were promoting their album Lullabies To Paralyze at this time. Their SNL set consisted of “Little Sister” and “In My Head” both from that record. The reason why this performance is quite memorable is because of the special guest who comes out during the performance of “Little Sister.”
Way back in 1999, in the pouring rain of New York, Rage Against The Machine took the stage in the street for an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. During this evening, they performed a mini concert for a slew of fans while promoting their Unsung Masterpiece that is The Battle Of Los Angeles. Here’s Rage performing “Guerilla Radio.”
Rage Against The Machine- Guerilla Radio on Letterman:
Back in 2014 when Nirvana was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Shame, the remaining members performed with a bunch of guest singers. Joan Jett, Lorde (for some reason I can’t ever understand why), St. Vincent and my personal favorite of the set, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. I especially liked Kim joining them onstage because she sang my favorite Nirvana song, “Aneurysm.” This was also the most “punk” thing the band did that night and it was glorious. A few interesting tidbits about this performance, the dress Kim wore on stage is actually the same one she wore when Nirvana and Sonic Youth toured together in the early 90’s. Also according to Kim’s book Girl In A Band (which you should totally read), during this performance she channeled a lot of her anger over her divorce with Thurston Moore (also of Sonic Youth) and the grief over Kurt’s passing into this performance. This explains a lot when you put it all in context.
Bon Jovi was the first band I was ever a huge fan of. Ever since I was three years old, I’ve been a fan. My first concert ever was Bon Jovi back in 1989 (I was almost 5 at the time) when they were touring for their New Jersey album. Skid Row (yes, that Skid Row) was the opening band on that tour. One day I will write a whole elaborate piece about that show. Anyways, this morning while I was getting ready, “Wanted Dead or Alive” popped in my head but it was a particular version. Back in 1989, on the MTV Video Music Awards, Jon and Richie, took the stage, just the two of them with acoustic guitars and performed “Livin’ On A Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive.” That performance would go on to live in infamy. Not only for how amazing it was but, because it was the inspiration for the MTV Unplugged series. So, here we are now, over 30 years since that performance, and it’s still one of the most memorable ones I’ve ever seen.
Bon Jovi- Livin’ On A Prayer/Wanted Dead Or Alive (1989 MTV Video Music Awards):
Last night, I was watching the documentary Life After Death From Above 1979 for the I don’t know 6th or 7th time (definitely check it out when you have a moment) and it set me on a path of I know what I’m posting about tomorrow. In the doc, they showed a clip from back in 2005 when the band was promoting their debut album, You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine (which is still one of my all time favorite debut albums ever), they performed “Romantic Rights” on Late Night with Conan O’Brien I remember watching it when it aired and thinking this band is so damn cool and good, and they really are. Plus the surprise at the end just really makes this a very memorable TV performance. If you haven’t ever really delved into Death From Above 1979, I highly suggest you do. They are a phenomenal band and are one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen too.
Death From Above 1979- Romantic Rights on Late Night w/Conan O’Brien 2005:
Back in the year 2000 (how fitting for this since Conan used to have a segment on his show about “The Year 2000”), while A Perfect Circle was supporting the release of their amazing debut album, Mer De Noms, and while on tour with Nine Inch Nails, they made a stop to perform “Judith” on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. This performance is absolutely killer. Josh Freese is a beast behind the kit and was such an integral part of this band. It’s too bad he wasn’t involved in their recent return along with Paz Lenchantin on bass and Troy Van Leeuwen on guitar. Either way, enjoy this gem!
A Perfect Circle- Judith on Late Night with Conan O’Brien:
Way back in 2003, Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin’s new band Zwan made their national TV debut on the Late Show with David Letterman while promoting the debut album, (and very underrated) Mary Star of the Sea. On this evening, they performed the song “Honestly.” It’s really too bad Zwan only lasted one album. The debut is quite stunning and what could have been with this band, we will never truly know.
Back in 2006 for a VH1 tribute to Heart, Ann and Nancy Wilson asked Alice In Chains to be a part of the celebration. This evening was also the debut of William DuVall on vocals with the band but, the biggest surprise more so was when Phil Anselmo of Pantera, Down, etc came out to join them for “Would.” It starts out sort of very iffy but, as the performance continues, Anselmo finds his footing and truly delivers. Duff McKagan also joined Alice this evening, playing guitar for them.
Alice In Chains w/Phil Anselmo & Duff McKagan- Would:
Back in late 2006, Brand New released the masterpiece that is The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me. This album has gone on to not only be acclaimed by fans and press alike but, had also influenced and inspired countless bands. As the press tour began for the album, Brand New was booked on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2007. They performed “Jesus Christ” (which was released as the second single from the album). This performance was subtle and understated but, really does pack quite a gut punch when you really listen to the words and let the music take you away. I’d also like to mention that The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me is one of my all time favorite albums and if you haven’t heard it, you are surely missing out.
Way back in the year 2000, The Smashing Pumpkins, released the second part of their (then) swan song, Machina II: The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music. This album never fully got the proper release and instead released for free on the internet on September 5, 2000. Plans for a standard physical release, bundled with the first part Machina I: The Machines of God, was supposed to happen in 2013 but was postponed due to legal setbacks. In a recent Q&A on Instagram, Billy Corgan revealed that all legal issues had been resolved. The two albums are said to be remastered and released as one in 2020. That being said, The Smashing Pumpkins did do some promotion for the album back in 2000 with a very memorable performance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which also ended up being the band’s final television appearance until their 2007 revival.
The Smashing Pumpkins- Cash Car Star (on Tonight Show with Jay Leno):