The Jon Stewart Show back in the mid 90’s on MTV was one of the best late night shows. The humor on the show was hilarious and then the musical guests were ground breaking. The 90’s for music guests on TV had so many memorable performances. One of the ones I remember fondly was when Quicksand performed “Thorn In My Side” & “Brown Gargantuan”(though incomplete). The movie Empire Records turned me onto Quicksand and from that point I was hooked. This performance has so much energy permeating that you’ll probably find yourself bobbing your head or breaking out into a one person mosh pit!
Quicksand- Thorn In My Side & Brown Gargantuan Live On The Jon Stewart Show:
For a short time in late 1998 to early 2000 on the USA network, Farmclub was all the buzz. The show’s content featured “it” musical artists of the moment and promoted unsigned bands through national exposure and website interaction. It was hosted by music industry vet Matt Pinfield and model/actress Ali Landry. During the time it was on air, the show was responsible for a bunch of artists signing to major labels. One of the most legendary of these signings was when Chimaira performed on the show. On this night, they performed the song “Dead Inside” and it was one of those magical moments of TV performances that has gone on to live in infamy. Not long after this, Chimaira and Roadrunner Records would go on to work together. Between Farmclub and Reverb on HBO, we are definitely missing shows like that!
Travel back to 1995 with me and revisit the time White Zombie was on the Late Show with David Letterman. While out promoting their album, Astro-Creep 2000, White Zombie payed a visit to the Letterman show and performed “More Human Than Human.” They were joined by Paul Schaffer as well who provided the keyboard parts. It’s a very fun performance and it looks like the band was enjoying it, especially David Letterman at the end. What’s even cooler is that, White Zombie returned to the Letterman show a few months later and performed again. This time they chose “Super Charger Heaven.” I still believe that if White Zombie were to reunite, they could put out one hell of a good album.
Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, HBO had a music show called Reverb on their network, and it would showcase tons of rock bands playing live. It was a pretty awesome show. Bands like Rage Against The Machine, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, Oasis, even Failure and Bjork appeared on the show. The show was also instrumental in helping to break bands like Disturbed, Papa Roach, Staind, and Linkin Park. One of my favorite episodes from way back involved the band Onesidezero. They were part of the episode that featured Linkin Park. Check out these live performances of songs from Onesidezero’s debut album, and unsung masterpiece, Is This Room Getting Smaller.
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: