Collectively, our staff has watched hundreds of live streams over the course of the year. We’ve been there for everything from the biggest festival performances, to the most intimate artist chats. 2012 was a momentous year for both live streaming technology and viewership.
We can’t help but get a sense of nostalgia when looking back upon the year. 2012 truly was the breakthrough year for live streaming, and we couldn’t be more excited for its future. While there were countless moments to choose from, we’ve narrowed our list down to our top 25 live streaming moments from the past year. Check them out below.
Note: Due to the overwhelming number of requests for additional information about IROCKE rankings, we have prepared this FAQ.
1. Eddie Vedder & Roger Waters, “Comfortably Numb” 121212 The Concert For Sandy Relief (Wednesday, December 12, 2012)
“12-12-12,” The Concert for Sandy Relief, was unequivocally the biggest live stream of the year in terms of global audience reach and impact. The Rolling Stones, The Who, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys (plus way too many other legends to mention here) contributed moving performances. Eddie Vedder and Roger Waters’ performance of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” delivered The Moment of the evening, conveying a just bit of what it must have felt like for storm survivors and first responders.
2. The Killers, “Mr. Brightside” American Express Unstaged presents Directed by Werner Herzog (Tuesday, September 18, 2012)
Several hundred thousand fans from all around the globe flooded the chat room in anticipation of one of America’s top rock groups perform live online under the direction of the acclaimed Werner Herzog. When “Mr. Brightside” came on, it’s safe to say we were all going a bit crazy.
3. Tupac Hologram, Coachella (Sunday, April 15, 2012)
Amid an already extravagant Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre performance at Coachella, legendary deceased rapper Tupac Shakur made a guest appearance via hologram. The YouTube live stream experience was eerie and surreal.
4. Avicii, Tomorrowland Music Festival (Friday, July 27, 2012)
Avicii’s two and a half hour set from Tomorrowland was gigantic. Bursting with euphoric progressive house anthems and signature Swedish House, Avicii captivated festival attendees and live stream viewers alike. But what else would you expect from the year’s biggest live streaming electronic music festival?
5. Jack White, iTunes Music Festival (Saturday, September 8, 2012)
Live from the legendary Roundhouse in London, the only introduction Jack White needed was a countdown. No words, just pure musicianship to welcome him to the stage. The crowd showed no reserve of emotion when he absolutely killed it with the White Stripes original “Wasting My Time,” the 4th song of the night. Pure magic.
6. Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Global Citizen Festival, (Saturday, September 29, 2012)
A free spirited jam for the ages capped the night in New York’s Central Park as Neil Young & Crazy Horse stomped through their rock anthem “Rockin’ In The Free World” Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters, the Black Keys, Band of Horses, and K’Naan blistering solos and searing backing vocals from Can you say goosebumps?
7. Florence + The Machine with the Ceremonial Orchestra, Sydney Opera House (Friday, May 25, 2012)
Florence Welch is regarding as having one of the most powerful voices of our generation. Backed by the Ceremonial Orchestra, an ensemble of more than 40 musicians, Florence + the Machine delivered one of the most riveting, cathartic performances of the year. The concert was notable for the debut of FRONTROW technology, allowing live stream viewers to take and upload photos directly from the stream.
8. Swedish House Mafia, Coachella (Friday, April 13, 2012)
For their first Coachella headlining performance, the prestigious Swedish trio known as Swedish House Mafia took over night one with their most expensive stage production to date. Huge pyrotechnics and a panoramic visualizer abound, the Swedes provided a breathtaking visual and audio spectacle.
9. Madonna, MDNA Tour (July 26, 2012)
When Madonna live streamed her sold out performance from the Paris Olympia the number of online viewers quickly climbed to 45,000 within minutes of her first note. Then, poof! The stream stopped due to a technical glitch. Fortunately, more than 100,000 viewers returned when the stream was restored after approximately 15 minutes.
10. Dispatch, Live at Radio City Music Hall (Friday, October 5, 2012)
In a beautifully crafted live stream produced by the Bowery Presents, Dispatch took over Radio City Music Hall and commanded your attention with their riveting musicianship. It was impossible to not watch. We succumbed to our primal impulses and sang along, loudly and proudly, in the IROCKE.COM offices.
11. Deadmau5, Live from His Home Studio (Friday, November 23, 2012)
One tweet sent out to 1,752,588 followers netted over 3,000 live fans in minutes who tuned in to watch one of today’s freshest electronic music producers answer questions and chat live on his webcam, from home, on a Friday night. Oh Deadmau5, you’re so random.
12. Big Gigantic, Austin City Limits Music Festival (Saturday, October 13, 2012)
ACL flipped inside out and upside down during Big G’s afternoon set. As torrential rains poured down, Big Gigantic continued to bring the energy, with the highlight being “It’s Goin’ Down.” Complete with a massive drop, a crowd surfer being tossed around like a rag doll, and the producers of the live stream doing all they could to keep it live for online viewers. Things got a bit hectic, and historic. Talk about making it rain.
13. Phish, New Year’s Eve at Madison Square Garden (December 31, 2012)
On the fourth night of Phish’s NYE run, the jam-band impresarios wowed the sold out crowd and those watching live online with the usual double dose of improvisational jams and psychedelic light shows. What caught our eye was the MSG’s green astroturf garden-like setting (yes, we get ya Phish!) complete with golf cart shenanigans, and tiny golfers taking aim at the crowd with colorful plastic golf balls. Phishhead’s (and us) had never seen anything quite like this before. Definitely not par for the course. Nice.
14. Allen Stone, KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic (Friday, October 19, 2012)
We all know the moment when you hear an artist cover a song in a way that you’ve never heard it before, and it grabs you and moves you, giving the song a brand new meaning. That’s what happened when Allen Stone performed Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic live stream. It’s definitely love that you’re feeling at 23:27 into the performance. Feel it?
15. Kaskade, Staples Center (Friday, July 27, 2012)
Watching Kaskade throw down a masterful set in front of a sold out crowd is enjoyable enough. Knowing that he’s the first electronic act to solo headline an arena like Staples Center makes it that much more epic.
16. Bob Weir and Jackie Greene, TRI Studios (Wednesday, December 5, 2012)
Bob Weir, world-renowned founding member of the Grateful Dead, played a stripped down acoustic number with American guitar crooner Jackie Greene live from TRI Studios, streaming with the most beautiful HD video quality and supplemented with a true, raw studio sound. It was an incomparable spectacle to see the two perform “China Cat Sunflower.”
17. Green Day, iHeartRadio Music Festival (Friday, September 21, 2012)
The meltdown that artists pray they never go through became a reality for Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong at this year’s iHeartRadio Music Festival. When Green Day was given 1 minute left to perform, Armstrong found himself going completely off the deep end. Time was up, and the only thing left to do was smash his guitar in epic, punk rock-raging fashion.
18. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lollapalooza (Saturday, August 4, 2012)
There’s nothin’ sweeter than hearing those bluesy, nostalgic first chords of “Scar Tissue.” Watching RCHP captivate all of Lollapalooza via live stream was pretty damn awesome.
19. CNTRL: Beyond EDM Lecture Series featuring Richie Hawtin, Loco Dice, Ean Golden, and guests
Half lecture series, half traveling all-star DJ lineup, the CNTRL: Beyond EDM tour brought both enlightening insight into the world EDM as well as Europe’s best house music to the greater United States area.
20. Jay-Z, Barclays Center (Saturday, October 6, 2012)
Addressing the sold out crowd at Barclay’s Center and all 60,000+ fans watching online, Jay-Z took it way back for those that’ve been down since day one, performing a touching version of “Dead Presidents/Can I Live.” Swagged out in Brooklyn Nets gear, Jay-Z straight owned it.
21. Deadmau5, iTunes Music Festival
Deadmau5 played a special “unhooked” set from the iTunes Music Festival. It’s not often that you see an improvised DJ set from the masked maestro, nor one without his signature mau5 head behind the decks.
22. Blondie, YouTube Presents (Wednesday, October 10, 2012)
70s new wave/punk pioneers Blondie don’t play shows often. Even less frequently do they live stream. Watching them play from the YouTube Presents live stream was a music lover’s dream.
23. Armin van Buuren, Ultra Music Festival (Sunday, March 25, 2012)
DJ Mag’s number one DJ closed out Ultra Music Festival this year, deftly captivating a crowd and online viewership of over one million people.
24. Foo Fighters, Global Citizen Festival (Saturday, September 29, 2012)
Dave Grohl and crew brought the roof down for a crowd of more than 60,000 in attendance. Online viewership skyrocketed during the Foo’s set, and we consider ourselves lucky to have witnessed it up close and live 3,000 miles away from the stage.
25. Radiohead, Bonnaroo (Friday, June 8, 2012)
Everything was in its right place for the first day of Bonnaroo. Radiohead capped off the first night of the festival with a mesmerizing two-hour performance. In terms of live streaming, it doesn’t get much better.