5 Great Acts That Suck Live

Categories: radio musings
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The main reason Lauryn Hill's rumored Rock the Bells performance got everyone's panties up in a bunch isn't because it was untrue. It's because everyone misses The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill  Lauryn. Everyone knows her recent live sets have been harrowing--audiences were subject to two hour waits or more, unprepared songs, and just general craziness live. Maybe audiences believed that if she performed an album circa 1998, she would perform like it was she was the brilliant 23-year-old Lauryn of 1998.
That also got me thinking of acts that I love, who've made seminal albums, or albums that defined whole summers--or even years--and just didn't live up to the hype.

1. Lauryn Hill
I wasn't terribly unhappy Hill wasn't on the Rock The Bells lineup. While I'd love to see her live, the many reports of chronic tardiness at live shows make me feel she doesn't respect audiences enough to care and go onstage with a polished show. Even Wyclef Jean told People magazine in 2007, "I kid you not, every night I'm onstage for 45-50 minutes before she would come out." Plus, even though she is all kinds of awesomeness on her records, if she performs like she does in this sideways video I found on Youtube, it's not a show I'd like to see. 

2. MGMT
I'm not a big MGMT fan, but I did think "Kids" encapsulated the summer of 2008. Unfortunately, when I saw them live at Lollapalooza the same year, I felt duped, and wished I never encountered their lackluster show filled with bandanna heads. 



3. Bob Dylan
Again, I'm a gigantic Dylan fan, and grew up on most of his songs. When I watch his concerts from the '60s and '70s on YouTube I feel jealous that I never caught him on a small, intimate stage. I don't think his early shows were bad, but try catching him these days in an arena and all you'll see is an old man hunched over a keyboard, singing garbly lyrics. 

4. Amy Winehouse
This video was shot right before Winehouse overdosed in 2007. My friends and I loved this album, and caught this festival especially for her. Once there, we sat on the grass bewildered. Why was Amy Winehouse presenting the most boring show on earth? 

5. Wu Tang Clan
I've talked about what it was like to see members of the Wu Tang Clan individually, and while I think that Wu Tang is one of the greatest hip-hop acts ever put together, sometimes their songs are not meant to leave the studio. Especially when they're not performing like they do below. At this Rock The Bells show, the band is killing it; at most shows I've ever seen of theirs, the audiences are mostly slayed by waiting hours for the band to appear. 


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