When it comes to rock and roll, nothing really comes close to the live stage. Rather than slaving away in a studio coming up with one riff after another, the act of delivering the goods to the audience directly is a feeling that never gets old as the years go by. Any band can just play a club gig though...these are the heavy hitters.
As opposed to just being a decent rock gig for its time, these shows brought in some of the biggest numbers and acts of the time. Compared to the usual thrown-together gigs you might get at festivals, these were the gigs that have gone down in history as being truly legendary for their time. That could come from many different reasons though. While some of them come down to the sheer number of people paying for a ticket, others might look at the artists on the bill as well as the overall tour as something special in rock history.
That's not to say these went over without a hitch either, with many of these acts in question being broken and bruised by the end of their run. However, when you're talking about the amazing power that rock and roll has on an audience, each of these acts left all their blood, sweat, and tears on the stage.
10. US Festival 1983
The US Festival tends to be one of the dark horses in the history of rock music festivals. Being the little brother of events like Cal Jam, this little upstart from Apple cocreator Steve Wozniak proved to be a fertile breeding ground for new up and coming talent. Though acts like the Ramones graced the first iteration of the festival, the real guts were put back in place in 1983.
While each respective day showed different stripes of rock, country, and new wave, the real glory came in the form of Heavy Metal Day, with a bill any metalhead would have killed for. As Judas Priest and Van Halen commanded the stage in their respective slots, the new arrivals like Quiet Riot and Motley Crue really left the biggest impression of the day. With the heart of California looking in on them, this was one of the first glances of the changing landscape of metal towards something much more glammy.
After this one date, you could practically feel the hard rock industry snap on a dime, with every other hopeful band making their way to the Sunset Strip in search of stardom. Though the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was still underway, this one California date showed that the tides were shifting beneath the old guards' feet.