The 20 Best Musical Acts To See Live, According To Our Readers

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Yesterday we posted an open thread asking you guys what the best musical acts to see live were, and now we have enough answers to empty our bank accounts for decades to come!

No but seriously, you guys did an awesome job of recommending acts that are really great and high-energy live, so I'm putting them all together in a roundup so that we can all be more prepared for the future! Because there's nothing worse than shelling out big bucks for a show and then being disappointed by it. That's such a bummer.

So here they are, folks, the musical acts whose live performances are worth getting off your couch and putting on pants for! (Genuinely how I approach my life.)

1. Beyonce

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Bey was the first artist that I listed to get things started, and she was echoed by many people. So the ticket prices may be sky-high, but apparently they're worth it.

2. Arcade Fire

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Another group that was on a bunch of lists was Arcade Fire. I haven't seen them myself, but when that many people are recommending them, it's probably something to look into.

3. P!nk

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According to reader Tpce:

Pink doing trapeze and aerial silk routines WHILE ACTUALLY SINGING. Seen it live and its something to watch because she is really singing not using a track. Amazes me everytime how can she focus on the routine while belting out the song.

4. The ladies of Lilith Fair


Elizabeth Aspen:

Heart, Indigo Girls, and Sarah McLachlan. The Lilith ladies can do no wrong, onstage or off.

5. Bruce Springsteen

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Alana Vincenza

My favorite live show was Bruce Springsteen! He did a super long set and made his way into the crowd and drank someone's beer. It was awesome. Also, Paul McCartney was amazing live. My favorite concerts are always the ones that have singers that love what they do and just play the music, the big theatrical shows with costume/set changes never do it for me.

6. Justin Timberlake

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Justin Timberlake! I've seen him 4x in the last year and a half & he certainly doesn't disappoint. Like, I revert back to my 11 year old self seeing JT on stage. #noshame

7. Sara Bareilles

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Kirsten (again):

Ugh, I just love her. I've only seen her once at a free Jimmy Kimmel taping, so it was only like 4 songs. She BLEW ME AWAY. I've been wanting to see her full show, but I've never had the opportunity. Her vocals are so on point and she's so much better live. And she has a great stage presence as well.

8. Frank Ocean

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Olivia Wilson:

I really loved Frank Ocean! His voice is amazing live.

9. Zac Brown Band

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Zac Brown Band = flawless. I've seen them everytime they've come to my hometown and not only is the music even better than it is on a studio track, but the atmosphere is awesome…

10. Ed Sheeran



One act who really surprised me was Ed Sheeran, I went to see him knowing some of his songs but not a massive fan and left so overwhelmed- his voice is so amazing live and his musicality is unreal, so talented.

11. Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora

Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora perform Black Widow GIF(via)

Kaitlin Cubria

Since I like people that actually SING their songs, and don't just let the background music do everything for them, I'm gonna say Iggy Azalea & Rita Ora — those girls KILL IT.

12. Imagine Dragons

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Imagine Dragons was unbelievable. At one point during Radioactive, they pretty much played instrument musical chairs and played each other's instruments. Insane.

13. Christina Aguilera

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I'm gonna go with Christina Aguilera. The woman can sing and she has an amazing stage presence!

14. Darren Criss

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Sara Steinfeld

He pretty much sounds exactly the same as he does on any of his recorded stuff and he's so charming and adorable onstage, especially if you see him in a smaller venue like I did.

15. Taylor Swift

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Mollie Goldstein:

I know it's already been said, but Taylor Swift puts on a SHOW! Its not that she sounds super great live, its the production. There are things coming out of the ceiling and dancing and then she came out flying over the audience! It was one of the best concerts I've been to.

16. Against Me

Samantha Escobar:

AGAINST ME! They were unreal and it was so much fun, and admittedly nostalgic because they've been one of my favorite bands since 2004ish.

17. Lady Gaga

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I know she's love it or hate it but Monsters Ball was one of the most impressive concerts I've ever been to.

18. Arctic Monkeys

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Ashley Reese:

Arctic Monkeys. Seen them live nine times since 2007 and they're always AMAZING live. But the fun crowd is a big part of the experience too so that helps.

19. Dierks Bentley

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I find country artists to be amazing live! I just saw Dierks Bentley this weekend and the energy was insane! Also, they generally don't need any sort of auto tune, so their singing is on point.

20. The Foo Fighters

The Foo Fighters Dave Grohl What if I say I'm not like the other ones(via)


One of my absolute favorites was The Foo Fighters. They were so much better than I expected, and I'm dying to see them again.

Those are the ones that we felt had particularly compelling explanations, but here are some other great acts that were recommended as well — Soundgarden, One Direction (Daisy says ‘fight me — they were great'), Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, Jay Z, Jessie Ware, Yuna, Jack White, Kid Rock, Bon Jovi, My Morning Jacket, The Black Keys, Pretty Lights, Major Lazer, Pictureplane, Tensnake, Aretha Franklin, The Jonas Brothers, One Republic, Lady A, MIKA, Carrie Underwood, U2, Coldplay, and Drake.

Anything to add??