It’s the most wonderful time of the year again – and that means it’s time for us here at Last.fm to tally up our favorite staff picks of 2014. Each of us on the production crew that bring you your weekly dose of sessions, streams and interviews will be offering our personal lists of top shows and albums of the year over the course of the next week, so stay tuned to see how our personal favorites stack up against your best moments of 2014.
The sheer amount of great shows and amazing music released in 2014 made creating a ‘Best of’ harder than ever, but alas, it had to be done. Find me on Last.fm @gianradio or tweet at any of us on twitter @lastfmoriginals to chat about our picks…but in the meantime, without further ado – here are my picks for best shows and albums of 2014:
Foo Fighters shut down Ed Sullivan Theatre for secret gig…
-The mighty Foo Fighters, led by the incomparable Dave Grohl took over the legendary Ed Sullivan Theatre and debuted their new series ‘Sonic Highways‘ for a few lucky fans and friends; only to take the stage after the screening to perform an electrifying two hour set that no one in attendance will soon forget.
Check out a full list of the Foo’s upcoming tour dates here!
Skrillex surprises the Bonnaroo faithful at 6AM…
-In a place where time knows no bounds and Bonnaroovians run wild on a farm in Tenessee, surely anything can happen. Being a former Bonnaroovian himself, Skrillex took full advantage of this knowledge and took the stage at 6AM as fans were heading back to camp. The EDM DJ/producer went on to perform an energetic three hour set that had fans dancing long after the sun came up.
Click play below to watch a clip from Skrillex epic 6AM set:
Nirvana rock one more time with a little help from their friends…
-The death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain shocked the music world and marked the end of one of the greatest bands of the modern era. But at the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the surviving members took the stage one more time in tribute to their late frontman – performing a blistering set with the help of Joan Jett, Lorde, Kim Gordon and St. Vincent.
King Crimson return to New York…
-It doesn’t get much better than being ‘in the court of the crimson king’ – right in the heart of Times Square. Backed with three drummers and slew of the finest musicians to ever grace a stage; Robert Fripp & co had fans awe the whole night. And you couldn’t spot a cell phone in the crowd if you tried.
Neurosurgeons scream for more
At paranoia's poison door
Twenty first century schizoid man
Buddy Guy gets intimate with fans on Long Island…
-Chicago blues icon Buddy Guy still knows how to thrill a crowd even at 78 years young. The legendary guitarist wailed for hours at The Space in Westbury, but also offered so much more – telling heartfelt stories in between songs, performing covers that expressed the history of rock and roll, and even coming into the crowd for nearly a half hour to give fans an up close and personal view of the blues; Buddy Guy style.
Click play below to watch the incomparable Buddy Guy perform live:
Robert Plant performs Zeppelin classics and more in Brooklyn…
–Robert Plant invaded The Brooklyn Academy of Music this past fall and performed a career spanning set that included a number of mind bending tunes from his critically acclaimed new album, “Lullaby…And The Ceaseless Roar“. However, some of the most awe-inspiring moments of the night were undeniably when the former Led Zeppelin frontman revisited his past and serenaded the Brooklyn faithful with numbers like ‘Going To California‘, ‘What Is and What Should Never Be‘, ‘Whole Lotta Love‘ and more.
Click play below to watch Robert Plant performing ‘Rainbow‘ live:
Music’s biggest names unite in Washington for The Convert For Valor…
-It’s not often that Eminem, Rihanna, Dave Grohl, The Black Keys, Metallica, Zac Brown Band, Jennifer Hudson, Jessie J, Bruce Springsteen and Carrie Underwood all share a stage in one night. However, in early November, millions of people like me filed into Washington DC to see all these great artists perform sets to salute America’s veterans. The atmosphere was truly electric and perhaps the greatest sing-along in history as millions of fans sang along to songs like ‘Lose Yourself’ sprawled across the National Lawn.
Phish (15,500,040 Scrobbles) – “Fuego“
–Phish truly keep getting better with age. More than thirty years after their debut, the band are playing bigger shows than ever, performing at the highest level of their career, and released one of the best albums of 2014 with “Fuego” – drawing even more new fans in to their already massive cult following. With more new songs on the horizon and a number of tour dates booked into the new year, don’t look for Trey & co to slow down any time soon.
Click play below to check out Phish’s rafter-shaking ‘Live on Letterman‘ performance:
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (334,131 Scrobbles) – “Midnight Sun“
–Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl’s eclectic instrumentation and studio experimentation on their new album “Midnight Sun” made the record one of the most exciting of 2014. The new LP, which was long in development, sported a twist at every turn, was supported by incredibly artistic music videos and was dropped to critical acclaim; showing the band on a path all their own; armed with a sound to be reckoned with.
Click play below to watch ‘Moth To A Flame‘:
Robert Plant (5,004,391 Scrobbles) – “Lullaby… And The Ceaseless Roar“
-Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant dropped one of the most sonically pleasing albums of 2014. ‘Lullaby …and the Ceaseless Roar‘ paired rhythms from South Africa with Welsh poetry, unmistakeable melodies from Plant’s many travels and more all together to create what is arguably Plant’s most ambitious work to date.
Click play below to check out our exclusive interview with Robert Plant:
Skrillex (39,691,419 Scrobbles) – “Recess“
-In an age where electronic musicians often only release mixtapes or EP’s on their website, Skrillex broke the mold with one of the best EDM records of the 2010’s. The DJ/producer packed in eleven undeniable hits with a number of guest spots that made Skrillex first studio effort universally acclaimed among the Dance/Electronic scene as well as in the main stream world; debuting at #4 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic albums chart.
Click play below to check out Skrillex performing songs from “Recess“:
J. Cole (18,039,226 Scrobbles) – “2014 Forest Hills Drive“
-Rapper J. Cole once again outdid himself on his most recent studio effort, “2014 Forest Hills Drive“. The album picked up where Cole left off on last years critically acclaimed ‘Born Sinner‘ and was mostly produced by Cole himself. The album served as one of the finest in hip hop for 2014 and shows Cole still among the best in the game today.
Click play below to watch J. Cole perform “Be Free” on ‘Letterman‘:
–‘Weird Al’ Yankovic – “Mandatory Fun”
–Jack White – “Lazaretto”
–Flying Lotus – “You’re Dead”
–Benjamin Booker – “Benjamin Booker”
–Animals As Leaders – “The Joy Of Motion”
–Pink Floyd – “The Endless River”
–Courtney Barnett – “The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas“