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30 Of The Most Legendary Gigs Of All Time

This week marks 20 years since Oasis' iconic Knebworth Park shows - here are 30 other legendary gigs to rival the Gallaghers' 1996 mega-event.

  • The Stone Roses, Spike Island, May 27, 1990. Now part of indie legend, The Stone Roses’ gathering-of-the-tribes gig at Spike Island was a musical event few bands have ever come close to matching. NME's reporter at the gig, Andy Fyfe, remembers it thus - "It had been hyped up for months before; endlessly emphasised that this was the defining moment of a generation – when rock meets rave, the point at which the music world was going to explode in one big group hug.” It didn't disappoint.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 25 May 2010

  • The Beatles' rooftop gig, January 30th, 1969. An impromptu performance atop the roof of Apple Studios. Classics such as 'Get Back' and 'Don’t Let Me Down' brought London to a standstill before the police famously pulled the plug on the performance. “I hope we passed the audition,” quipped Lennon. This was the last time that the Fab Four would perform together. Pic: Getty Images

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    Added: 23 Sep 2009

  • Blur, Hyde Park, London, July 2nd, 2009. After Graham Coxon’s 2002 departure it looked like Blur were finished - until 2008 when Coxon and Albarn patched up their differences and revealed plans for a short tour. The Hyde Park gig sold out in two minutes, prompting a second show, and bringing them to the attention of a whole new generation of fans. Pic: Andy Willsher

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    Added: 23 Sep 2009

  • Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock, August 18th, 1969. Hendrix closed the festival with a two-hour set, the longest of his career - although it only became the defining moment of the festival in hindsight. Barely anyone actually saw it, since he went onstage on Monday morning, after most people had left. Pic: Getty Images

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    Added: 23 Sep 2009

  • Muse, Wembley Stadium, London, June 16th, 2007. The group were the first artists to sell out the newly rebuilt Wembley Stadium. The band put on an elaborate show with lavish set pieces, including giant satellites and aerial dancers attached to balloons. Pic: Andy Willsher

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    Added: 23 Sep 2009

  • Arctic Monkeys, their first London Astoria gig, 2005. Selling out the venue in advance - all on the basis of one limited release single - Arctic Monkeys had arrived. “If anyone throws another fucking can we’re off!” commanded Alex Turner at one point, with Gallagher-esque confidence. Not a single other object was thrown. Pic: Simaon Sarin/Retna UK

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • Radiohead, Glastonbury 1997. What Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis called "the most inspiring festival gig in 30 years". Overcoming bad weather and an array of technical problems, the band hypnotised the audience with haunting renditions of new material from 'OK Computer' and older classics such as 'Creep'. Pic: PA Photos

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • Nirvana, Reading 1992. The last Nirvana gig on British soil. Parodying speculation about his mental health, Kurt Cobain was brought onto the stage in a wheelchair before joining the rest of the band and playing a powerful set of old and new material. Pic: Chris Taylor/Retna

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • Eminem, Manchester Evening News Arena, 2001. Striking fear into the hearts of 'Daily Mail' readers everywhere, Slim Shady ‘popped’ pills, faked his own execution and paraded the stage with his now iconic chainsaw and hockey mask. The controversial gig was picketed by more than 100 gay and woman’s rights protesters. Pic: PA Photos

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • The Strokes, London Astoria, February 3rd, 2001. The Strokes' London debut, playing as the first on the bill at an NME Awards show. Hyped as the most important band of the new millennium, the band showcased future hits 'Last Nite' and 'New York City Cops' from debut album 'Is This It', later voted by NME readers and writers to be the album of 2001. Pic: Richard Skidmore

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • The last ever London Astoria gig, January 14th, 2009. After a long campaign had failed to save the iconic venue from being bulldozed, Get Cape’s Sam Duckworth organised the final show. The line-up included spots from Frank Turner, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead and The Automatic, climaxing with a stirring group rendition of Bob Marley's 'Three Little Birds'. Pic: Nick Stevens/Retna

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • The Clash, London Rainbow Theatre, May 21st, 1977. Geared up by support acts, The Jam and the Buzzcocks, the crowd were almost frothing at the mouth by the time The Clash took to the stage. During opening song 'London’s Burning', the ecstatic fans refused to sit down and began to riot, ripping out over 200 seats in the process. Pic: Rex Features

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • The Who, Leeds University, February 14th, 1970. One of two shows organised specifically for the purpose of recording a live album. Due to technical failures the sound from the first gig at Hull was unusable and forced the band to rely upon the single Leeds performance. The New York Times called it “the best live rock album ever made”. Pic: Rex Features

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • Jay-Z, Glastonbury 2008. One of the most controversial headline acts in the history of the festival. Publicly criticised by Noel Gallagher prior to the performance, Jay-Z responded by walking onstage to Oasis’s 1995 hit Wonderwall, before ripping into '99 Problems'. The Times described this as Glastonbury’s “most thrilling headline act for more than a decade”. Pic: Danny North

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • The White Stripes, London 100 Club, August 6th, 2001. After much hype, The White Stripes finally unleashed their dirty Detroit blues on London. “Lubricious and lascivious, oozing sex and menace” said one critic, later dubbing them “the most vital band on the planet right now.” Pic: Andy Willsher

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    Added: 23 Mar 2009

  • The Last Shadow Puppets, Leeds Festival 2008. Alex Turner’s '60s-inspired collaboration with The Rascals' Miles Kane. Suited and booted, the duo performed alongside a 16-piece orchestra and enlisted the help of Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford on drums. A mature performance, hinting that Alex Turner had a lot more to offer than just the Arctic Monkeys. Pic: Tom Oxley

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • Morrissey, London Finsbury Park, August 1992. 'Legendary' for the wrong reasons. Morrissey draped himself in a Union Jack and performed in front of a backdrop image of two female skinheads. Playing songs such as 'National Front Disco', the restless crowd began throwing missiles. He ended his performance after nine songs and spent the next few years refuting accusations of racism. Pic: Alpha

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • Pulp. Glastonbury, 1995. Standing in for The Stone Roses who had pulled out, Pulp were greeted with sceptisicm from angry Roses fans. Jarvis Cocker swiftly rose above the beer-throwing to take the audience in the palm of his hand. A seminal Britpop moment that saw Pulp's career rocket and Stone Roses’ enter a tailspin. Pic: Alpha

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • Bob Dylan, Electric Newport Festival 1965. The famous moment when Bob Dylan went electric. The performance lasted 15 minutes before Dylan stormed off stage, overcome by the booing crowd, angered that he would turn his back on folk. He was later coaxed back on to perform two acoustic numbers. He didn’t return to the festival for 37 years. Pic: Getty Images

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • The Libertines, London Albion Rooms (Carl’s moving out party) April 2003. Dubbed the best new band in Britain. Pete and Carl would regularly put on impromptu gigs in their Bethnal Green flat. Pushed against kitchen cabinets and squashed onto sofas, fans and friends alike descended to see this last ‘gig’ in the so-called 'Albion Rooms' and await the inevitable police vans. Pic: Roger Sargent

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • Kings Of Leon, London Bush Hall, 2003. Long before selling out arena tours, Kings Of Leon were god-fearing, bearded curiosities. Turning the London venue into a dirty New Orleans bar they yelped their way through debut album 'Youth And Young Manhood', giving the packed out crowd an early taste of future classics such as 'Molly’s Chambers' and' Red Morning Light'. Pic: Jo McCaughey

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • Velvet Underground And Nico, The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, 1966. A multimedia show exhibiting the work of Andy Warhol alongside live performances from The Velvet Underground and dancing from infamous muse Edie Sedgwick. Warhol's involvement helped bring the band - then almost unknown - to the public’s attention. Pic: Rex Features

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • Gallows, Old Blue Last, London, December 3rd, 2008: “I wanna see fucking carnage,” bellowed Frank Carter after destroying a chandelier. A chaotic performance, which left the venue looking like the climax of 'Inglorious Basterds'. At one point, Carter attacked a male audience member for allegedly groping him. Pic: Tim Cochrane

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    Added: 23 Jan 2009

  • The Prodigy, Glastonbury 1995. The Prodigy stood out a mile on a line-up dominated by guitar-toting indie bands. “Glastonbury, are you ready to rock?” yelled Maxim Reality, unleashing their hybrid dance-punk and morphing the crowd into one of the biggest moshpits the festival had ever seen. Pic: Alpha

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • Pixies, Glastonbury 1989. Following the release of 'Doolittle', this gig confirmed Pixies' generation-defining brilliance. Starting their set with 'Bone Machine' they played their entire set in alphabetical order, ending with 'Where Is My Mind?'. Pic: Rex Features

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • Joy Division, Birmingham University, May 2nd, 1980. The band's last ever gig. Ian Curtis stumbled offstage towards the closing of the gig due to his increasingly uncontrollable epilepsy. The band played on without him and he re-emerged for final song 'Digital'. The gig also featured 'Ceremony', which went on to become New Order's debut single. Pic: Rex Features

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    Added: 01 Oct 2009

  • Black Sabbath, Veteran's Memorial Auditorium, Iowa, 1982. In an episode that has since entered metal lore, Ozzy bit off the head off a live bat, believing it to be a rubber toy. He was subsequently rushed to hospital at the end of the gig for a rabies shot. Silly boy. Pic: Rex Features

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    Added: 02 Oct 2009

  • The Flaming Lips, Glastonbury, 2003: Accompanied by dancing fans in furry animal costumes, The Flaming Lips gave a trademark eccentric performance. The Guardian called it a pop concert that, “could have doubled as performance art”. A fun and varied set that at one point had the entire crowd singing happy birthday to two audience members.

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    Added: 02 Oct 2009

  • Sex Pistols, River Thames, London 1977: The Sex Pistols blasting out songs as they sailed down the River Thames to ‘celebrate’ the silver Jubilee. Playing Anarchy in the UK whilst slowly drifting past the House of Parliament a defining moment of punk rock rebellion came as the gig ended with the boat being raided by police. Pic: Photoshot

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    Added: 02 Oct 2009