There’s nothing like a hometown crowd to kick a gig into the next dimension and it’s no coincidence that many bands’ most seminal performances have been on home soil. Here are 15 of the best, because even when you’re a rock god, there’s no place like home.
Blondie wrapped up their ‘No Principals Tour’ in 2013 by playing the iconic Roseland Ballroom. It was a killer show for a group so synonymous with the New York aesthetic.
14 Primal Scream
Bobby and the boys returned to Glasgow at the end of 2013. Gillespie wore a sparkly top and roused the crowd in chants of classic tracks like ‘Loaded’ and ‘Rocks’.
13 Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney ended his homecoming show in Liverpool by falling off the stage, according to reports at the time. He played Liverpool Echo Arena in December 2011 and played a whopping 42 songs by The Beatles, Wings and various covers.
12 Kaiser Chiefs
Kaiser Chiefs played a 35,000 capacity homecoming show at Leeds United’s Elland Road in May, 2008. Taking the stage to loud football-style chants from the audience, the band ironically kicked off their biggest ever gig with ‘Everything Is Average Nowadays’. Guests included The Cribs and Mark Ronson on the tambourine.
Having played all over the world during the Mrs Carter Presents… tour, Beyoncé returned to her adopted home, Brooklyn, NY (after moving out of Houston, Texas). Here’s a strange fact: Bey and her mother Tina opened the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at the Brooklyn Phoenix House, offering a seven-month cosmetology training course for men and women in 2010.
10 Arctic Monkeys
After becoming the biggest band in the world, Arctic Monkeys returned to their birthplace, Sheffield, the town so inextricably linked with their identity, in 2013. The local heroes played the Motorpoint Arena with ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ the highlight.
Elbow played the biggest show of their career at the Manchester MEN Arena in 2009 after the release of highlight album ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ which won the Mercury Award. It was a massive show that marked the end of a run of festival spots made particularly special by the location.
Blur made their live comeback in June 2009 after 10 years away, playing an absolutely tiny “friends and family” gig at a Railway Museum near Colchester, near where Damon Albarn grew up. It was the scene of the band’s first ever public performance 20 years earlier. They played a huge set that opened with ‘She’s So High’ and closed with ‘The Universal’.
Muse formed in Teignmouth, Devon in 1994 and 15 years later after achieving phenomenal global success, they return to their home town for a couple of triumphant shows. It was the year the band won NME’s Best British Band and released ‘The Resistance’. They played in The Den.
“In the street when I’m walking around with my kids people were saying to me, ‘Mate that was life-changing’. It just had a huge effect on the city, for that reason it was the most amazing day ever,” said Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno of the band’s enormous Leicester homecoming show last summer. A week later, they’d go on to headline Glastonbury, but the sheer joy of the atmosphere in Victoria Park was where the band were truly crowned.
5 Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers performed in their home town Blackwood for the first time in 25 years in 2010. They played the Miners Institute in January for Radio 2. “I don’t think we have done a gig there in the little theatre since 1987, my misspent Jimmy White-esque years!” said Nicky Wire.
4 Jay Z
Jay Z returned to his hometown in 2003 for his ‘retirement’ gig. It was an epic event and the rapper was joined on stage by hip-hop’s finest Mary J. Blige, Beanie Sigel, Ghostface Killah, Foxy Brown, Memphis Bleek, Missy Elliott and Jay Z’s wife-to-be, Beyoncé.
Kasabian were one of the support acts at Oasis’ massive show at Heaton Park in 2009. The band triumphed against severe technical difficulties to play a notorious 23-song set finishing off with their cover of The Beatles’ ‘I Am The Walrus.’
The Oxford gig in South Park lives on in Radiohead fan’s memories as a cult show – and for Radioheads who weren’t there, a thorn in their side. It was a triumphant hometown gig that found Radiohead in incandescent, powerhouse form, even encoring with ‘Creep’…
1 The Stone Roses
The Stone Roses played their first major UK shows for 16 years in 2012 when they returned to Heaton Park in Manchester. It was an epic return and the show was followed by a spectacular firework display to the blaring out of ‘Redemption Song’.