Classic Rock Concert Films: The Ultimate Classic Rock Show Collection
At Qello Concerts, we love some of that big bad rock ‘n’ roll that shakes you to the core when you hear it. We love that feeling of getting our motors running to the super sounds of Steppenwolf, rocking like a hurricane with The Scorpions, putting our horns in the air for Sabbath, painting our faces for KISS, and chanting along for dear life with Freddie Mercury and Queen. We love our classic rock, and we have some of the best classic rock concerts and documentaries assembled into one beautiful classic rock package this month on Qello Concerts.
Here are a few of the top concert videos from the Massive Classic Rock collection:
AC/DC - No Bull, an iconic classic rock show
No Bull captures the over-the- top spectacle that was AC/DC's 1996 Ballbreaker tour, filmed at the Plaza De Toros De Las Ventas bullfighting arena in Madrid.
“Acca-dacca”, as the band is affectionately known in their homeland of Australia, is arguably the band with the biggest balls of all… seriously, their use of wrecking balls puts Miley Cyrus to shame, and let’s face it, they write, a lot… about balls: Big Balls, Great Balls, She’s Got Balls, Got You By The Balls, etc…
They also happen to be one of the most pure forms of energy on the planet: AC/DC have been touring pretty much non-stop since the early days in 1973, and they show few signs of slowing down. The “Thunder from Down Under,” as they are sometimes called, have over 2,000 concerts under their belt, and anyone who has been lucky enough to see them live, knows that they always deliver. This is, despite the fact that the band have gone through some crazy obstacles over the course of their career.
When original singer, (and a true Tasmanian Devil of a man, himself), Bon Scott, passed away tragically and suddenly at the age of 33 in February 1980, there was a lingering question about the future of the band, but along came Brian Johnson, whose voice became even more iconic and identifiable for the band, and AC/DC has been on an epic run ever since.
Despite taking some time off (when he was replaced by Axl Rose for a 2016 tour), vocalist Brian Johnson is now back with the band, and he’s got that fire in his belly. The band is also continuing without founding member, Malcolm Young, the original rhythm guitarist, who died in 2017 - but his brother Angus, the schoolboy-costume-wearing diablo who slays with killer guitar solos, is still in fine form, as you can see with his many iconic solos in this concert video.
It’s also important to note that drummer Phil Rudd has had his own issues over the years, having been accused in the courts of trying to arrange two contract killings! What??? Rudd was facing up to 10 years in prison had he been found guilty of the charge, but the charges were eventually dropped, and he is back behind the kit for the rock and roll gods!
If you want to see the band live in all their glory, check out No Bull - and for more AC/DC, check out the Family Jewels collection (speaking of balls).
Rush - R40, one of the best concert films
In the early 1970s, three unassuming young men from Willowdale, Ontario, got together to play some music in a garage - little did they know, in those early days, that they would go on to become the greatest power rock trio of all time!
Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and John Rutsey formed Rush in 1973, as high school friends who were really into Zeppelin. Their debut album was pretty much a very well executed tribute to the great Led Zep, and it caused a moderate buzz, but it wasn’t until Rutsey left the band, replaced by drummer Neil Peart, that Rush forged their true road to glory!
Neil’s audition was one for the books - when the tall, lanky drummer arrived with his drums in tow, he was pretty awkward and didn’t really fit the part. Then he sat at the kit. According to ultimateclassicrock.com, “Peart arrived at the tryout driving his mom's Ford Pinto, with his drums safely stashed in garbage cans. "I remember thinking, 'God, he's not nearly cool enough to be in this band,'" said guitarist Alex Lifeson in the film Beyond the Lighted Stage. But in spite of his questionable fashion sense, Peart's dextrous percussion skills won Lifeson over. "And then he started playing, and he pounded the crap out of those drums. He played like Keith Moon and John Bonham at the same time.'"
Armed with insane levels of musicianship, an endless supply of imagination, a constantly expanding creative drive, and stop-on-a-dime technical proficiency, Geddy, Alex and Neil went on to create some of the most iconic and recognizable music to come out of the great white north, pretty much ever.
Over the course of four decades, the band released over 30 albums, ranging from straight ahead rock to grandiose prog to new wave and even some reggae and synth rock mixed in - but their music always had that enigmatic quality - as Geddy sings in Spirit of Radio, “one likes to believe in the freedom of music,” and Rush gave their fans wings to soar along with them for decades.
For the band’s final tour, they decided to go back in time to create a concert experience that started in the present, and with each song on the setlist, they would go further back in chronology of the band’s releases. Rush filmed R40 Live over two sold-out nights at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre on June 17 and 19, 2015.
R40 Live features the three members of the band in peak form, performing a career-spanning live retrospective, celebrating their 40+ years together. The epic live shows by the celebrated Hall of Famers were captured with 14 cameras to present the band from every angle imaginable. If you haven’t seen Rush live, Rush-R40 is the next best thing. RIP to Neil Peart, the professor on the drumkit!
Journey - Live in Manila, a pure classic rock band moment
Fans of Journey can rejoice knowing the hard-rocking band are on tour again this summer, throughout North America, with friends like Toto and Anne Wilson of Heart. Journey are far and away one of the most celebrated American rock bands, owing a lot of their more recent success to TV shows like The Sopranos and Glee, but with deep roots to the San Francisco music scene of the 1970’s. In fact, original guitarist and founding member Neal Schon has been with Journey ever since the group was formed in 1973, and he is still the engine that keeps the Journey on track! Schon was originally a member of Santana’s band before forming Journey (he was just 15 years old when he joined Santana only a few weeks before performing at Woodstock!), so he’s got it in his blood.
To date, Journey has sold over 48 million albums in the U.S., making them the 25th best-selling band. They’re also one of the best-selling bands worldwide, with international sales hitting close to 90 million records, all thanks to the incredible songwriting of Schon and friends. Singer Steve Perry didn’t actually join the band until 1977, and when did, he took them to the stratosphere, with massive hits like Don’t Stop Believing, Separate Ways, Faithfully, etc… and Perry continued rocking out with the band for 21 years, until 1998, when he decided to pursue a solo career (not always a good idea), and then things got interesting for the band. When Steve Perry departed, he left a gaping hole, which would be hard to fill. Took a while to find the right fit, but then came YouTube. Yup, Youtube. The band ended up replacing Steve Perry with Arnel Pineda, a Manila-based singer from a Filipino Journey cover band, that Neal Schon discovered while watching covers of his own band on YouTube! In fact, it’s a bit of a new trend that has also allowed the band Yes to replace singer Jon Anderson with a Yes cover band singer from Montreal as discovered on YouTube - so, yeah, this is a thing!).
On March 14, 2009, Journey returned to Arnel Pineda's homeland and introduced him as their newest lead singer to a crowd nearly 30,000 strong at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds.
We posted a clip of Arnel fronting Journey on our TikTok page, and it generated a lot of discussions and heated debate. What do you think? Is Arnel as good as Steve Perry? Check out Journey Live in Manila and let us know what you think!
The Police - Certifiable, one of the best rock concerts
One of the most important, influential, and innovative bands to come out of the UK has to be The Police. The trio, made up of Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland were so inventive with their style that it was hard to actually define their sound which often toggled between pure pop bliss, raunchy punk aggression, rootsy reggae vibes, and the exciting sounds of new wave experimentation.
The Police are one of those rare bands that everyone likes (have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like The Police?). Maybe it’s Sting’s unique vocal style, the carefully crafted song catalog, Stewart Copeland’s incredible dexterity on the drums, or Andy Summers’ angular and spacey guitar playing - although, truth be told, it’s probably a combination of all of the above that makes them so special.
The band had its share of internal strife, too, over the years, though. They were only active for 7 years, because the members all had huge egos that got in each other's way, especially between Sting and Stewart Copeland (whose brother happened to be the band’s manager). The two band members almost came to blows at several instances. The straw that broke the camel’s back happened when the band couldn't agree on which drum machine to use for a session (as Stewart Copeland had broken his collarbone in a horseback riding accident and couldn't fulfill his drum duties until it all healed up). Things got so tense that during the recording of Synchronicity on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, each member recorded their parts in different rooms, not because it sounded better, but because they couldn't stand to be in the same room.
Following the Synchronicity tour, the Police took some time off, and returned in 1986 to play three Amnesty International benefit concerts. It didn’t go so well internally, again. Plans for an album were scuppered. The band eventually reformed in 2007, wowing audiences with their sustained musical prowess and a collection of timeless classics that translate so well live! Despite the fact that they didn’t get along, the tour was an unmitigated success! According to Steward Copeland, in an interview with The Guardian in 2020: “For Sting, music was a painkiller, an anesthetic, a way to escape from the evil, harsh, grim world, to a place of utter, unassailable, unblemished beauty,” he said. “For me, it’s a celebration: let’s light up this room and let’s have fun. This can overlap – we made five albums as The Police. But the conflict grew and grew, out of that diversity of purpose. And now we understand that, and Sting and I get along famously … as long as we’re not playing music!”
Luckily for us, that incredible tour was filmed for posterity. Recorded in Buenos Aires during the 30th Anniversary World Tour, Certifiable is the culmination of the phenomenal reunion of The Police. With a setlist that reads like the ultimate Police greatest hits show, the legendary trio performs all their classic tracks including 'Roxanne', 'Every Breath You Take', 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' and 'Message In A Bottle', you can relive the magic by clicking here.