The Huddle: Our favorite live performers

Some performers just have that certain something when they perform live on stage. Who are your favorite performers to see live in concert?

Ali Davis: Janelle Monaé! She is so, so, so much fun to see live. Great set of pipes, and you can’t believe she has that much energy and yet you want her to keep going forever and ever. Her live show is smart and clearly meticulously thought out, but still somehow just bursting with the sheer joy of being on stage and connecting with a live audience.

Plus when I saw her at the Hollywood Bowl, there were two lesbians on a shy-girl first date in the row in front of us and by the end of the night they had their arms around each other. I can state without reservation that Ms. Monaé caused them to fall in love.
Janelle Monae And Wondaland Present The EEPHUS Tour - Atlanta, GA
Emily McGaughy: Stevie Nicks and the Wilson sisters (Ann & Nancy from Heart) hands down. I grew up listening to 70s and 80s rock and latched on to these women at a young age. There was something about their voices that attracted me in a way I couldn’t explain. I wasn’t able to see these ladies live until my 20s and fully expected to see low energy shows—considering they’ve been touring longer than I’ve been alive. But, all three are master performers and have a way of grabbing the audience—even after touring for decades. I’m such a die hard fan that I have a portrait of Stevie Nicks that my wife tattooed on me and will be adding portraits of Ann and Nancy soon.
Kim Hoffman: If I could draw a line, and put one person on top and then let the rest fall where it may, there’d be a throne draped in black lace for Steve Nicks. I could watch her glide about the stage in circles, shaking her tambourine, literally day or night, just take me there. Mick Fleetwood, screaming like a magician into the mic, behind his drums—just fucking killing it with delight, and Lindsey Buckingham, that Libra sex machine in his tight jeans as he shreds on his guitar and howls out at us. So, um (coughs) now that I’ve said my peace on who sets the bar for holy, chills all over your body, on another planet, connective live performances.
Other certain somethings that make live performances THE best: Tegan and Sara, for their decades of YouTube worthy banter/storytelling/dancing/fetching giant bras/telling homophobes to get lost/closing their eyes/biting their lips. Courtney Love for just walking out onstage and being like, “Hey, guys I love gay people, and if you don’t—fuck you!” New Kids on the Block, because attending one of their concerts is like being transported back in time to Beatlemania, where the screaming girls reach a deafening dizzy, the boys thrust and dance and spin around on stage like they’re 16, and being a Joey fan means as a kid, I found his style to be in line with how, today as an adult, I pick out hot girls to be in relationships with. (You guys, his ’90s looks were so dope.) Also, I just saw Kimya Dawson live the other night and it was life-changing and warm and insightful and inspiring. There were so many queer humans there sharing that space. (It was at a church.) (Admitting it: It felt really awesome/liberating to drink and swear and be stoned in a church since the last time I was in church was when I was a closeted, sober Jewish teenager at catholic high school.)
Fleetwood Mac Perform At Genting Arena In Birmingham
Bridget McManus: Melissa Etheridge is absolutely outstanding live in concert.
Daniela Costa: I second Bridget on Melissa Etheridge. She rocked Toronto with her performance at last summer’s World Pride opening ceremonies. To throw another act into the mix, I’m going to go with Uh Huh Her as well. I really dug their vibe.
Dara Nai: Melissa Etheridge. She has slowed down a little these days, talking between songs and stuff, but unlike the auto-tune gen, she can really sing. Cyndi Lauper and Paula Cole are two more performers whose pipes have to be heard live to be believed. They don’t need lasers and dancers and 27 costume changes. The music will stay with you for years. Incredible.
Melissa Etheridge Performs At The Bardavon 1869 Opera House
Dana Piccoli: Ingrid Michaelson, but specifically Ingrid with Bess Rogers and Allie Moss. The combo of those three women on stage together is pure magic. Also, Tori Amos is so ridiculously good in concert. I cried like a baby when I saw her again last year. Some people just have a special something.