Steve Martin on the Power of Live Music

Question: What have been your most memorable concerts?

Steve Martin: I would say when the Beastie Boys pulled off the first Tibetan Freedom concert- that immediately comes to mind. Not that anybody’s performance was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen that time- just because they got a hundred thousand people into Golden Gate Park and just did this thing that started essentially with Adam Yauch just borrowing phones from, you know, desk space in my office around the corner, ‘cause he lived there around the corner at the time. That was a really super special day. What else? Well, the show I just saw this weekend- the Foo Fighters at Wembley Stadium- you know, they just played two nights there and it was the biggest rock show attendance ever at Wembley Stadium- it was more than Live Earth- it was more than the original Live Aid. They’re just incredibly huge in the UK, for whatever reason, and- mostly because of their hard work. I mean, each time- I found myself going to a lot of their shows in the UK just because it always seems like the biggest show that’ll ever play there. I’ve seen them at Wembley Arena, then Earl’s Court- - unfortunately, I missed the Hyde Park show they did where they did eighty-five thousand people, too, but then- yeah, they did the two nights at Wembley Stadium and for the last encore, they did two Led Zeppelin songs, Rock ‘n Roll and Ramble On, with John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page joining them, so since I couldn’t be at the Led Zeppelin reunion at the 02 last December, I was- that was the closest I could get to it. There’s definitely been- I mean, some of the artists I’ve worked with- I mean, some of the like- Radiohead and Arcade Fire shows- in all fairness to everybody, there’s been a lot of shows that have just been really special, but those are two particularly transcendent shows- oh, you know what else I would say would be Gorillaz’s Demon Days Live thing- I don’t know if you ever saw those shows. There’s a DVD, if you get a chance to see it- what they did was- they created a- sort of an imaginary- you know, it’s an imaginary cartoon character band, and they created a tribute show to the band, and I went to see that premiere of it at Manchester, and I had no idea of what to expect, and I was just blown away. I went and I stayed an extra day to see it again and then they did a week of shows at the Apollo in 2006, and I remember, you know, I remember hearing Damon Albarn, who co-created the Gorillaz, saying that that was the- of all the stuff he’s done with Blur and Molly and all this different stuff, that was like the most incredible musical experience of his career.

The Tibetan Freedom concert was a milestone event.

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