Last week, YouTube announced a partnership with Music Vault that brought thousands of remastered, high-quality live performances to the platform. More than 13,000 of these concert clips, to be exact, spanning every rock legend of the last 50 years all the way to modern indie favorites (and even a baffling amount of Limp Bizkit.) No longer will late-night YouTube rabbit-holes be relegated to lo-fi bootlegs or shaky cell phone footage, huzzah! The partnership marks an initial step in YouTube’s increased interest in the music space.
Separate from their YouTube channel, Music Vault houses these videos on their site, which has some pretty handy search tools. The free service is operated by Wolfgang’s Vault, a company that started with the bootlegging site of the same name and is now the owner of Daytrotter and Paste Magazine, amongst other properties. Many of the clips are astonishingly rich in their video and sound quality, particularly when one considers how aged they are and how accustomed we’ve become to fuzzy fan-shot footage.
Frankly, it’s an overwhelming amount of content that music fans won’t know where to start with unless they were searching with a band or specific concert date in mind (there are also themed YouTube playlists). So we asked Bill Antonucci, Music Vault’s curatorial mastermind and content editor, to show us around with a few of his favorite videos through the ages, from Neil Young and Talking Heads to Wilco and Fleet Foxes. Click through for his picks.
Talking Heads — “Life During Wartime” (Capitol Theatre, 11/4/1980)
“This is arguably the best Talking Heads lineup, filmed while touring on arguably their best record, Remain In The Light. King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew takes this performance to another level.”
Neil Young with Crosby, Stills & Nash — “Roll Another Number” (Winterland, 10/4/1973)
“Neil Young makes a surprise appearance with CSN in 1973 and plays three previously unheard songs, including the Tonight’s The Night classic ‘Roll Another Number (For the Road).'”
Wilco — “I Must Be High” (Chicago, IL, 11/27/1996)
“A fresh-faced Jeff Tweedy and Wilco (with Jay Bennet, R.I.P.) play a hometown Chicago show in 1996, just one month after the release of second album Being There.”
Chicago — “25 or 6 to 4” (Tanglewood, 7/21/1970)
“Many people don’t know that before Chicago made the shift to cheesy soft-rock balladeers, they were a kick-ass rock band with one of the greatest guitarists of all-time. Need proof? Terry Kath’s guitar solo at 2:58 is just about as good as it gets.”
The Meters — “Welcome To New Orleans” (Saenger Theater, 5/30/1980)
“The funkiest band of all time, filmed in the funkiest city in the world. Come for the groove, stay for the amazing crowd shots. New Orleans fans definitely know how to get down.”
Fleet Foxes — “White Winter Hymnal” (Bottom of the Hill, 2/28/2008)
“This video, which comes from the Paste Magazine channel which hosts 4,000+ of our indie rock video offerings, captures the Fleet Foxes in their first-ever performance outside their hometown of Seattle. The band is clearly taken aback by crowd’s excitement. When members of the audience shout out requests, a very pleasantly surprised Robin Pecknold asks, ‘How do you know about these songs?'”
First Aid Kit — “Emmylou” (Paste Ruins at Newport Folk Festival, 7/28/2012)
“This is one of my favorite sessions from Paste Magazine’s Newport Folk Series. There aren’t many current bands that can harmonize like the Soderbergh sisters.”
John Fogerty & Friends — “Fortunate Son” (Oakland Coliseum Stadium, 5/27/1989)
“You can’t beat watching John Fogerty belt out Creedence classics with an all-star backing band featuring Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Steve Jordan and American-Idol Judge Randy Jackson on bass. Nice hairdo, dawg!”
Lynyrd Skynyrd — “Parking Lot” (10/31/1990)
“The Southern Rock sequel to Heavy Metal Parking Lot. I really hope the dude at :58 is still rocking and rolling at Skynyrd shows.”