As much as we love the democratic nature of YouTube — the way cable-quality clips sit right alongside digitally enhanced DIY productions — one troubling development has been the rise of downright awful cellphone videos at concerts. We’ve all been there before: coaxed by a bit of click bait promising front row footage of new songs by, say, Morrissey, only to find the muffled sound and shaky frames severely lacking in the quality control department.
Enter Music Vault, a YouTube channel that’s spent the past two years remastering more than 13,000 shows that cut across countless genres and scenes from the past five decades. Why, in the past 24 hours alone, they’ve shared everything from a two-hour Lou Reed performance to song-length selections from R.E.M., The Band (with Joni Mitchell and Neil Young!), and We Are Augustines. Something for everyone then, right down to the inclusion of more questionable material like Insane Clown Posse, Limp Bizkit and KoRn.
“Fans can expect a front-row seat to some of the greatest rock & roll performances of all time,” content editor Bill Antonucci told Rolling Stone, “Bruce Springsteen on the Darkness Tour in 1978, the Who at Tanglewood in 1970, the Allman Brothers at the Fillmore East in 1970. These are legendary musicians captured at the peak of their powers.”
And if you’re worried about a lack of new material, Antonucci promises a constantly updated archive that also dips into popular indie acts like St. Vincent and Deer Tick. In the meantime, here are some playlists to help make sense of it all…