Don’t know why I had the urge to post about this, but I guess I was in the mood to make a list. So there.
10) Justin Timberlake – Like I Love You (2002)
9) Eminem – The Real Slim Shady (2000)
What I liked about this performance was Eminem’s “Don’t F with me!” attitude as he was walking into Radio City with a gazillion guys dressed like him. Still haven’t seen a grand entrance like this since.
8) Michael Jackson Tribute (2009)
I was shocked as hell when I heard the news Michael Jackson died, and then I worried about how this tribute was going to fly. But all the dancing and Janet showing up to kick ass during Scream—yeah, won’t ever forget it.
7) Puff Daddy/Sting/Faith Evans – I’ll Be Missing You (1997)
Speaking of dying, I wasn’t that shocked when I heard the news that Biggie Smalls was killed (especially after what happened to Tupac). However, I was shocked that I was moved to tears by a Puff Daddy performance. Didn’t think that was possible. Perhaps it was Biggie’s wife Faith Evans’ soulful, heartbreaking singing that got me choked up. Yep, that explains it.
6) Britney Spears – Oops, I Did It Again (2000)
I tried to learn the choreography to the Oops video one weekend at my friend Michelle’s apartment in DC. That sh*t was HARD! But Britney makes it all look easy on stage, including wearing flesh tones—not everyone can pull that off.
5) LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out (1991)
I swear to God, LL Cool J has not aged AT ALL since the 90s. Just watch NCIS: Los Angeles and see for yourself. Oh, and more to the point—this was the first time I heard rap music performed with live instruments and I absolutely LOVED it. Still do. I also love back-up dancers dressed like featherweight boxers.
4) The Beastie Boys – Sabotage (1994)
I had no idea the Beastie Boys could clean up like this, but damn, put suits on these guys and some shades and they suddenly become CLASSY. Also another shout out to live instruments in a rap song. What can I say? It works!
3) Nirvana – Lithium (1992)
Kurt Cobain. LIVE. Do I need to say more than that? Oh, wait, I do. The moment when Krist Novoselic throws his bass up in the air and it nails him on the head—PRICELESS.
2) Madonna – Vogue (1990)
Some people prefer Madonna’s Like A Virgin performance, where she rolls around on the stage in a sexy 80s wedding dress. But that’s not enough of a spectacle for me! I want PASSION! I want DRAMA! I want RENASSIANCE-ERA INSPIRED COSTUMES! Done, done, and DONE. Thank you, Madge.
1) Tom Petty – Freefalling (1989)
I was fourteen in 1989, and I remember that for weeks, MTV kept talking about this “special guest” for the finale in their promos. I stayed up extra late to watch it and was bummed when Tom Petty came out. Yeah, I liked Freefalling, thought it was a good song—but really MTV? You’ve been begging us to watch Tom Petty all this time? And then—BOOM—Axl Rose comes strolling out on stage, surprising the hell out of everyone and making our lives meaningful again. I will always remember standing up and punching a clenched, celebratory fist in the air.