Pop artists have a reputation for producing music that is fun and entertaining, but rarely emotionally moving, especially outside of the magic of the studio. I have been moved to my core on several occasions, however, by artists who infuse powerful and real emotion into their live performances. I thought I'd share my five faves on this frigid morning. Click on the links to relive the magic :)
5) "Because of You" - Kelly Clarkson: The charm of that low-budget first Idol season was how the contestants seemed just like you. So when Kelly peformed a song she wrote as a kid live at the Grammys after an amazingly successful year, it was like watching your friend live her dream. The kicker was the "I've always dreamed of performing at the Grammys" video intro of a young Kelly.
3) "Falling Slowly" - Kris Allen: I was Team Kris from his first song, but my friends were all Team Adam. I had many an argument with my sis about her lack of a soul, until this performance. The second it ended, my phone rang, with my sister crying and apologizing on the other end. On a night of cliche and over-indulgent movie songs, Kris picked one with true heart and soul, and it was the perfect vehicle for the world to hear just how moving his voice can be. Team Kris, ftw.
2) "Live to Tell" - Madonna: This song wasn't a fave until the Confessions Tour, when it blew me away. When someone pretends to be Jesus at a church play, they do it to inspire people through the tale of someone who died for others. Madonna was doing the same thing, but instead used the analogy to suggest how Jesus would want us to help people, particularly children. The imagery and music combined to from an inspirational masterpiece.
1) "Glitter in the Air" - P!nk: Everything about this exhuded vulnerability, bravery, and authentic emotion. The raw, imperfect vocals, the nude jumpsuit, and most beautifully, the seemingly-effortless and stunning movements of her body as she dangled from only sheets. She sang of fighting your fear and pride to achieve those rare and incredibly beautiful moments in life, no matter how brief or risky they may be. You could see the awe in the faces of everyone in that auditorium, just as easily as you could see the tears on mine.
There you have it. Which performances have inspired you?