What makes a Legendary Performance?

I was thinking about our tagline on the way home from the American Country Awards in Las Vegas.  This topic is wide open for interpretation and discussion, so I hope you join in.

In my opinion, I had just witnessed a Legendary Performance when LeAnn Rimes sang a tribute to Patsy Cline, who had passed away tragically 50 years ago.  What made her performance legendary for me were several things:

  • LeAnn sang beautifully.  She sang confidently into a Shure Super 55 and her engineer said it sounded amazing in the mix truck. Her vocals were SPOT ON, her delivery was magical.
  • She received a standing ovation after the performance which moved her to tears.
  • I have known LeAnn for over 16 years and had just interviewed her backstage 2 days prior. Now I was watching her perform live for millions who were watching the broadcast at home.  The performance created quite a buzz after the show.  Google it and you’ll see. Here’s a video that someone captured off of their TV:

Another legendary performance for me was when I went to see Roger Daltrey perform for the first time at the Ryman Auditorium in 2009.  I arrived early and watched him walk onto that stage for the first time. While he was sound checking, I had a PSM900 beltpack tuned to his frequency and was walking around the venue listening to him sing a Johnny Cash tune while playing a acoustic guitar. It was so cool.  I felt like I was on stage right next to him. His band rocked the house!

Finally, I was there at the NAMM show on January 19, 2001 when the legendary group Spinal Tap performed to a packed ballroom in Anaheim, CA.  What made this day special for me as well was that I had the pleasure of escorting Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer around the NAMM show floor just hours before their awesome performance.  It was and remains one of the most talked about NAMM show performances to this day.

Harry, Ryan, Christopher, and Michael 2001

I decided to ask a few people who stopped by my office while I was composing this blog about some legendary performances they attended:

Lance Wascom (owner, Tour Supply)

“One legendary show for me was when I attended the Live 8 event in London at Hyde Park. What was unique for me about that show was that the day before, we brought out some free gear for some of the bands.  We had the privilege of watching Paul McCartney, U2, Elton John, Madonna, and The Who and other huge bands rehearse.   While they were rehearsing, about 20-30 people working in the venue would applaud after each song.

The last band to rehearse that day was Pink Floyd. This would be the first time in 25 that Roger Waters & David Gilmour would perform onstage together again. Suddenly, everyone at the venue became spectators and were upfront at the barricade watching their rehearsal.  After each song, about 2-300 people erupted in applause. Then to see 200,000 people at the show the next day was amazing.”

Bill “Rip” Mayes (Guitar tech for Toby Keith)

“When Prince played Coachella, there were 75,000 people there.   The other bands that were there were a different genre than Prince.   At the end of the show, though his time was up, he came back out because he needed to play “Purple Rain.” I’d never seen a crowd go so wild.”

Another event Mayes experienced:

“I was there when Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, Ronnie Dunn, Willie Nelson, and Sammy Hagar  performed at Oklahoma University stadium for Tornado Relief concert.  It was thrown together very quickly after the devastation happened. Seeing that many stars perform a benefit show was awesome to me.”

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So, where does Shure come in?  At the loading docks of every venue, of course. Shure was there and continues to be some part of almost every Legendary Performance.

Now, it’s your turn.  We want to hear about your favorite shows or why you think Legendary Performance applies to Shure.

Ryan Smith

Ryan is a Regional Manager of Artist Relations at the Shure office in Nashville, TN. He started at Shure in 1993 in Customer Service and joined the AR team in 1996. Ryan has over 30 years of performance experience playing drums and percussion in various groups and genres. In his spare time he enjoys woodworking, watching movies, videography, and camping with his family. His Twitter handle is @ryan_smith1969.

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