the anti V brigade

good acoustics. by hucks
November 19, 2006, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Music

mtvunpluggedlogo.jpgJust a little history to kick things off: way back before the people at Music Television forgot what the “M” in “MTV” stands for (and flooded the network with stupid “reality” shows 24/7), there was an excellent programme called MTV Unplugged. Featuring rock musicians in an intimate, stripped-down setting, it showed just what they could do if there ever was a power failure during one of their concerts.

Since its inception in 1989, Unplugged has seen its share of memorable performances from all sorts of singers and bands, ranging from the classic (Eric Clapton) to the pretty good (Nirvana), and to the just plain weird (Jay-Z). Today, I feature five of my favourite performances from the series.

Who: Eric Clapton
What: “Layla”
When: January 16, 1992
Where: Bray Studios, Windsor, England

This was the performance that brought MTV Unplugged into the spotlight. Mr Slowhand aka Eric Clapton had been known for many years as an electric guitar maestro, but when he sat down with his trusty Martin acoustic in January 1992, the world sat up and felt the power of good acoustics. Heavily influenced by the blues, Clapton played old standards as well as major re-interpretations of his own songs. Everyone knows “Tears In Heaven”, but the showstopper was most definitely “Layla”, with its kickass hook and jawdropping solo.

Who: Oasis
What: “Don’t Look Back In Anger/Talk Tonight”
When: August 23, 1996
Where: Royal Festival Hall, London, England

Who’s the better singer in Oasis, Liam or Noel Gallagher? This edition of Unplugged settled the debate once and for all. With Liam out of action with a throat infection (which relegated him to audience member status, with beer in hand no less), Noel and his Takamine (damn nice guitar!) carried the band through an awesome set of songs from their first two albums and a couple of B-sides and covers. Here, they do their hit single of that time “Don’t Look Back In Anger”, and also arguably my favourite Oasis track, the lovely “Talk Tonight”, which was one of the songs that inspired (!) me to pick up the guitar. A definite must-watch!

Who: Nirvana
What: “About A Girl”
When: November 18, 1993
Where: Sony Music Studios, NYC

Recorded exactly 13 years and one day ago, this was one of Nirvana’s last performances before frontman Kurt Cobain took his own life. I remember watching this on a music programme on TV way back then; heck, I even had the cassette tape. Consisting mainly of little-known songs by the band, “About A Girl” was the lead single from the album, which was released a few months after Cobain’s death. Things to look out for in the video include Kurt’s hairy cardigan, the 2.01m-tall bassist, and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl playing the drums with two spatulas.

Who: Jodeci
What: “Lately”
When: February 6, 1993
Where: Universal Studios, LA

You might not have heard of Jodeci before, but remember “All My Life”? Yeah, that really cheesy love ballad that went “All my life/I prayed for someone like you”? Well, two members of Jodeci (the brothers K-Ci and JoJo) went on to do that one… but years before that, they were a R&B group of some repute. This performance of a Stevie Wonder classic is probably the first and only time you’ll see a performer shirtless on stage, heheh. But man, can these dudes belt it out beautifully. Gangstas can sing ballads one, okay.

Who: 10,000 Maniacs
What: “Because The Night”
When: April 21, 1993
Where: Sony Music Studios, NYC

Natalie Merchant is one of my favourite female vocalists; her voice is really unique and powerful. This was her last contribution as a member of the alt-rock band 10,000 Maniacs, and what an impression she left! I don’t have many words to describe this song… but the folksy tune and Natalie’s voice are simply classic.

For the full lists of artistes who have performed on MTV Unplugged over the years, click this link.

– hucks


9 Comments so far
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i recall watching the cranberries on one of those unplugged sessions a decade ago and they were magnificent…and Dolores O’Riordan with her long flowing locks for that performance was fit as fuck.god bless the 90s!

Comment by Wummy

i liked the corrs unplugged.

Comment by ah neh

ewww! haha. their acoustic performances all sound exactly the same.

Comment by huckerby

If I had the money I’d go to the Clapton concert just to watch him perform ‘Layla’ live. *Sobs*

Comment by Pre

wait am i on the wrong channel or should it be Tusic Melevision.

Comment by ah neh

Dont worry… If u want to watch eric clapton, i’ll pay for the both of us 😉

Comment by The Banker

the both of US you mean…cunt

Comment by Wummy

No no… the both of US excluding Wummy.

Comment by The Banker

WUMmmy aka Free Loader

Comment by The Consultant

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