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15 of the best live streams and online virtual concerts

best live streams and online virtual concerts
(Image credit: R.E.M. / Glastonbury Festival)

Your favourite artists in your front room? Live streaming rock, opera, ballet, classical music and warehouse raves? It's all available on a screen near you thanks to the flood of live streams that have popped-up to help us all through these challenging times, and raise funds for Covid-19 relief efforts. 

The coronavirus pandemic has cancelled gigs, concerts, musicals, theatrical performances and club nights around the world, and forced people to stay home under lockdown, which has meant artists have had to get extra creative when it comes to finding an audience. 

Whether it be musicians, bands, actors, opera singers or DJs, people are taking to the internet to live stream performances, concerts, DJ sets and even mini-festivals in an effort to fill the live entertainment void.

Below you'll find our weekly round-up of some of the best live streams and virtual concerts we've spotted, from regular performances, to one-off gigs. And, thanks to the wonders of live streams on YouTube, Facebook, Twitch and Instagram, many of the shows will be available to watch long after the live version. 

R.E.M. at Glastonbury

Still not had your fill of Glastonbury online? You're in luck. Continuing celebrations around the 50th anniversary of the festival, R.E.M.’s historic headline set from the Pyramid Stage in 1999 will be released on Thursday 6th August. Fans can tune in for the YouTube premiere at 8pm BST (3pm EST). 

Watch R.E.M. at Glastonbury, 1999, on YouTube

Terminal V Connect

DJ set with a view? You can watch house music favourite, Patrick Topping, play from Calton Hill, the UNESCO world heritage site that overlooks Edinburgh. It's part of Terminal V Connect, a multi-platform streaming channel from Scottish festival Terminal V, which promises live, virtual and augmented reality streams from the world's leading electronic music artists. This one will be broadcast on Saturday 8th August at 8pm (BST). 

View the Terminal V Connect live stream

AIM Independent Music Awards

The biggest night in the independent music calendar will feature performances from UK rap frontrunners AJ Tracey and Little Simz, South London poet and singer Arlo Parks, as well as a special Tony Allen tribute performance curated by Ezra Collective’s Femi Koleoso. The event takes place on Wednesday 12th August, starting at 7pm (BST), and is available to stream for all for free. 

Watch the AIM Independent Music Awards online

Elton John

Elton John has taken a leaf out of Radiohead's book (see below), with the launch of a Classic Concert Series on his YouTube channel. Six concerts will be made available on YouTube for the first time. This week it's The Great Amphitheatre, Ephesus, Turkey from 2001, which will go live on Friday 7th August at 8pm (BST). Expect outlandish outfits and timeless tunes. 

Watch Elton John: Classic Concert Series on YouTube

The Record Club

Record Store Day UK, Official Charts and National Album Day have come together to launch The Record Club, a bi-monthly Facebook Live virtual club, taking place on every other Wednesday at 6.30pm (BST). 

Hosted by Jess Iszatt (BBC Music Introducing/BBC Radio London) and live streamed simultaneously across the Record Store Day UK, Official Charts and National Album Day Facebook feeds, the idea is to order each Record Club album ahead of the broadcast, listen to the album in full, and then come to the live feed armed with questions. 

View more details on the Record Store Day Facebook page

Royal Albert Home

The Royal Albert Hall – yes, the Royal Albert Hall – is hosting a series of Royal Albert Home performances over the coming days and weeks, which will see "artists sharing their work from their homes to yours". The free streaming programme already includes Rufus Wainwright, Peter Gregson, Brassed Off and many more, with plenty of performances still to come in August.

View the Royal Albert Home streaming programme

Head over to the Royal Albert Hall YouTube channel to watch

Radiohead

The band have been posting weekly classic concert videos to their YouTube channel, and while we have reached the end of these shows, they are still available to watch on YouTube. There are 12 At Home with Radiohead shows to enjoy.

View the concerts via the Radiohead channel on YouTube

Norah Jones

If you want to hear a soothing voice in these uncertain times, then you should head over to Norah Jones' Facebook page. Jones is still performing 'Live from the Living Room' on a regular basis. The streams are Thursdays at 10pm (BST), though there have been a few more impromptu performances, too.

View the live streams on Norah Jones' Facebook page

Boiler Room

One of the original names in live streaming is well-prepared for entertaining in isolation and has been quick to pull together a Streaming from Isolation series of broadcasts. Look out for regular live shows and classic sets from previous years. We can recommend Dixon's live stream, complete with mind-boggling visuals. There are a huge number of streams going live, so it's already a massive resource of live DJ sets and performances, including exclusive new shows from Job Jobse, Floating Points, Peggy Gou, Ellen Allien and more.

View the Boiler Room live streams on Facebook

View Boiler Room on YouTube

Metallica

Rock Gods Metallica have launched a concert series, #MetallicaMondays, which will see the band stream a complete Metallica live show on the group's YouTube channel and on Facebook every week. They don't seem to always be Mondays, but either way you can catch a whole load of Metallica concerts on YouTube now...

Watch Metallica Mondays on YouTube

Neil Young

Neil Young is keeping it in the family with his Fireside Sessions - his wife will be filming while he gives a live concert from his living room, presumably by the fire. It looks like his dogs could feature heavily, too. Young is promising a "down-home production, a few songs, a little time together", which sounds good to us. Find out more via the Neil Young website, see link below, and watch back earlier shows.

Watch Neil Young Fireside Sessions on Neil Young Archives

National Theatre

It may not be music but it is a special treat we think is worth sharing. The National Theatre's #NationalTheatreAtHome delivered some of the best British theatre to YouTube throughout lockdown. It began with James Corden in One Man Two Guvnors on 2nd April and the archive now includes Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream and plenty of behind-the-scenes content and interviews. The regular shows have stopped but there is still plenty of video content to enjoy, with more programmes promised.

Watch National Theatre At Home on YouTube

Marc Rebillet

When it comes to staggeringly talented artists performing live on Instagram, Marc Rebillet is an old hand. You really should be following his impromptu live jams on Instagram already but his promise to up his game during the coronavirus crisis is all the more reason to check him out. More of a Twitch fan? He's signed up there too to deliver his Quarantine Streams...

Marc Rebillet on Instagram

Marc Rebillet on Twitch

Wiener Staatsoper

How about world class opera and ballet for free, from the comfort of your favourite chair? Vienna State Opera is now opening its livestream archives. Wiener Staatsoper will broadcast Live at Home recordings of previous opera and ballet performances daily via its streaming platform. Streams start at 5pm or 7pm (CET), which is line with the opera house's usual performances, and they will remain available for 24 hours.

View the Vienna State Opera Live at Home streams

Katherine Jenkins

Time for something a little more relaxing? Welsh mezzo-soprano singer Katherine Jenkins is bringing her crossover classical brand to your home with live Facebook performances every Saturday night from 6pm (BST). She's been broadcasting live for 15 weeks (not continuously, don't worry) and is still going strong...

View Katherine Jenkins live on Facebook

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