Top 10 Live Shows of 2022

Our 2022 Annual Report continues with our list of the Top 10 Live Shows of the Year. As the year winds down, stay tuned for more awards, lists, and articles about the best music, film, and TV of 2022. You can find it all in one place here.

It’s been a rocky few years for the live music industry. There was that whole “gap” year, the tentative return in 2021, and then the full on explosion that occurred over the last 12 months. Concerts came back with a vengeance, with our favorite artists, acclaimed newcomers, and formerly retired icons all returning to the stage.

But the resurgence has been something of a double-edged sword. After the extended pause, the long-fissuring cracks in the way touring functions as a money-making enterprise became starkly apparent. From ticketing fiascos to the pressures placed on musicians, the dark side of the concert industry was laid bare, revealing a business model in desperate need of reform.

Of course, it’s far from the only element of music finances that is overdue for a change. Yet despite all the obstacles, hundreds of performers put themselves out there night after night for their fans. Whether it was rare one-off shows or massive global treks or venue-seizing residencies, artists delivered time and again for audiences big and small.

Which only goes to show that this is an art form worth cherishing — and thus worth fighting for. If Joni Mitchell can come back from an aneurysm to sit with a group of all-star guests and sing her hits, we can create healthy concert environments. If Zack de la Rocha can tear his Achilles tendon and still play a month of gigs with Rage Against the Machine, we can fix touring payment structures.

How we do all that isn’t exactly clear, and it’s certainly going to take some work by people with much bigger paychecks than we get. But if the glut of incredible concert experiences in 2022 is any indication, it’s work that’s more than worth doing. Here are 10 live shows from the year that made that more clear than ever.

— Ben Kaye
Editorial Director

Ed. note: Check out a photo gallery featuring more images form the shows at the bottom of this page.