Top 12 Live Shows of 2021

As in-person concerts and festivals largely returned, we soaked up as much live music as we could

Our 2021 Annual Report continues with our Top Live Shows list. As the year winds down, stay tuned for more awards, lists, and articles about the best music, film, and TV of 2021. You can find it all in one place here.

Not to be dramatic, but the absence of live music for the majority of 2020 was miserable. In the face of some serious global trauma, many of us were looking for a communal experience to lift us up. Yet, with each scary news headline came an even scarier thought: Would live music ever return? And when it did, would it be the same?

Lucky for us concertgoers, the first major wave of COVID-19 vaccinations in early 2021 allowed for us to visualize a world in which concerts could return safely, and as summer rolled around, we emerged from the fray and experienced live music again. The cathartic release of attending shows again was one thing, but paired with the massive output of musicians old and new throughout the pandemic, live music had never felt more current and unmissable.

The pandemic is by no means in the rearview yet, but as we look back on this year (and particularly this past fall), being able to see acts that we’ve been waiting to witness since 2019 is a sign that we should never give up hope.

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Whether it was BTS’ seismic show at SoFi stadium in Los Angeles, Foo Fighters opening up Madison Square Garden to full capacity, or even more intimate shows from newer acts like Samia and UPSAHL, each set meant more this year than ever before.

Alhough full-on moshing might have to wait until 2022, at least we had our chance to kick out the jams in 2021. Here are the favorite live performances that the Consequence staff saw this year, in alphabetical order.

— Paolo Ragusa
Editorial Coordinator


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