Live shows give fans a front row seat to the passion, the focus, the energy of their favourite musicians. Live shows can also be unpredictable. Bands can change the album version of a track by making it louder, slowing it down, playing it acoustically, or doing it a cappella, for example. To elevate the show further, some bands will call on other musicians to perform with them on stage, giving fans a rare glimpse into the true art of collaboration. Here are some of my favourites.

“Under Pressure” – Queen, David Bowie and Annie Lennox. Wembley Stadium, London. 1992.

Queen and Bowie originally recorded this track in 1981. In 1991, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury passed away. He was most well known for his eccentricity in his stage presence, in his fashion, in his music. In 1992, the remaining members of Queen held The Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, where all proceeds went to fund AIDS research. They teamed up with a number of musicians, including Bowie and Lennox, who are both quite unique in their own right. From Lennox’s theatrics, to Bowie’s really green suit and oddly mismatched eyes, they gave one hell of a performance.

“Stan” – Eminem and Elton John. Grammy Awards. 2001.

Eminem surprised fans and I’m pretty sure the entire industry when he agreed to do a duet with Elton John. It was such a big deal because at the time, Eminem was being heavily criticized for his homophobic lyrics/attitude. To quiet all the naysayers, in lieu of Dido, he chose openly gay piano-playing Elton John to accompany him on his track “Stan,” at the 2001 Grammy Awards. It was a big moment for everyone, and they even hugged it out and held hands at the end. Take that haters.

“All Along the Watchtower” – Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. St. Paul, Minnesota. 2004.

In 2004, a slew of musicians got together for the Vote for Change Tour. The purpose was to play in all the swing states to encourage them to vote. The line up was different in every city, and St. Paul was the only one lucky enough to see these two rock Gods tackle rock legend Bob Dylan’s eternal classic. They share a mic, play guitar facing each other, and just seem like they’re having the best time ever. It’s kind of bromantic. Not to mention, they’re both over the age of 60, and manage to rock out like they’re still teenagers. Impressive.

“Crush” – Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds. Radio City Music Hall, NYC. 2007.

Dave Matthews of Dave Matthews Band is a genius on the acoustic guitar. Tim Reynolds is even better. He can master that instrument like nobody’s business. When you put the two of them together at Radio City Music Hall, what you get is pure ecstasy. Reynolds’ solos are fantastically fanatic, yet it’s as if he’s not even trying. Possibly one of the best versions of this DMB track I’ve ever heard; gives me chills every time.

“Glycerine” – Bush and Gwen Stefani. Gibson Amphitheatre, Los Angeles. 2012.

Gavin Rossdale of 90s post-grunge band Bush married Gwen Stefani of 90s rock band No Doubt. He was probably the sexiest man alive at the time and she, the sexiest woman. They created two gorgeous children, and after a ten year hiatus, Rossdale reunited the band and went on tour to support 2011’s The Sea of Memories. At a stopover at the Gibson Amphitheatre in L.A., the darling Gwen Stefani joined them on stage and she and her dear husband performed together. And it was adorable. They gushed over each other but it wasn’t gross; it was just so darn cute because everything about this couple is perfect. For someone who grew up in the 90s, this is a treat and a half.

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