25 Performers You Must See Before You Die

willie nelson on stage playing guitar while wearing a cowboy hat
Arrington, VA/USA - 9/7/2014 : Willie Nelson performs at LOCKN' Festival in Arrington, VA. Image from Shutterstock.

We all have a bucket list of things we want to accomplish before our time on this earth is over, whether it’s skydiving, swimming with dolphins, or some crazy stunt just to say that you have, even if it’s what leads to the end in the first place. For music fanatics, there is a whole other bucket list to consider, as nothing quite matches the experience of watching a phenomenal talent perform right in front of your eyes. There is just something about being in their presence, witnessing them in their element, and singing along as they sing your favorite song that doesn’t compare to anything else. 

Unsure of where to start to have that ultimate moment? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are 25 performers you must see before you die. 

1. The Cure

performers you must see before you die
The Cure. Photography by Dylan Novacek.

From Three Imaginary Boys to Seventeen Seconds, The Cure has changed and evolved their sound over the years since they first appeared on the scene in 1978. Adopting a sound that reached punk, new wave, and even the gothic rock lovers of the day, the band has only continued to broaden its appeal to many audiences. If that weren’t enough to convince you to try them, the fact that in 2019, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is surely the icing on the cake of why these are performers you must see before you die. 

Related: The Cure Captivates in Saint Paul

2. Boston

a boston record cover with a spaceship on it
Image from Shutterstock.

If you’re a lover of hard rock and a baby of the late 1970s and 1980s (or even a wannabe 70s or 80s baby), then you can’t get much more popular than Boston. Sadly, you’ll be getting a slightly different sound than the OG lovers of the band got since longtime lead singer Brad Delp died in 2007. The band has continued to carry on, however, with many providing lead vocals since then throughout the various tours, most notably Tommy DeCarlo.

3. Stevie Nicks

Stevie nicks facts
Stevie Nicks arriving for the 2011 Glamor Awards, Berkeley Square, London. 07/06/2011 Picture by: Alexandra Glen / Featureflash on Shutterstock.

While Fleetwood Mac was what Stevie Nicks is famous for in her own right, you have to admit the band is what it is because of Nicks. That’s why, if all you can see is Stevie Nicks, then you’ve crossed off another one of the performers you must see before you die. You’ll be sure to be impressed by the “Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll” as she pulls out all the stops with “Landslide,” “Dreams,” and “Edge of Seventeen.” With that kind of lineup, all we can say is that we can see why she became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice (1998 with Fleetwood Mac and 2019 as a solo artist). 

Related: 14 Best Stevie Nicks Songs

4. Led Zeppelin

robert plant on stage singing in 2019
Image from Shutterstock.

When it comes to the performers you must see before you die, there is no doubt that this entry may be the absolute hardest to achieve. Led Zeppelin, as a group, hasn’t been active since the 1980s when they parted ways following the death of drummer John Boham. It’s not been uncommon in the past, however, for many beloved bands to find themselves reuniting. 

Considering that in October 2020, band members agreed to appear in the documentary film Becoming Led Zeppelin, you never know. A reunion performance could be next. If that day does come, be sure to have your wallets ready, as it’s sure to cost a bundle but worth every penny. 

Related: The History of the Greatest Musicians of All-Time: Led Zeppelin

5. The Beach Boys

the beach boys album cover
Image from Shutterstock.

If you’re one that craves that California sun and want to listen to some good music to bring those “Good Vibrations” to life, then you better put The Beach Boys on your bucket list of performers you must see before you die. With all the classic hits like “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” “Barbara Ann,” and more, that’s a concert that you’ll be rocking out to all night long. What will be even more special is that this is one group that, even all these years later, you’ll be getting a taste of what fans have loved from the beginning as original members Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine are still going strong, either with the band or on solo jaunts. 

Related: Who Are the Beach Boys?

6. Aerosmith

bands that still tour but should have hung it up the band aerosmith performing on stage in front of a crowd
Image from Shutterstock.

Spend one night with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer, and Brad Whitford, aka Aerosmith, and you’ll be in the presence of rock and roll heaven. Deemed by many as “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band,” Aerosmith is the best-selling American hard rock band of all time, and you’ll be sure to find out why as they flawlessly bring you hits like “Walk This Way” and “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” You better hurry, though; the band is currently on its Peace Out: The Farewell Tour, and there are only a few spots left in its shows for 2024. 

Related: Steven Tyler’s Net Worth: How Rich is the Aerosmith Founder?

7. Green Day

billie joe armstong, the lead singer of the band green day on stage singing
Image from Shutterstock.

Here is one entry on our list of performers you must see before you die that may be fairly easy to obtain as Green Day is still consistently going on tour and even releasing new music. In fact, The Saviors Tour, to promote their upcoming 14th studio album, Saviors (2024), will be just the latest opportunity. Then, perhaps, you’ll find out why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said during their induction in 2015 that “Green Day yanked punk rock out from the underground and into the mainstream. However, the band proved that the music could still sound rebellious (and be politically minded) despite being accessible and popular.” 


the band kiss record next to the record cover
Image from Shutterstock.

Be prepared to don white and black paint and stick your tongue out as far as it can go if these performers you must see before you die are on your bucket list. KISS may have recently completed their farewell tour, but it’s not the first time they’ve done so, having first said they would be embarking on their final tour in 2019. While the COVID-19 pandemic had a part to play in the delays, I wouldn’t count the chance to see them perform one day completely out.

When you do see them, there will be nothing like that original sound, described as “a commercially potent mix of anthemic, fist-pounding hard rock, driven by sleek hooks and ballads powered by loud guitars, cloying melodies, and sweeping strings.”

Related: 18 Wild and Shocking Facts About the Rock Band KISS

9. The Who

a the who album
Image from Shutterstock.

Who are the Who, you ask? Well, we’d encourage you to find out and find out quick, as this is one band on our performers you must see before you die list who has called it quits more than once. While they’re on their longest stretch yet, remaining active since 1999, you never know where the “I Can See for Miles” hitmakers will draw the line yet again. 

Related: Long Live The Who

10. Beyonce

singers you didn't know had kids beyonce in concert
Image from Shutterstock.

They don’t call her “Queen Bey” for nothing. Even after years in the spotlight, Beyonce is the hottest act in music, with Rolling Stone naming her “one of the greatest vocalists of all time.” We can see why. With the record for the most Grammy Awards won by any artist (32), it seems as though having the chance to hear a live performance of “Run the World (Girls),” “Halo,” or “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” is enough to make our life feel complete. 

Related: Is Beyonce a Billionare?

11. Bon Iver

a male drummer playing the drums
Image from Shutterstock.

Here’s a slightly more obscure entry on our list of performers you must see before you die, as they have not been around nearly as long as some of our other entries. Nonetheless, Bon Iver has quickly solidified their status in the music world with such songs as “Skinny Love” and “Lost in the World” with Kanye West. Therefore, you will surely be satisfied if you want to add them to your “must-see” list.

Related: Bon Iver releases new album i,i now available for streaming

12. Foo Fighters

the foo fighters band
Image from Shutterstock

For nearly the last three decades, the Foo Fighters have been a staple of rock music. And to think, they may not have ever been started had it not been for the breakup of Nirvana. Considering their multiple Grammy Awards, their inaugural win of the “Global Icon” award at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards, and the fact that they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame within their first year of eligibility (2021), we don’t think there is anything to say why they shouldn’t be on a list of performers you must see before you die. 

Related: Dave Grohl’s Net Worth

13. Red Hot Chili Peppers

anthony kiedis on stage holding a microphone
Image from Shutterstock.

Go see the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform live, and you’ll be walking out as red hot on their rock sound as they are. The Los Angeles band, which has been going strong since 1982, has been the source of some of the most popular songs in rock and has continued to influence genres of music and artists alike, although none can seem to live up to them in the end.  

Related: Red Hot Chili Peppers Heat up U.S. Bank Stadium

14. Eagles

don felder playing guitar onstage
Image from Shutterstock.

Let’s mix in a little bit of country rock into our list of performers you must see before you die with the Eagles. While they’re like other bands on our list who have seen several instances of calling it quits as well as multiple member changes, the sound of the Eagles has never failed to deliver. No matter who is fronting things, you’ll be getting nostalgia all night long as you hear them take the stage with hits like “One of These Nights,” “Take It to the Limit,” and “Lyin’ Eyes.” 

Related: 10 Best Eagles Songs of All Time

15. Willie Nelson

willie nelson playing guitar on stage
Image from Shutterstock.

Willie Nelson is one entry on our list that you don’t only want to make sure you see before you die, but you better get your tickets before he does. Even at 90 years old, the “On the Road Again” singer has shown no signs of slowing down, proving that he is a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. With that in mind, if you obtain tickets to one of his shows, you’re sure to be in for an experience like no other.  

Related: Willie Nelson’s Net Worth

16. Ringo Starr

ringo starr on the red carpet wearing a black jacket
KIEV, UKRAINE – JUNE 3: Ringo Starr during his concert tour in Kiev, Ukraine on June 3, 2011. Image from Shutterstock.

You may not ever get to hear the Beatles perform together again, but you do still have the opportunity to see two of its members in the flesh. Ringo Starr is one of them. As one of the greatest drummers in the business, he has continued to find mainstream success as a solo artist, releasing several EPs, with the most recent, Rewind Forward, on October 13, 2023. You certainly don’t want to miss the chance to find out why he’s such a highly regarded musician and singer if you don’t have to. 

Related: Ringo Starr: Peace and Love with the Greatest Rock n’ Roll Drummer

17. Paul McCartney

paul mccartney playing guitar on stage
Image from Shutterstock.

Then, of course, there’s the Beatles’ legendary bassist, Sir Paul McCartney. As primary songwriter and lead vocalist alongside the late John Lennon, there is no way the Beatles would have been the Beatles without him. 

While the Beatles, along with the other groups he was involved in, notably Wings, ultimately parted ways, McCartney has never let his career slow down. Even during lockdown when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he released a solo album of “reinterpretations, remixes, and covers” called McCartney III Imagined. With it, he demonstrated his multiple talents, playing every instrument featured. 

Related: Paul McCartney Biography

18. Bob Dylan

bob dylan on stage wearing a hat and playing piano
BENICASSIM, SPAIN – JULY 13: Bob Dylan performs at FIB on July 13, 2012 in Benicassim, Spain. Festival Internacional de Benicassim. Image from Shutterstock.

Much like fellow performers you must see before you die entry, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan is another one you might also want to get sooner rather than later. Although he’s still going strong in his early 80s, there is no guarantee that you have time to spare. As a pop culture icon with a six-decade-long career, there will be nothing quite like being there live as he sings such songs as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’” as well as his more recent work like “Murder Most Foul” (our fingers are still crossed that he’ll play it!). As he said himself when it was released in 2020, “Stay safe, stay observant, and may God be with you.” 

Related: Bob Dylan’s Net Worth

19. Janet Jackson

most viral moments in music janet jackson performing with backup dancers
Image from Shutterstock.

You may just want to have Janet Jackson on your list of performers you must see before you die simply by name association, but make no mistake; she is well worth the money. The youngest of the Jackson siblings goes all out and is well-known for her elaborate stage shows, sound, and choreography that you have to see to believe. Talk about an experience that you’re not going to get from a record or even by watching on TV. 

Related: Janet Jackson Biography

20. Cage The Elephant

a man playing guitar from the back
Image from Shutterstock.

If you’re a Kentucky native but haven’t heard of Cage the Elephant, then you better wake up and pay attention to this entry on our list of performers you must see before you die. As another one of the more recent hitmakers to don our list compared to others, they have already made a mark, releasing two Grammy-award-winning albums (Tell Me I’m Pretty (2017) and Social Cues (2020)). Be aware, though, that going overseas to London may be the easiest way to catch them live. 

Related: Cage The Elephant Unleashes On The Target Center

21. Bruce Springsteen

highest earning tours in 2023 bruce springsteen's net worth bruce springsteen on stage wearing a guitar with his arms held out
Image from Shutterstock.

There is a reason they call him “The Boss.” Bruce Springsteen, who has enjoyed a career that has spanned six decades, has been ranked 77 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time and has even been honored with “Bruce Springsteen Day” on September 23, 2023, by the New Jersey governor. 

Related: Bruce Springsteen’s Net Worth

22. Neil Young

neil young singing into a microphone on stage
Image from Shutterstock.

Dude, it’s Neil Young. Need we say more? You would be crazy if you passed up the opportunity to witness the “Godfather of Grunge” on stage. While he’s not quite as active as he once was when it comes to tours and live performances, there are still plenty of opportunities to hear him play. You just have to scope him out. 

Related: 16 Fascinating Neil Young Facts

23. Cher

cher's net worth, cher smiling against a brown back drop
Image from shutterstock.

Oh, how could we have a performers you must see before you die list without the “Goddess of Pop” herself? She may be getting close to her 80s, but she’s still as stylish and talented as ever, rocking her distinctive contralto sound. She’s the epitome of the truth that you don’t need a man by your side to make an impression. That’s proven by her multiple top-ten solo artist singles like “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” and “You Better Sit Down Kids.” 

If that’s not enough to convince, just look at some of the comments she’s received over the years. “There are no other careers remotely like hers,” said Rolling Stone, while Billboard has noted, “there’s divas, and then there’s Cher.” 

Related: Cher’s Net Worth

24. U2

the band U2 on the red carpet. performers you must see before you die
Image from Shutterstock.

There are rock bands, and then there’s U2, and they are simply no other. With Bono at the head and the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. close behind, you’ll be getting a master class in what it means to rock and roll with any of their live performances, whether they’re singing “Sunday Bloody Sunday” or “Pride (In the Name of Love).” 

25. Elton John

most famous gay singers elton john in a blue suit and glasses on a TV show
Image from Shutterstock.

Last but not least on our performers you must see before you die list is none other than Elton John himself. While the singer may have completed the final leg of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour this year, he did announce that he will continue to “do the odd show” now and again, so all you have to do is keep your eyes peeled for those special announcements. In the meantime, be on the lookout for his new album, which he has said he’s in the early stages of planning. 

Related: 30 Crazy Facts About Elton John

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Written by Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth in 2015. She has worked in journalism since 2015, beginning as production assistant and eventual head staff writer of the Fort Leavenworth Lamp newspaper in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Currently, she is a multimedia journalist with the Diocese of Nashville's Office of Media and Evangelization where she writes, does photography, and edits for several types of content, including the Tennessee Register, Catholic Awakenings, and She has also worked as a freelance journalist with the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas's newspaper, The Leaven, since 2016.
In her spare time, Peterson enjoys reading, spending time with her pup, Sadie Lynn, singing and songwriting.


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