The 90s are back to stay, not only in Seinfeld Emojis, and not only in Portland, but also in the glossy trappings of mass media retrospectives. We can add to VH-1’s I Love the 90s the new National Geographic survey “The ‘90s: The Last Great Decade?,” seemingly made by people who experienced the period in a bunker, surrounded by TVs. This level of manufactured nostalgia is pretty off-putting, but I do have to face the facts: the music of my youth has turned classic rock.
Not that this bothers me any. For one thing, many of my favorite bands have returned with new albums, no worse for wear (see mbv, all of Robert Pollard’s output, or the coming new Half Japanese, for example). For another, the internet wayback machine means no trawling flea markets and auctions for memorabilia, hearing odd rumors of lost concert films, unreleased albums, and interviews. Nearly every piece of media, from nearly every historical decade, ends up online eventually. Wherever you come from in time, it can be like you never left. And for “classic rock” fans, it’s even easier, thanks to Music Vault, a YouTube subsidiary of “bootleg haven” Wolfgang’s Vault, featuring over 13,000 clips of live shows from the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, and so on.
Like Lou Reed? See him play “Sweet Jane” in 1984 (top). Talking Heads? See ‘em do “Life During Wartime” in 1981 (middle). All of this footage comes from The Capital Theater in Passaic, NJ, but there are hundreds of venues represented—like U2 at California Hall in ’81—and hundreds of artists. Fancy more modern fare? Paste magazine has its own channel, hosting live performances from Local Natives, Dr. Dog, and psych revivalists Black Angels. There’s also a Jazz Channel and Blues Channel, and while most of the videos are clips of individual songs, the archive has quite a few full concerts as well, such as The Band in ’76, Neil Young in ’89, and—for you refugees from the ‘90s, Wilco in ‘96, above. Enjoy revisiting the glory days and rest assured, they aren’t going away anytime soon. You can start surfing the Music Vault here.
via Rolling Stone