Do you love going to concerts? We’ve got a brand new profile that uses a playlist of all live music that I know you’re going to enjoy—my riders are always super receptive when I use this profile or others I have with live music. If you’ve been hesitant to use music from live performances, believe me, you’re missing out. There are a few things that are different about using these recordings in your cycling classes, but once you take these into consideration as you select the songs for your playlist, you’re going to be amazed at the energy of your Live On Tour rides! You can start with my profile which I call “On Tour! Welcome to the Show.” And then, branch out from there, creating your own profile using the tips and song suggestions below. Make sure to follow the ICA bucket Spotify playlist of live performances (currently at 150 tracks and growing).
The Collins dictionary defines a melomaniac as a person with a great enthusiasm for music. Well, that would be me and it’s a badge I proudly wear. I have an insatiable appetite for music, and not only do I love listening to recorded songs, but I thrive in the vibrant atmosphere of live music and concerts, immersing myself in the energy and euphoria of every performance. The excitement and energy of a concert are so intoxicating to me and it always leaves me craving more. I have traveled far and wide to see concerts and since I live in a big city, I am lucky enough that most tours come to my hometown.
A cycling class can be as euphoric as attending a live show; it’s possible to bring this feeling of a live concert into the cycling studio. My profile even feels like you are at a show. The playlist uses chart-topping artists and tracks that work great in the cycling studio. Make sure you download the profile and playlist below. Also, if you have a favorite live song that we missed, please let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to our bucket playlist.
Using live music in the cycling studio is a great way to bring that energy and excitement to your classes. Every time I’ve done it, my riders have been thrilled. You should know that it’s also a different experience than using studio recordings of popular songs, especially if you haven’t used live tracks before. You may want to introduce just a song or two of a live performance before diving into using an entire playlist of concert tracks. Here are some tips for employing live music in your cycling classes if you are new to it.
- Some recorded live performances have less-than-ideal sound so you need to be careful which track you pick. Technology used in a studio can enhance every part of a track and make it perfect. Live performances have many barriers to perfection, such as acoustics, and live performers cannot do unlimited takes, splices, and various other techniques to get close-to-perfect music. Nonetheless, there is something so magical about seeing and hearing a live concert. If you have the ability to show videos in your classes, some instructors have had great success projecting the YouTube videos (and using the YouTube soundtrack) of live concerts on their screens.
- Keep in mind that some of your favorite songs may sound quite different when they are played live—the artist may emphasize different parts of the song than you are used to. Even if it’s a song you know extremely well (the studio version, that is), listen to the whole live track before deciding to add it to your playlist.
- Some live songs ebb and flow more than their studio recordings; use this to your advantage by incorporating a little recovery when the singer eases back, and building the intensity on the bike as the energy builds in the song.
- It’s especially fun when there is a drum or guitar solo during a live track—a great time to get your riders connected with the energy!
- Use the audience applause to your benefit as well. As you climb to the summit and the applause builds, tell your riders, “They are cheering for you!”
I want to share with you a few of my favorite live tracks to use, and a few of Jennifer’s. Some of these are included in my profile. If you search online for the best live performances there are several notable ones—there’s rarely a live performance with Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, or Prince that isn’t considered iconic. Often picked as number one is Beyoncé when she headlined the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2018. The show was so incredible, it’s one of the few Coachella performances professionally filmed and distributed for streaming on Netflix.
Another notable live performance includes Prince during the Super Bowl XLI halftime show in 2007. Do you remember the rain pouring down as Prince continued to play? His performances were hypnotic, both because of his flamboyant style and his mastery of his craft.
There is obviously no question about the talent of Michael Jackson. One of his most iconic performances was at the Super Bowl XXVII halftime show in 1993. From start to finish, Michael put on a solo performance that broke barriers, rewrote rules, and set the standard for future performances from Rihanna and Beyoncé to Lady Gaga. (You’ll have to watch this video on YouTube.)
Queen performed at Live Aid in 1985 at Wembley Stadium in London. The band took the stage with unparalleled charisma and showmanship, captivating the massive crowd of over 70,000 people. As Freddie Mercury, the iconic frontman, strutted onto the stage, he immediately commanded the attention of everyone present. Dressed in his signature flamboyant style, he radiated electrifying energy that was palpable throughout the stadium. Queen’s Live Aid performance showcased not only their extraordinary musical talent but also their ability to connect with an audience on a profound level. Their performance continues to be remembered as a defining moment in music history, a testament to the enduring legacy of Queen and the indomitable spirit of live performances.
My favorite band is Coldplay. I have seen them countless times around the world, including this spring in Barcelona (twice!). Coldplay was the first band to enhance the concert experience with the Xyloband, a radio-controlled wristband that flashes light. In 2012, the band gave each member of the audience a Xyloband. As the concert progressed, the light show was brought into the audience and synchronized to the music. This ushered the show to a whole new level of excellence.
The next two songs are two of Jennifer’s favorite live tracks to use in her classes. The first is Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” from the Secret World Live tour, filmed in Italy in 1993. It’s an incredible performance and features the late, great Congolese performer, Papa Wemba. This is one of those songs you put on, ask your riders to close their eyes, and ride by feel, letting the music move you to sit or stand as you ascend a long climb.
Finally, here is U2 singing “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” a performance that was recorded in what became their first video release in 1983, Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky. Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater is one of the most striking concert venues in the world and was a fitting backdrop for such a powerful performance. The concert was nearly canceled due to inclement weather, but the band went on and played in the rain. It’s amazing to realize it was 40 years ago!
Because I am a melomaniac, I could go on and on and on, showing you life-changing moments on stage. If you want to dig deeper to see more, click here, here and, here. We would love to hear about your favorite concert moments that you enjoy using in your class playlists. Please let us know in the comments below!
And let us know how your riders enjoyed the attached profile.