There’s nothing quite like seeing an individual on stage, showing their talent to the world with nothing to hide behind. These 5 performances are some of my favorite examples of one person with incredible talent, sharing it with the world at large.
performed by Stanley Jordan
Sometimes you see a virtuoso in the most unlikely of places - for example, this performance by guitarist Stanley Jordan in what seems to be a shopping mall. Imagine walking out of a Macy’s and hearing this! His unique two hand tapping puts nearly any other guitarist to shame, and the soundscape he creates on this Beatles classic is captivating.
State of Mind
performed by Raúl Midon
Blind guitarist Raúl Midon has become quite a name in the music scene, recording with luminaries such as Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock. However, when he appeared on David Letterman in 2006, he was just an unknown name. His powerful voice and unique guitar technique alone would be enough to rocket him to stardom, but this performance is taken to another level when he begins to solo and harmonize with himself. It’s hard not to get goosebumps during this performance.
Just for Now
performed by Imogen Heap
Loop stations are amazing, and there are few examples as captivating as Imogen Heap’s in this performance. Beginning simply with handclaps, Heap quickly builds and builds, adding and subtracting parts effortlessly and making minutes flash by in what feels like seconds. Creating a fully formed song with nothing but her voice, hands, and a loop station proves what an immense talent Heap is, and creates a fantastic performance for us to enjoy.
performed by Andy McKee
Most people use a guitar as, well, a guitar - not Andy McKee. He uses it as basically every possible instrument - as a drum, as a piano, as a melodic instrument, and as a guitar. McKee’s virtuoso technique comes from his initial interest in shred guitar, and he even dropped out of high school and got a GED early in order to focus on guitar (this advice is terrible for 99% of people). Though he had 3 albums to his name by the time he released “Drifting,” the album took him to the next level, and after it garnered millions of views (56+ million as of right now!) he began touring with the likes of Prince and Josh Groban. I think he’s earned it.
performed by Giulio Carmassi
Carmassi’s ability to play nearly any instrument and sing with the voice of an angel would be enough for most of us, but here he takes things to the next level. Overdubbing himself on Pat Meteheny’s hit “First Circle”, a notorious jazz song set in many different meters (inculding 11/16, 12/4, 4/4, and more and more), he demonstrates an amazing musical command and creates an incredible performance by himself. It doesn’t hurt that the video is shot and edited just as beautifully as the music in it.