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Performance Video

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Videos consisting largely of the band performing their song, either in front of an audience or not. The band may be miming playing their instruments and lip syncing, as the music is typically recorded and edited in a studio. The video does not need to be a single performance; it may be a montage of a variety of different performances of the song and it may even include silly outtakes.

The exception is live concert videos (e.g. Woodstock performances). Sometimes overlaps with the Video Full of Film Clips. The non-playing parts of the video may illustrate some of the narrative from the song using actors.

Band performance videos was the way most music videos were done until Duran Duran and Michael Jackson hit the scene, and videos transformed into artistic short films.


  • Alestorm has some of these, including studio videos for F*cked With An Anchor and Pirate Metal Drinking Crew, and footage of concerts (with bonus footage of travel and doing things) for their cover of The Village People's In The Navy.
  • Aerosmith had several of these, including "Rag Doll", "Love In An Elevator", "The Other Side", "Blind Man", and "What It Takes".
  • Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson's "Don't You Wanna Stay" has a music video that is literally just footage of them performing the song at the Country Music Association awards.
    • Also Kelly's duet with Vince Gill of her song "Don't Rush" at another CMA show.
  • Daft Punk - Robot Rock is pretty much their only straight example.
  • Arctic Monkeys - "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "Teddy Picker", with and without an audience respectively.
  • Battles - "Atlas"
  • The Beatles'' "Hey Jude" (pictured) where the audience suddenly appears and surrounds them at the start of the "Na na na na" part and sings along.
    • Help!: It's a musical, and we get to see most of the songs performed.
  • Blur often do this; "She's So High", the US video for "There's No Other Way", "End of a Century", "Stereotypes", "Beetlebum", "Song 2", "Tender", "Crazy Beat", "There Are Too Many Of Us"...
    • The video for "Charmless Man" features the band performing, though they follow a man getting ready to go out while doing so. The final few minutes of "Coffee and TV"s video after Milky finds Graham also consists of this, cutting between Graham returning home and the rest of the band performing without him.
  • Many of the music videos for The Monkees, inserted at the end of TV episodes (particularly those shot in the “Rainbow Room”: “Daydream Believer,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Randy Scouse Git,” etc.).
  • Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name." The second half of "Livin' on a Prayer" is like this.
  • All of David Bowie's clips through 1977; 1983's "Modern Love" is his most famous post-'70s performance vid.
  • Coldplay - "Life In Technicolor II". Essentially a performance video, in front of an audience (and on - there's Crowd Surfing at one point); includes gratuitous Marshall amps, instrument destruction, flashy lights and pretty much everything else you'd expect. Oh, and it's a puppet show.
  • Chris Cornell - "You Know My Name" (theme tune to the James Bond film Casino Royale (2006))
  • "Pump It Up" by Elvis Costello. Very simplistic execution.
    • Parodied in the video for Costello's duet with John Hiatt; Elvis shows up late for the show and John has to mime his lines while wearing his glasses.
  • A variation was used in the Dire Straits song "Money For Nothing", where a pair of CGI deliverymen watch the band's performance and recite the song's lyrics (an envious admiration of rock artists).
    • The band did more straightforward performance videos for their early songs like "Sultans of Swing" and "Lady Writer".
  • "Down with the Sickness" by Disturbed consists entirely of concert footage.
    • Because of its (supposed) similarities to 9/11, "Prayer" was considered for this by the label instead of the expensive video they shot. The band insisted the video's content was required to convey the song's message, and it was ultimately released unedited on the album as a DVD-Audio CD.
  • Even though they pioneered the big-budget beautiful location video, Duran Duran still did some performance videos, like "Planet Earth" and "The Reflex".
  • Europe - "The Final Countdown".
  • Extreme - "More Than Words", with the band on a set, and "Hole Hearted", with the band playing on a street in their hometown of Boston.
  • Par for the course with Foo Fighters videos, though some more than others ("All My Life" might be the best example).
  • Glassjaw- "Stars," "Jesus Glue," "All Good Junkies Go To Heaven" and "You Think You're (John Fucking Lennon)." All of them filmed in a one-take Dogme 95 style.
  • Imagine Dragons' "Demons" video has the band perform the song to an audience reflecting on moments of emotional turmoil.
  • Jean-Michel Jarre:
    • The music videos for "Oxygène 4" and "Equinoxe 4" show him playing various electronic instruments, work a mixing desk etc. The main distraction in the "Equinoxe 4" is a wind-up toy robot waddling around on some of the machines. Jarre quit making music videos like these afterwards, probably because he had learned that hardly anything is more boring than someone playing synthesizers (which also explains his huge concerts, they serve to distract the people from what's going on on stage).
    • One of the two videos for "Calypso" is taken directly from the Paris La Défense concert footage.
    • And then there is Oxygène -- Live In Your Living Room: It shows Jarre, Francis Rimbert, Claude Samard and Dominique Perrier with dozens of mostly vintage synthesizers on a soundstage in Belgium. But instead of just miming to Jarre's own recent 30th anniversary re-recording of Oxygène, the four re-recorded the whole album plus three new "Variations" on that soundstage in front of the running cameras.
  • Jimin's "Set Me Free Pt. 2" video has little more than Jimin being surrounded by a large group of backup dancers.
  • Many of Billy Joel's early music videos are like this.
  • The vast majority of Journey's videos were this. They tried to do stylized choreographed videos for the songs "Separate Ways" and "Chain Reaction", but those didn't work out so well.
  • The Knack's "My Sharona".
  • Many of Black Sabbath's early videos were like this (even somewhat Strictly Formula, when you look at it): the band performing their songs on a chroma-key backdrop.
    • Those were taken from appearances on the German music show Beat-Club. Many other performers from that era like Deep Purple, Yes and Alice Cooper made similar appearances on the show.
  • Most Hall & Oates videos from the 80's; notable examples include "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)", "Private Eyes" and "You Make My Dreams".
  • The Linda Lindas: In addition to a performance of "Racist, Sexist Boy" at a library that ended up going viral, "Claudia Kishi" is a straight example. "Why" has the band perform to an audience of cartoon creatures.
  • Linkin Park has an interesting take on the concept: The video for "Bleed It Out" has the band performing in front of a reversed Bar Brawl.
    • Compared to "Points of Authority" which is more straight forward featuring multiple concert footage.
  • Lisa Hannigan - "Home".
  • Madonna's "Dress You Up" is a rare performance video for her.
  • New Order - a band best known for surreal music videos in which they don't appear - still have two of these, and both of them were coincidentally directed by directors who would later win Oscars. Jonathan Demme directed "The Perfect Kiss", in which the band simply play the song in a small recording studio. Kathryn Bigelow directed "Touched By The Hand Of God", a parody of Hair Metal performance videos which features the band dressed as an American metal band.
  • Nine Inch Nails - "March of the Pigs", which also happens to be a Oner, and "The Hand That Feeds".
  • Nirvana's video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was one of these, though the audience in question wasn't a concert audience. "In Bloom" is a performance video done as an Affectionate Parody of musical performances from The Ed Sullivan Show.
  • Not surprisingly, "Weird Al" Yankovic did the same thing as Nirvana in his music video for "Smells Like Nirvana", which parodied "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
  • Outkast - "Hey Ya!"
  • Pearl Jam - "Even Flow" and "Alive".
    • The video for "Alive" is even set to a different version of the song, in line with the playing live setting.
  • A Perfect Circle - "Judith"
  • "Here Comes Your Man" by The Pixies is a slight subversion, showing Black Francis and Kim Deal blatantly lip-syncing to the song by just opening their mouths during their respective vocal parts and not moving them. Francis hated lip-syncing. Their videos for "Head On" (a split-screened, live, single take) and "Alec Eiffel" (filmed in a wind tunnel with physics equations flashing onscreen) were also performance videos.
  • One or two of Priestess' videos.
  • Rammstein - There's "Feuer Frei", which is half this, half Video Full of Film Clips, and more recently "Ich tu dir weh".
  • Rooster - "Staring at the Sun"
  • Set It Off: The music video for "The Haunting" is mostly the band performing on a stage, including scenes of the audience members singing parts of the song.
  • Sloan - The version of the music video for If it Feels Good Do It that was released in America (also known as the performance version) simply features the band performing in front of a crowd of people.
  • The Strokes - "Last Nite"
  • Most of the videos Styx did fall into this category, "Rockin' The Paradise", "The Best Of Times" and "Too Much Time On My Hands".
  • Taylor Swift's "Change", "Fearless", and "Sparks Fly".
  • System of a Down - "War?", "Chop Suey!", "Hypnotize".
    • "War?" and "Hypnotize" were shot during actual concert performances.
    • The main focus of "Chop Suey!" is the band performing the song in a motel parking lot and on a platform with a crowd surrounding. The band members disappear and reappear in some shots, as do their shirts. Daron, Serj, and Shavo also move through each other at times.
  • Van Halen - "Jump." So simplistic a video for one of the most outlandish rock bands of the 1980's, it usually shows up on almost any kind of "Greatest Music Videos of All Time" lists in the media.
  • Weezer - "Buddy Holly". Played with due to the fact that the band is playing at Arnold's Drive-In from Happy Days.
  • A number of Wolfmother videos.
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs - most of them.
  • Christian Kane's "The House Rules" has Christian check out the bar, go backstage, and when he comes back up ten seconds later, the concert's in full swing. Without missing a beat, he joins in and it becomes this.
  • The Black Mages' video for "Neo-Exdeath." Also a bit of a Mind Screw in that it flips back and forth between the band performing in normal clothes in a well-lit studio room to wearing robes and wizard hats in a dark, fog-filled room lit only with small spotlights. The full version of this video on the Darkness & Starlight DVD has more footage of them performing in wizard garb, and in longer stretches instead of just a few frames at a time.
  • Little Jackie's "The World Should Revolve around Me."
  • The Veronicas Revolution is 100% a part of their Revolution tour.
  • Delta Goodrem's has done this twice, once with Be Strong which was also a Behind the scenes video and Predictable which was her Live @ VHQ performance played straight.
  • "What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse" by The Black Dahlia Murder is this intercut with clips of the band members goofing off.
  • The Melvins have a few videos that were essentially odd twists on this: in "Lizzy", the band is playing on what looks to be a stage for children's plays, while the audience bounce one of it's members around on a rubber net, break open a clown pinata, and eventually demolish the stage the band is still playing on. In "Honey Bucket", they're playing in a barn to an audience of sheep. In "Revolve" they're playing at a honky-tonk, and are separated from their unruly audience by chicken wire... And there are also shots where Buzz Osborne is lip-syncing in a studio setting while holding his own severed head in his hand.
    • "Electric Flower" is presented like a performance video, but it's an Animated Music Video where the band and the audience are depicted as kitschy toys and trinkets, and the venue is a giant living room. As a nod to Buzz's trademark Wild Hair, the whole band are basically troll dolls.
  • Seal's "Kiss From a Rose", the Award-Bait Song from Batman Forever. It features Seal performing the song in front of the Bat-signal, spliced with clips from the film.
    • This was far from his first example. "Crazy" is mostly this, and "Prayer for the Dying" is exclusively this.
  • That's All by Don Juan y Los Blancos is this, with the singers using bananas as microphones. The only audience is a cardboard shark, but he seems to be digging it.
  • Driftless Pony Club likes to play with this trope. In 'Legend of Archery" we see them play very briefly at the beginning, and then Craig on guitar while using it as a sword to fight the ninja bassist. The music video for "Inspectors of Inspectors" has the band miming playing the song on cardboard instruments, but then sailor!DPC actually does play.
  • Sleater-Kinney's "You're No Rock And Roll Fun" is a pretty straight version: The majority of the video is the band playing in a white room, with some variations such as cutting to footage of band members on their own over different backgrounds. There's a couple of bits that deliberately reveal that they're on a soundstage - during Carrie Brownstein's solo the camera rotates around her, at one point clearly showing the crew looking on in front of her, and at the end of the video it's revealed that a crew member was kneeling beside her and rotating a platform she was standing on to help achieve that same effect.
  • ZZ Top's "Stages" is footage of the band performing live, being shown on a CGI satellite.
  • Screaming Trees' "Nearly Lost You" has the band playing at an empty race track, coupled with artistic footage of construction sites and the like. Also notable for averting Video Full of Film Clips - you wouldn't know the video had any connection to the film Singles were it not for a brief shot of someone tacking a poster promoting the soundtrack to a wall.
  • Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark", "My Hometown", "Tougher Than The Rest", "Spare Parts", "Leap Of Faith" and others.
  • "Men's Needs" by the Cribs has the band performing while a naked woman wanders around the set and occasionally tries to interfere with them. As per the theme of the song, they pay absolutely no attention to her.
  • Many Slipknot videos use this format, be it either the videos occasionally cutting to shots of the band performing in a context-sensitive environment, the entire video being the band performing in a context-sensitive environment, or just straight-up concert videos.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers' video to "Dani California" shows the band performing the song in the (visual only) style of TV rock performances throughout history, with time-specific costumes, dance styles, and film stock. They look surprisingly convincing as a geeky sixties beat group.
  • Poets of the Fall has several, frequently live concert videos. Of particular note, the video for Break-Up Song "The Ultimate Fling" was shot by fans with cellphone cams, while the video for their Cover Version of "You Know My Name," for The Voice's Livenä Vieraissa compilation album, was performed live in studio, in Bond Tuxedos.
  • Several of ABBA's videos, including "Ring Ring", "Waterloo", "Mamma Mia", "Dancing Queen", "Thank You For The Music", "Chiquitita", "Does Your Mother Know", "Voulez-Vous", and "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)".
  • Big Country have a few, namely "Chance", "Beautiful People" and arguably "Wonderland".
  • DragonForce’s videos are almost always like this.
  • The Roots' "The Next Movement" features the group on a stage, and every few seconds, a pair of showgirls close the curtain, then open it to show them re-oriented (Backwards, Facing the side, Upside down, etc...) At one point, they pull it back a second too soon, and you see them still setting up.
  • Tamagotchi had a video like this for "Every Lovely", Lovelin's Image Song.
  • Most of the videos in the Love Live! franchise show the girls perfoming their songs on some sort of stage.
  • The Noddy Shop's promotional music video "Special" is this for Johnny Crawfish. It shows him performing his song in his tank, where he performs most of his songs in the show.
  • Placebo's "Every You Every Me" uses live performance footage, but does some interesting things with split screen effects at certain points - for instance, at the very start of the video, identical shots of Stefan Olsdal playing guitar are synchronized to switch back and forth between being a still image and being in motion, giving the impression of two Stefans each playing half of the main riff.
  • Cocteau Twins' "Carolyn's Fingers" is mainly shots of Elizabeth Fraser singing, Robin Guthrie playing guitar, and Simon Raymonde playing bass, usually filmed separately. Occasionally, a reel-to-reel tape player is shown - the band largely used looped drum machines rather than a conventional drummer, and a tape player was used in their actual live performances, so the video was basically depicting the machine as a fourth member of the band.
  • Sebadoh's "Ocean" is a comedic version, sending up both Billy Squier's "Rock Me Tonite" and singer Lou Barlow's own "sensitive" image- Lou is wearing short shorts and a woman's crop top and does some of the choreography from the "Rock Me Tonite" video, and is also depicted doing some Inelegant Blubbering in an alley outside of the venue and later giving tearful hugs to audience members.
  • "Owner of A Lonely Heart" by Yes is a subversion, starting out as a simple video of the band playing the song, before it abruptly stops, all the members of Yes inexplicably turn into animals, and the song restarts with a Surreal Music Video involving a guy getting captured and forced into what seems to be some sort of fight club.


Video Example(s):


D City Rock

The Japanese anime, Panty & Stocking, has several references to Western bands including the Beatles and KISS during its music video and is a parody of MTV.

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