Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Maryland chapter.

It’s truly a special moment getting to hear one of your favorite songs performed live, but it’s impossible to make it to every concert on your list. Luckily, there are plenty of live performances available on YouTube and streaming services like Apple Music that allow you to listen to the live versions of your favorite songs on repeat. 

While some artists sing their songs live, others perform them, elevating the lyrics and taking their own music to a whole new level. Here are ten of my favorite live renditions of some of my top songs that are definitely worth the listen:

  1. Save Your Tears” performed by The Weeknd and Ariana Grande at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards

The Weeknd’s smooth vocals start off this performance incredibly strong, but it’s taken to a whole new level when Ariana Grande enters for the second verse. Wearing a dark purple two piece and a half-up, half-down hairstyle, she looks as angelic as she sounds. Grande shows off her wide vocal range, hitting both her lower register and whistle notes in this performance.

  1. Heartbeat” performed by The Fray 

Though The Fray is on an indefinite hiatus from releasing new music after lead singer Isaac Slade announced his departure from the band on Instagram in 2022, their discography lives on. The band has a plethora of live albums on Apple Music, but my favorite song of theirs recorded live is “Heartbeat” because of the crisp piano and Slade’s striking vocals. 

  1. Drops of Jupiter” by Train, covered by Taylor Swift in 2011

“Drops of Jupiter” by Train is my all-time favorite song. I’ve been fortunate enough to go to two of Train’s concerts and hear them sing this song live twice, which was an otherworldly experience. A live recording of Train singing “Drops of Jupiter” during a 2001 performance in California is available on Apple Music. 

However, I think Taylor Swift’s cover of the song is a hidden gem. This cover is from a 2011 performance at the HP Pavilion in San Jose during her “Speak Now: World Tour.” Hearing a new rendition of the song keeps the music fresh and exciting. 

  1. Bags performed by Clairo at Electric Lady Studios

“Bags” never gets old. Released in 2019 on her album “Immunity,” Clairo’s live rendition of one of her hit songs takes it to a whole new level. This particular performance is addictive, and I keep coming back to watch it years after its release. The instrumentals are clean and vivacious. Clairo’s ‘70s-esque jacket and her guitarist’s t-shirt that reads “wealth is of the Heart and Mind not the pocket” add to the vibes of Electric Lady Studios, an iconic recording studio in New York where legends like AC/DC and Stevie Wonder have recorded. 

  1. I Did Something Bad” performed by Taylor Swift live at the 2018 American Music Awards 

Taylor Swift’s vocals are often underrated, but this performance is proof Ms. Swift can sing, particularly belt, which some people don’t believe. “I Did Something Bad” is taken to a whole new level here, with salient choreography and costumes that emanate her “Reputation” era. The ad libs incorporated in the bridge of the song make this performance otherworldly.  

  1. Be My Mistake” performed acoustically by Matty Healy of The 1975

“Be My Mistake” is written about a rebound relationship. The 1975 conveys the feeling of trying to fill a void of loneliness after getting out of a meaningful relationship. Healy sings “the smell of your hair, reminds me of her feet,” showing how the so-called ‘best’ feature of his new girl reminds him of the seemingly ‘worst’ part of his previous one. This acoustic performance adds a whole new dimension to the song with Healy’s somber facial expression, tender voice cracks and eyes full of regret and guilt.

  1. Georgia” performed by Phoebe Bridgers

This performance of “Georgia” by a young, flannel-wearing, buzzcut-donning Phoebe Bridgers showcases her insane vocals in a whole new light. Bridgers’ most recent music tends to revolve around a softer tone, so listening to an old performance where she utilizes a strong, straight-forward singing style is surely an unexpected surprise. I can’t believe this version wasn’t part of the album. 

  1. Exile” performed by Taylor Swift featuring Justin Vernon from “folklore: the long pond studio sessions” 

Swift performed an acoustic version of her “folklore” album in a casual flannel at the historic Long Pond Studios in Upstate New York in September 2020. With a guest appearance by Justin Vernon of the band Bon Iver to sing “Exile,” a wistful atmosphere is created by the setting of the recording and the singers’ raw vocals.  

  1. About You” performed by The 1975 at Madison Square Garden 

“About You” was released in 2022 as part of The 1975’s “Being Funny In a Foreign Language.” The song is thought by fans to be a continuation of the band’s hit song “Robbers,” as Healy often recreates an iconic pose from the “Robbers” music video while performing “About You.” 

This particular performance is part of their last tour “The 1975: At Their Very Best.” “Do you think I have forgotten about you?” Healy sings, followed by an entrancing saxophone solo by John Waugh. Healy gets on his knees, sprawling his arms out to the crowd, bringing a sad story about love and heartbreak to life on a dimly-lit stage and making this performance a must-watch.  

  1. God Is a Woman” performed by Ariana Grande at the 2018 Video Music Awards 

While some singers struggle to hit their notes while tackling choreography and formations, Ariana Grande proves it can be done in this performance. Grande is joined on stage by a group of female dancers and, at the end, her mother, grandmother and cousin. The performance is an excellent showcase of feminism and female empowerment, and the behind the scenes of the production is equally as entertaining.

Lia Gorbach

Maryland '26

Lia is from Massachusetts and is pursuing a journalism and business degree at the University of Maryland.