The 47 greatest live guitar moments: the most iconic, infamous and explosive onstage antics in six-string history

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Jimi Hendrix, Prince
(Image credit: Tony Evans/Getty Images, David Redfern/Redferns, Theo Wargo/WireImage)

A great live moment can mean so many different things. It can be an experience that forever binds the minds of those on stage with the audience in front of them – the perfect setlist matched by the right atmosphere and sonic treatment. A formula that, as easy as it sounds on paper, is like catching lightning in a bottle.

But an historic event is often so much more than a strong performance; it can be anything from an unexpected guest appearance or collaboration, something with some unexpected socio-political ramifications – or one of those times when things don't quite go as planned, which, as every guitarist knows, is always an ever-hovering possibility.

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).