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3 Awesome Performances Of Classic Bands Playing With Full Orchestras!

Rock bands with orchestras are pretty awesome!

It’s not uncommon for bands to enlist the help of orchestras to give their performances a bigger and richer sound. Over the years, some of the best musical outfits from across the globe have wowed fans by playing alongside these complex instrumental ensembles.

Many of the music lovers who turn to specialists such as Caswell’s Strings to buy violins and other instruments have no doubt been inspired by these fusions of rock and classical styles so here are three performances that have gone down in rock history!

Deep Purple

Deep Purple were among the pioneers of the rock-classical crossover. In September 1969, the English group performed their third album ‘Concerto for Group and Orchestra’ with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. This groundbreaking Royal Albert Hall performance was widely touted as among the first of its kind. The music was composed by Jon Lord, while the lyrics were written by Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan.

Three decades after its initial incarnation, the Concerto was brought back to life with another performance in the same venue. A new score had to be created for the 1999 show by Marco de Goeij because the original was lost.


Roger Waters

One of the most symbolic performances of all time, ‘The Wall – Live in Berlin’ also involved a full orchestra. This live concert performance by Roger Waters was based on the Pink Floyd studio album The Wall and it was staged in July 1990 to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall eight, which had come down eight months earlier.

As well as impressive orchestral backing, Waters was joined by a host of guest artists, including The Hooters, Van Morrison, Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams, Joni Mitchell, Marianne Faithfull and Sinéad O’Connor.

The gig was held in a location that had been part of ‘no-man’s land’ during the days of the Berlin Wall. A live album and video of the performance were subsequently released.



Another memorable rock-classical marriage involved Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. In April 1999, they got together to record live performances for the American heavy metal outfit’s album S&M (short for Symphony and Metallica). The orchestra was conducted by Michael Kamen and the recordings took place in front of an audience at the Berkeley Community Theatre.

Of course, these are just three of the many examples of bands playing alongside orchestras that have taken place throughout the years. Other acts to get in on the action have included Portishead, Aerosmith and My Morning Jacket, to name but a few.

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