The most legendary "secret" gigs

9 May 2020, 13:00 | Updated: 9 May 2020, 13:01

Prince Harry and Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters attend the Invictus Games closing ceremony at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on September 14, 2014
Prince Harry and Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters attend the Invictus Games closing ceremony at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on September 14, 2014. Picture: Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images

Is there anything more exciting then a surprise gig? Some of the biggest acts in the world have played secret sets and, if you're very lucky, you might just catch one.

  1. Foo Fighters Take The UK Unawares

    In the run up to the release of Sonic Highways in 2014, Foo Fighters sent the UK into meltdown by posting a series of cryptic messages online, claiming they would perform some secret shows at tiny venues. They ended up playing a string of guerrilla gigs around the UK, including a show at Brighton's Concorde 2 and the American Embassy in the presence of Prince Harry!

  2. The Stone Roses Warm Up In Warrington

    When The Stone Roses announced their return in 2012, it's safe to say that the excitement was palpable; their huge shows at Heaton Park were highly anticipated, but it was their surprise warm up at Parr Hall in Ian Brown's home town of Warrington, however, that was truly special. Even Liam Gallagher was impressed, simply Tweeting: "Speechless".

  3. The Beatles On The Roof

    Arguably the most famous surprise gig of all time, when The Beatles played atop the offices of their Apple company in London. They hadn't performed together in public for three years and they were originally planning on playing at The Roundhouse but, after they couldn't get things together, it ended up happening on the roof. The rest is rock n' roll history.

  4. Sex Pistols On The Thames

    In June 1977 The Sex Pistols celebrated the Queen's Silver Jubilee in true style - by grabbing a load of fans and jumping on a boat. The band sailed down the Thames and, as they reached the Houses Of Parliament, performed Anarchy In The UK. The police, inevitably, intervened.

  5. The Libertines and the Albion Rooms

    The Libertines are famous for their guerrilla gigs. The early noughties saw the band playing pop up shows all over London, most famously in their own flat. The "tenner on the door" shows were always raucous affairs.

  6. R.E.M. As "Bingo Hand Job" At The Borderline

    Posing under the slightly lewd pseudonym of Bingo Hand Job, R.E.M. played the tiny London club The Borderline just as as they were becoming household names. The show was largely acoustic and the setlist included Pop Song 89 and You Are The Everything. Plus, Billy Bragg turned up. Nice.

  7. Jamie T's Comeback At Reading Festival

    The Wimbledon songsmith had been out of the limelight for five years before making his triumphant return at Reading Festival 2014. He played the site's smallest stage and completely packed it out, treating fans to tracks from across his back catalogue.

  8. Metallica at Download Festival 2003

    Back in 2003, Download Festival was being headlined by Iron Maiden and Audioslave, but Metallica swooped in and stole the show. On the Sunday afternoon, the metal legends took to the second stage and, while in may have been the worst kept secret in rock, it was certainly an iconic moment.

  9. Paul McCartney Busks In Covent Garden

    To promote his latest album New, Paul McCartney did his version of busking - performing out of a lorry to 2000 passers by. He did it in Times Square; he did it in Covent Garden. There were a few cross faces, however, after Macca didn't play any Beatles tracks and instead sang the song New twice. "PLAY THE FROG SONG," shouted nobody.