All of this only makes it more impressive that so many live acts stick to their guns. Interestingly, half of the names of your top 10 for this year hardly (if ever) appear behind the decks. Almost everyone's approach is distinctly different: some ply their trade from behind a mysterious bulk of gear, others play in front (or inside) of psychedelic video displays. One has even been known to sing live vocals while floating around in a pool and flirting with random girls. But however unconventional their routines may be, the overall credo is comfortingly old-fashioned: make the crowd move with your own material.
Could it have been anyone else? The return of Richie Hawtin to his most famous recording guise for a stunning live show seems like a no-brainer for your #1 live act of 2010. And so it was. There was the drama of Hawtin behind an LED screen, with his usual visual team improvising along with him as he put together on-the-fly takes of classic material. There was the fascination of seeing a man renowned for rocking crowds navigating material that didn't immediately cause hands-in-the-euphoria. There was "Spastik," being played live in front of the cage in Detroit. There was one of the world's biggest DJs once again taking chances when it would have been just as easy to play it safe.