London's Regent Street Apple Store hosted an exclusive Sterophonics gig on Tuesday night April 19.

The completely free event was recorded and will be released on iTunes as part of the second birthday celebration for the iTunes Music Store next week.

iTunes Music Store first went live in the US on April 28, 2003. Since then the company has seized approximately 80 per cent of the a la carte downloads market.

Live from London

Stereophonics were Apple's band of choice to launch a brand new iTunes feature, called 'Live From London'. Live bands performing at the Apple Store on Regent Street.

An Apple representative attending the show - which attracted several hundred Sterophonics fans - talked a little about Live From London: "We hope to host a band every month at the Apple Store."

They confirmed such live sessions would be recorded and made available for sale through the iTunes Music Store. They declined to reveal who will play at the next event: "We'll just have to see how it goes," they said.

Fans attending the event (150 had been invited, with 100 tickets on the door on a first-come-first-served basis) had queued for hours to get the chance to see the band. Some first joined the queue in the early afternoon.

One fan told Macworld: "I've been waiting for four hours", but seemed a bit disappointed as, "I am at the head of the queue, and I still don't know for sure if I'll get in".

The 500-strong queue was palpably excited at the chance to see the Welsh band perform. Not all of them got in. Apple gave disappointed fans cards that entitled them to three free song downloads to help ease their pain.

Inside, a capacity crowd stood surrounded by computer equipment in Apple's eye-catching retail outlet, and waited for the band to take the stage. The live event in the 21st century equivalent of Radio Shack would have been impossible just years ago.

Stereophonics' storming set

Stereophonics took the stage at speed, storming into the nine-song set with 'Superman', a song taken from the band's recent number one album. A large group of dedicated fans had secured their positions in front of the stage, and met their on-stage arrival with loud applause - the party had begun.

Macworld learned that many of the fans have been following Sterophonics across Europe on the current tour.

The set-list performed on the night by the tight trio of musicians included: Doorman, Brother, Devil, Pedalpusher, Chaplin, Too Many Sandwiches and a rock-hard cover version of Iggy Pop's classic, Wanna Be Your Dog.

With so many fans in the audience, the crowd performed back with excitement, cheers and applause. The band also played its number one single Dakota, to a fanatical response.

Strange days have found us

The strange nature of the gig wasn't lost on the band. Guitar player and vocalist Kelly Jones remarked: "This is one of the strangest gigs we've ever played, and we've played a few".

Bass player Richard Jones (who shared his iPod playlist with Macworld last week, and who is not related to Kelly) nodded his agreement.

While Stereophonics didn't play a curtain call the show was well-received by those present, and fans were each given one of Apple's new iTunes music Cards, which entitle them to ten free songs for download from iTunes.

The set will be released as an exclusive live session through Apple's international network of iTunes stores next week.