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Live albums

Discussion in 'Music' started by sparkchaser, Jun 2, 2008.

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Live albums: love them?

  1. Yes. Vital part of a collection.

    55.6%
  2. Meh. Can take them or leave them.

    33.3%
  3. No. They never sound like studio recordings.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Stewart.

    11.1%
  1. sparkchaser

    sparkchaser Administrator and Stuntman Staff Member

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    What do you think of recordings of live performances? I mean professional recordings, not "pro" bootlegs or the one that your buddy made with the recorder in his jacket pocket.

    Are they a necessary part of a collection?

    I think I only own three or four live albums. The best live album I own is Depeche Mode's Songs of Faith and Devotion Live. Quality is amazing.
     
  2. beer good

    beer good Well-Known Member

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    Oh hell yes. I love live albums. Nothing's as much fun as a band on top form really enjoying being on stage... or, in some cases, being drunk off their asses and deciding to wage war on the audience.

    Let's see, 20 official live albums in no particular order off the top of my head that I wouldn't want to be without:

    • Depeche Mode, 101. Sure it's half playback, but that version of "Never Let Me Down" and the singalong at the end...
    • Bob Dylan, Live 1966. Dylan's released tons of live albums, all of them have something to recommend them (except for Dylan And The Dead) but this is the truly brilliant one. "JUDAS!" "I don't believe you! You're a liar... PLAY FUCKING LOUD!"
    • Emmylou Harris, Spyboy. Play this version of "Love Hurts" next to the one she recorded with Gram Parsons 25 years earlier... man.
    • John Coltrane, Live at the Village Vanguard. "Chasin the Trane"... wow.
    • AC/DC, If You Want Blood... You Got it. Bon Scott at the height of his powers. Let There Be Rock, indeed.
    • Sonic Youth, Hold That Tiger. They've never released a "proper" live album, but this official bootleg from the Sister tour just... burns. Plus it ends with a clearly unrehearsed Ramones medley. "This song is called 'We're Sonic Youth And You're Steve Albini', ONETWOTHREEFOUR!"
    • Velvet Underground, The Quine Tapes. We'll never get a VU live album in good quality, and we'll probably never get a VU live album with the original line-up at all (discounting the 90s reunion). This is the closest we get, and with three versions of "Sister Ray" (the longest one going on for 38 minutes) who's complaining?
    • John Cale, Fragments Of A Rainy Season. Possibly the best "unplugged" live album ever, just John alone with a guitar and a piano - and he still manages to make "Leaving It Up To You" sound positively psychotic. Plus, the ultimate version of Cohen's "Hallelujah."
    • Neil Young, Weld. Everything's distorted, everything's loud, every guitar solo sounds like he's ripping his heart out and rubbing it into the stage floor before throwing it at the audience.
    • The Band, Rock of Ages. Forget The Last Waltz... well, not completely, but this is what you're looking for. One of the best bands that ever existed before they started hating each other, backed up by a horn section and a happily drunk Bob Dylan on a couple of tracks.
    • Tom Waits, Big Time. Just listen to the revival meeting on "Down In The Hole" ("The Lord is a very, very busy man!") or the junkyard punk of "Telephone Call From Istanbul"... (Nighthawks At The Diner is a better album, but it's really a studio album disguised as a live album.)
    • Laurie Anderson, Live in New York September 19-20 2001. Note the dates: we're talking catharsis here. "O Superman" - "Here come the planes/They're American planes/Made In America/Smoking or non-smoking?"
    • Miles Davis, Live At Fillmore East. Miles at his most electric and chaotic, to the point where we don't even get the full songs - it's all edited together into one furious aural assault. It's all one song.
    • Spacemen 3, Dreamweapon. Uncompromising, to say the least: one 40-minute instrumental, all on one chord; hypnotic to the fifth degree. (And for a nice contrast, Spiritualized's Live At Royal Albert Hall from 8 years later; same frontman, two completely different albums.)
    • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Live Seeds. Not all their best material (they were still to release Let Love In), but man, the energy they put into it...
    • Nirvana, Unplugged In New York. The best funeral service ever held for someone who was still alive at the time.
    • Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Plays Monterey. You can actually pinpoint the exact second where he goes from promising newcomer to superstar.
    • Hamell On Trial, Ed's Not Dead. Seeing Ed Hamell in concert is an experience you'll never forget; a stocky, bald, middle-age man with an acoustic guitar and enough punk energy to burn a large-ish city to the ground. If you don't get to see him, this is a good substitute.
    • Townes Van Zandt, Live At The Old Quarter. One of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century alone with a guitar in a small club in front of an audience who treat him like the second coming... and they might not be far off.
    • The Stooges, Metallic KO. The last Stooges show ever (again, before the reunion many years later). Everyone's tired, everyone's much too high, and Iggy has made sure to antagonise the local biker gangs who show up looking to kick his punk ass... you hear glasses smash against the microphones, people running onto the stage to punch Iggy out, but he keeps coming back for more. And somewhere in there they play most of the never-released fourth album. "This is a song I co-wrote with your mother. It's called 'I've Got My Cock In My Pocket.' ONE! TWO! **** YOU PRICKS!"
    ...was that 20 already? Crap. I'll probably want to add more when I get home, too.
     
  3. joderu95

    joderu95 New Member

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    I don't have a lot of them but I like the ones I have and I know of a few others that I would like to have.

    Here are some of mine that I like.

    Matisyahu - Live at Stubbs
    Simon & Garfunkel - The Concert in Central Park
    Stevie Ray Vaughn - Live at Carnegie Hall
    George Thoroghgood - Live
    10,000 Maniacs - MTV Unplugged
    Eric Clapton - Unplugged
     
  4. sparkchaser

    sparkchaser Administrator and Stuntman Staff Member

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    The MTV Unplugged series that I have listened to have been pretty good in terms of quality.
     
  5. SeoulMan

    SeoulMan Member

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    I used to love live albums, but that was when I was in my teens. I don't like them when the album contains versions of songs that are identical to their studio counterparts. Here's an example of why I sometimes love live albums. "Wings Over America," the 1970s live album by Paul McCartney & Wings, contains a great version of "The Long and Winding Road." I have always felt that this Beatles song was overrated and too sappy and never liked any version by any artist; that is, until I heard the live version by Paul McCartney in this album. It managed to remove all the sappiness that plagued the original Beatles' studio version.
     
  6. KingFishFan15

    KingFishFan15 New Member

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    I tend to like live albums. I don't own many (mostly Josh Groban ones) but I do find that I prefer when the live version makes improvements on the studio version.
     
  7. lunablu63

    lunablu63 New Member

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    REO Speedwagon's Live 'You Get What You Play For' is prolly my all time fave.
     
  8. dele

    dele New Member

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    I think it really depends on the artist. For example, I can only take Barbra Streisand in very small dose... But listening to her in concert is incredible! My favourite artist is Garou, and while I *like* is studio albums, I *love* listening to his live albums. Some artists really know how to play to an audience, but sadly there are many who just don't.
     
  9. St. Stephen

    St. Stephen kickbox

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    Well I like jam bands so it's a given that I like live albums. Most of the time I prefer the live version of a song over the studio version.

    I think they're necessary for a collection because a live show is a true test of musical ability, improvisation, stamina, heart, and other traits of a band's character. It's more personal.. you get to hear words other than lyrics to the songs. I feel a lot more involved in the songs too... not as much as I would if I were in the audience but much more than hearing the studio recording.
     
  10. Zolipara

    Zolipara New Member

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    Generally with a few exceptions i find livealbums to be very uninteresting. The livealbums usually never really capture the feeling of beeing there and you tend to end up with a copy of the studio album with a bit of crowdnoises and a bit worse(or a lot worse) sound. Then i just end up with the feeling of having bought a crap bestof album. There are a few exceptions though that manage to bring something new but its rare.

    The worst of the worst when it comes to livealbums is probably the "lets milk this band that disbanded for whatever reason for as long as we possibly can by releasing every crappy recording we ever made" albums.
     
  11. Robert

    Robert Active Member

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    Bob Seger's Live Bullet is my favorite.
     
  12. impalpable

    impalpable New Member

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    Live albums are definitely an important part of the collection. This year alone, three really great ones were released.

    The Gossip - Live at Liverpool
    The Fiery Furnaces - Remember
    The National - The Virginia EP
     
  13. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    Can't name any albums of the top of my head but I think some songs are better live, some bands too. So yeah I like them, not all though, some are crap.
     

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