Live Albums ? --- I Can Live Without Them

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Wildest cat from montana, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    Just was never that big of a fan of live albums.
    Bought the usual suspects growing up -- you know : ' Ya Yas ' , Leeds , bootleg Royal Albert Hall , Frampton-double etc.
    And I played ' em all and liked them well enough but...
    I seldom play live albums anymore.
  2. tinnox

    tinnox Senior Member

    Not me love live albums, I like the different variations artist will do when performing live but not all live albums are good as far as sound goes though and I also enjoy the live solos.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
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  3. ghoulsurgery

    ghoulsurgery House Ghost

    New Jersey
    I’m on the other side. A good live album usually becomes my go-to record for an artist or at least a period in their career. I listen to the 1964 Bootleg Series more than any of Dylan’s acoustic records. I put on Live Rust more than almost any other Neil album. The Counting Crows: Across a Wire 2xCD is practically the only album of theirs I listen to. And I tend to go to Joy Division live recordings over the albums.
  4. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Only Kindness Matters

    I was slow to warm to live recordings and I'm still particular about the ones I enjoy. In general, I am definitely a studio album person but there are select excellent live albums that really slay me and become personal favorites. It's really about the quality of the performance and a certain magical feeling you can only get from a really special gig/gigs. I'm bored to tears by a lot of pedestrian live stuff, but my top live records are all near and near to my heart. They tend to feature more intense or more intimate versions of the original songs.

    A few favorites off the top of my head: Unplugged by Neil Young; Mirrorball by Sarah McLachlan; Rock of Ages by the Band; Live 11-17-70 by Elton John; Hard Rain by Bob Dylan; Under the Red Sky by U2; 4 Way Street by CSNY; Running on Empty by Jackson Browne; Hell Freezes Over by Eagles; The Dance by Fleetwood Mac; Live 1975-85 by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band; It's Too Late to Stop Now by Van Morrison

    There are two types of live album I'm no fan of at all:
    1. Live records that replicate the studio versions as exactly as possible to entirely boring effect, or just in generic 'stadium rock' style. I'm a huge Stones fan but I don't have any interest in any of their official live albums post Love You Live.
    2. Albums full of jams and really, really long solos. It's just not to my taste. I can only take so much guitar deedle-doodle! I love Led Zeppelin but only their studio work. I don't enjoy their live stuff.
  5. Jackson

    Jackson Forum Resident

    MA, USA
    The best live albums are ones recorded in intimate settings, like "Neil Young at Massey Hall" or a more recent one i had the privilege to be in attendance for "Live At The Narrows" by Eilen Jewell, i wouldn't hesitate recommending as an introduction to her music, never get tired of them.

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  6. wellhamsrus

    wellhamsrus Duke of Earl

    I don't like live albums in general, but there are some I have an affection for: Viva! Roxy Music, Lou Reed Rock n Roll Animal. But I usually avoid them.
  7. drift61603

    drift61603 Forum Resident

    Peoria, IL
    I listen to bootlegs far more than live albums. Last year alone I listened to every single concert Bob Dylan did in '88 (they all circulate) and all but a few from 2019. I didn't listen to any of his live albums once. Bootlegs and soundboard recordings in general provide a more realistic listening experience than officially released product.
  8. Tom H

    Tom H Forum Resident

    Kapolei, Hawaii
    Depends on the artist for me. Grateful Dead live is better than anything they did in the studio by miles IMO. Also enjoy many live jazz albums.
    CCrider92, Hammerpeg, hiterss and 7 others like this.
  9. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    I was reading your list specifically looking for ' Get Your Ya Yas Out ' and didn't see it but I see you snuck it in there in your last sentence kinda sneaky like.
    Chance likes this.
  10. Say It Right

    Say It Right Not for the Hearing Impaired

    Niagara Falls
  11. Mr. Siegal

    Mr. Siegal Forum Resident

    Sitting on my sofa
    Live > Album > Live album
  12. Rufus rag

    Rufus rag Forum Resident

    A lot of artists and bands say they are a 'live' band as opposed to a 'studio's band.
    Personally I have no particular preference but I would play AC/DC's 'If You Blood... ' over any of their studio albums. They really where a live and not a studio band.
    smoke, Slice, Lonevej and 1 other person like this.
  13. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    90-something percent of the time I could live without them, too. It's very rare that I like live versions as much as studio versions, rarer still that I prefer them--although there are some examples.

    But even for a band like the Grateful Dead, although they certainly have some live gems, overall I prefer the studio albums.

    I'm probably more into composition and arrangement than any other aspect of music, and studio albums tend to have much "fussier" arrangements--there's usually a lot more going on arrangement wise, a lot more details, layers, subtleties, etc. I tend to prefer that . . . which is also why I was never a fan of Steve Albini's approach in the studio. I don't want "live in the studio." I want "fussy, complex arrangements with lots of intricate or subtle layers" in the studio.
  14. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Generally I don't like live albums, especially double or longer rock ones. I do love Live After Death by Iron Maiden because I grew up with it and the track list is metal classic after metal classic. I also love Quo Live and AC/DC - If You Want Blood. U2 - Under a Blood Red Sky is an exciting live album that works by being so short. Not a second wasted on that one. Judas Priest - Unleashed in the East is a great one too, but that's often called Unleashed in the Studio!

    I do like soul live album by Etta James, James Brown, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin. They have a great atmosphere to them and unlike rock live albums, are usually a straight live recording without loads of post production. Except James Brown's fake live albums! I meant that I like the 60s Apollo ones by him.
    Joti Cover, Slice, angelo73 and 3 others like this.
  15. fr in sc

    fr in sc Forum Resident

    Hanahan, SC
    There are a few live albums that I think are a must---the one from Monterey that featured Jimi on one side and Otis on the other; Get Your Ya-Yas Out, Live At Leeds (the remastered one, not the original), James Gang Live In Concert, and of course, the one I've been waiting 50-plus years for, the one that Neil has lurking in his archives that features all the Springfield's great performances including at the Whiskey in '66 and the final show in Long Beach in '68. And if he says he doesn't have those recordings I say he's a lyin' dog-faced pony soldier!!
  16. Archtop

    Archtop Amon Soft Agitation Dead Crimson Cow

    Probably 75-80% of what I listen to is live material.
  17. markreed

    markreed Forum Resident

    I *love* live albums. For a number of reasons : firstly, live recordings tend to send more organic to me - it's generally the sound of a bunch of people in the same room at the same time making a noise together. Most studio albums are composites of recordings stretched years and miles apart, and sometimes by people who have never actually met. Some bands also only nail the best arrangement after playing a song live, such as U2's Bad or Where The Streets Have No Name. The studio version is great. But live? Incredible.

    Secondly, the arrangement of songs can often be revelatory. Underworld have released around 15 live albums - including about 10 from 2007-2008 - , and each one tends to have a unique setlist where songs have different shapes and lengths depending upon the feel of the moment and the response of the crowd. Depeche Mode frequently have radically different arrangements live of songs where they don't have fit in with the 4 minute 7" single format.

    Also, when you've played the studio albums to death, a live album breathes new life into old songs.

    Some bands just replicate the studio version identically, and that's a bit boring. Bands that make a song 'real' with little changes and feed off the crowd keep the song fresh. I've listened to some studio records after years of enjoying live versions, and to me, the records are now wrong.
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  18. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Only Kindness Matters

    Ya-Ya's is great. I like it a lot. But I like every album I listed in my post better than Ya-Ya's. I'm not all Stones all the time! And, as I said, the idea of listening to Live Licks or No Security or Havana Moon makes my blood run cold. I loved seeing the Stones live in '02 and '05 but modern live Stones translates to incredibly boring, useless live albums. For me.
    Man at C&A, Grootna, forthlin and 4 others like this.
  19. fuse999

    fuse999 Forum Resident

    I generally don't like live albums, unless there is a video to go with it.
  20. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    Not just for you...
    angelo73 likes this.
  21. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    That's interesting.
    Can you cite some specific titles?
  22. craymcla

    craymcla Forum Resident

    Nashville, TN, USA
    Bingo! My exact same experience with Dylan and Neil Young and so many other of the bands I really like from the 70s. That doesn't seem to be quite as much the case now, maybe because it's so much easier to reproduce the studio recorded album on stage these days and the musicians aren't required to be quite as creative. But the real excitement for me was how band translated those recording into a live environment. The Who's Tommy live is a perfect example. And I may be in a minority, but my absolute favorite version of "Jumping Jack Flash" is from Ya Yas. In Gimme Shelter, I sometimes get goosebumps when Jagger says, "Welcome to the breakfast show" and they launch into that song.
  23. JerseyPride

    JerseyPride Well-Known Member

    Cranford, NJ
    Depends on the artist/album for me. After spinning Sam Cooke's, Live at the Harlem Square Club for so many years, it's almost difficult for me to hear the studio version of those tracks.
    Joti Cover, Man at C&A, smoke and 3 others like this.
  24. craymcla

    craymcla Forum Resident

    Nashville, TN, USA
    I don't think it's specific titles as much as what you get used to hearing. But what studio albums make up for in nuance, they often lose in energy and spontaneity. At least from the better live bands.
  25. DuctTapeTheory

    DuctTapeTheory Well-Known Member

    Bay Area, CA
    Coltrane Live at Birdland "Afro Blue"!
    Are you kidding?
    Some of my favorite Zappa records are from his live archive--I'm writing this while listening to "The Grand Wazoo" live in Boston from my recently purchased Wazoo--brilliant!
    Also, Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, Sets 1&2 are essential records for me.
    My list goes on and on and on...Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron's "Let's Call This...Esteem" is phenomenal.
    The San Francisco Symphony's release of John Adams's Grand Pianola Music is a terrific performance of a killer bit of minimalist-and-beyond Adams.

    It just never gets old!
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020

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