Live Albums

Posted: April 17, 2015 by nickd0913 in Uncategorized

Live albums can be tricky.  The live album leaves out some things that makes seeing a band live great.  Things like actually being able to see them, hearing the band while standing in the same room with them, the atmosphere of the venue, and experiencing the event with a few hundred or few thousand other people.  A great concert can really create a sense of community among strangers, even if it is only for a couple of hours.

Another challenge with a live album is the sad but true fact that some people only prefer to hear the studio version of a band’s songs ( I am talking to you Jamie Lee Perkins Gilley Dalton).  With all of the challenges live albums present, there have still been some incredible live albums put out over the years.  There have also been a lot of turds and that is why you will not see any mention of “Frampton Comes Alive” or “Alive!” by Kiss.  Those records suck.  We will be talking about some of the live albums I have grown to love over the last 20 years or so.

5. The Black Crowes – Live from the 9:30 Club 10/03/05

Let me start by saying I was at this show.  This was one of the top 2 or 3 concerts of my life.  I got to see my favorite band at the world famous 9:30 Club and I was about 20 feet from the stage.  Not only did I get to see the show but the band taped the show and immediately sold it to the fans afterwards.  I actually walked out of the venue with the concert in my hand.  Only a band that is confident in their skills has the balls to do that.  Anyway they played two 90 minute sets that night. They played a ton of their hits but also did all kinds of great covers including “Don’t Do It” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” from The Band. They did covers from Little Feat, Ron Wood, Joe Cocker, and the single greatest live song I have ever witnessed.  The Bob Dylan classic “Girl From the North Country”  they turned it into an 8 minute masterpiece unlike anything I have ever heard in my life.  I do not even know if you can buy this record but if you can you should buy it.

4. Nirvana – Live in New York

This is my favorite Nirvana record.  I feel like it does not get enough props but I could be wrong.  Hearing this band in this setting is pretty incredible.  This album made me really like Nirvana and it is the record I almost always go to when I want to hear this band.   This set is obviously taken from Nirvana’s appearance on the famous MTV show “Unplugged”.  MTV wanted Nirvana to roll out the hits for the appearance but the band had other ideas.  As always the talent was right.  Even though the set was filled with cover songs and lesser known Nirvana songs it is pretty powerful.  Especially the final song on the album.  The haunting “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” which was a cover originally done by Leadbelly.  Incredible way to end the album.

3. The Band – The Last Waltz

The Band was breaking up in 1976 so they decided to have one final concert on Thanksgiving Day of that year.  It was not just your typical concert.  They decided to film it and have Martin Scorsese direct it.  They also decided to invite a few friends to help them out.  Nobody special just a few musicians you may or may not have heard of.  People like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Ron Wood, Dr. John, Muddy Waters, Neil Diamond, and Eric Clapton to name a few.  This night produced one of the greatest concert films and live albums of all time.  If you have never sat down to watch “The Last Waltz” you are really missing out.  I suggest watching the DVD in all of it’s glory and then follow it up by listening to the 4 disc box set of the show.  Check out “Don’t Do It” from the concert and learn all of the band member’s names while you are at it.

2. The Allman Brothers – At Fillmore East

A lot of people consider this the greatest live album of all time.  I would not disagree with them.  I just really started getting into his album about a year ago.  I then got the 6 CD box set for my birthday a few months later and I started listening to this album all of the time.  After wearing this album out, I have decided a few things.  Duane Allman is one of the 5 greatest guitar players of all time, Duane Allman and Dickey Betts are one of the greatest guitar tandems of all time, and finally, I am a real dumb ass for never seeing this band live.  Sit back and listen to this album when you get a chance.

1. The Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out

This album is a mother f&*ker!!!  If you want to hear the greatest rock band in the world at the height of their powers then go get this record, turn your stereo up as loud as wit will go, and give it a listen.  This album was recorded in 1969.  It was their first tour with new guitar player Mick Taylor and the band never sounded better.  The album opens up with 3 ass kickers in a row.  “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, the Chuck Berry cover “Carol”, and the best song on the record “Stray Cat Blues”.  If that is not enough maybe “Midnight Rambler”, “Honky Tonk Woman”, and “Street Fighting Man” will get your attention.  If you like live records this is the one to start with.  Check out “Stray Cat Blues” from the album.


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