I got to thinking about my favorite live albums so in no particular order: (my initial draft got eaten by Firefox 😦 so this one is a little shorter and perhaps more concise)
- The Neville Brothers – “Live on Planet Earth” – a classic New Orleans jamboree with lots of classics, fantastic singing and music and enthousiasm which is contagious. This one always reminds me of the three times I had the luck to attend the Jazz&Heritage Festival in ‘Nawlins back in the early 90’s and once actually saw the Nevilles perform there.
- Bob Marley – “Babylon by Bus” – an essential document of the Kaya tour with Marley burning them down like no one else can.
- Rush – “Exit, Stage Left” – an album that I loved as a kid that contains most of the classic Rush from the early 80’s. Brings back lots of pre-high school memories.
- John Coltrane – “Live at Birdland” – the unaccompanied solo on track 2 is one of the most incredible recordings that I have ever heard. The entire album is just as amazing and insightful.
- Keith Jarrett – “The Köln Concert” – The energy and emotion of this improvised performance defies description apart from the grunts and cries as Jarrett pounds the notes out of his piano. I once heard this in concert in an apartement in Paris. I don’t know how the person managed to transcribe all the notes but it was a faithful attempt at reproducing this incredible recording.
- The Who – “Live at Leeds” – how much energy is rock-n-roll capable of? The Who seems to attempt to push the needle way off the right end on this recording from 1970.
- Jeff Buckley – “Live at the Sin-é” – an acoustic, heart-breaking set from the prematurely passed away Mr. Buckley. Released just before “Grace” and captivating to listen to, I just got a copy of it and am really enjoying it.
- Bob Dylan – “Bootleg, Vol. 6” – Dylan back in 1964 was amazing. I had two aunts that saw him play at this period in his career. The thing is that even now, his work carries on and is just as fresh. How he can do this over a span of almost 50 years is mind-boggling.
- Johnny Cash – “At Folsom Prison” – the definitive Cash recording with June Carter and the legendary Luther Perkins. Incredible songs at such an unlikely and yet appropriate venue, this one is a must for anyone that wants to understand the Man in Black.
- The Clash – “Live at Shea Stadium” – recently dug out of vaults somewhere, this set from the Clash’s 1983 tour with The Who shows the Clash not long before their breakup but still capable of volcanic stretches such as that at the end of this album “Clampdown”, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and “I Fought the Law”. I am so jealous of the two or three people I know that actually saw the Clash live.
- Honorable mention: U2 “Under a Blood Red Sky”, Peter Gabriel “Plays Live”, The Doors “In Concert”, The Allman Brothers “Live at the Atlanta Int’l Pop Festival”, Jimmy Hendrix “Live at Berkeley”, Frank Zappa “You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol 3”, …
Comments welcome and solicited 🙂