The Best And Greatest Live Albums Of All Time

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mat.bez.lima
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The Best And Greatest Live Albums Of All Time

Post by mat.bez.lima » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:27 pm

This thread is about live albums in general, but especially suggestions of great live albums and opinions about them. To begin the subject, I ask: is it really worthy buy a live album? Shows, including that in live albums, are generally nothing more than the artist singing greatest hits that you already have in the studio albums or easily can download in web. It is much more worthy in these cases go to the show. Maybe I am saying wrong and nonsense things because I almost never listened live albums and my knowing about them is very little, but live albums are truly a very different kind of albums if compared with studio albums. Consequently, the demands and criteries that are used to judge live albums must be very different of studio albums. But, like I said before, my knowing of how are live albums is little and I want to know: what makes a great live albums, what is it expected, what are the demands and qualities in a good live album, in a great live album and in a live album that would you call masterpiece?
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prosecutorgodot
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Re: The Best And Greatest Live Albums Of All Time

Post by prosecutorgodot » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:45 pm

Would you like to organize a formal poll, Mat? Dunno if that's something you'd be interested in.

Didn't really read your whole post. A lot of the time, I'm stumped as to an actual rubric of what constitutes a "great" live album. If it's good music, that's pretty much all I need. I guess "greatness" would come from the extremities that the artist goes to to present a thrilling performance to the audience. And to me, another important thing is to make your live version feel different from your studio version; show a different side of the song/you. It seems that a lot of critics like to hear the uproar from the crowd, like on "Live at the Apollo" and "At Folsom Prison".

As to the economics of live albums, it usually feels like a play for more money, maybe to get you to buy tickets to see the show, sort of like another version of a greatest hits compilation. Unless, like I say above, the live version feels different, moves you differently, from the studio version.

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Re: The Best And Greatest Live Albums Of All Time

Post by mat.bez.lima » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:07 pm

prosecutorgodot wrote:Would you like to organize a formal poll, Mat? Dunno if that's something you'd be interested in.

Didn't really read your whole post. A lot of the time, I'm stumped as to an actual rubric of what constitutes a "great" live album. If it's good music, that's pretty much all I need. I guess "greatness" would come from the extremities that the artist goes to to present a thrilling performance to the audience. And to me, another important thing is to make your live version feel different from your studio version; show a different side of the song/you. It seems that a lot of critics like to hear the uproar from the crowd, like on "Live at the Apollo" and "At Folsom Prison".

As to the economics of live albums, it usually feels like a play for more money, maybe to get you to buy tickets to see the show, sort of like another version of a greatest hits compilation. Unless, like I say above, the live version feels different, moves you differently, from the studio version.
Great answer. Thank you!
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mat.bez.lima
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Re: The Best And Greatest Live Albums Of All Time

Post by mat.bez.lima » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:48 pm

I will say one thing that will amaze you that know I am a Sinatra fan: I HATE the live album Sinatra At The Sands. Sinatra's voice here is bad (his voice is better even in some shows in the 80s decade), very gruffy in a bad way and passed his peak period, his performances of almost all songs in the album are jokes, bad jokes, he doesn't seem to take almost every song here seriously, he is much off key many times and seems, like the whole public in the Sands hotel, drunk.

Singers don't need to be, and is hard to be, so perfect technically when live, but Sinatra here is worse even than the minimum acceptable for me. His performance of I've Got Crush On You shows all this very well, when he don't sing a big part of the songs and he and the audience just laughs without
any explication!

The worst thing is his LONG monologue in the middle of the concert. Just some songs after that monologue, I saw myself without standing more Sinatra's voice in that album (Get Me To The Church On Time is unlistenable and Sinatra's voice is horrible in this period). The whole album almost always makes me remember the original versions and wanting to hear that original versions instead of the featured here.

There are just four worthy and good to great performances, performances in that Sinatra, even tough without the technical perfectionism of the studio versions, really sung seriously, with feeling and focused in the songs. They are: Angel Eyes, One For My Baby, It Was A Very Good Year and Septemberr Of Years because Sinatra's interpretations and Quincy Jones really add new interesting things in the songs and I really like these four performances.

Besides that four songs, the only good things are the Count Basie band and Quincy Jones's arrangements. It's a shame, this could be really a great album, but, sad to say, only Sinatra is guilty of this. But the worse thing is see some fans recommending this album to people that never listened Sinatra and saying that this album shows all his qualities that explain why Sinatra is considered by many the greatest singer of the last century. If you want to see why Sinatra was a spectacular singer with great technique, feeling and- beautiful voice, this is NOT the album for you. If I was going to review this album in just one word, I would say: RUN! Besides that four highlights that I mentioned here, never listen to this album in your life, your ears don't deserve!
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Re: The Best And Greatest Live Albums Of All Time

Post by Pierre » Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:39 am

Live albums which are just promotional material for a studio album or feature songs with little variation from their studio versions (as basically best-of albums with a live tag on it) are very common nowadays, but these are just plain BAD live albums. A really great live album is one that showcases the artists exploring the possibilities of their songs (i.e. jam) and/or demonstrates the raw kinetic energy of a particularly great performance and/or manages to translate the connection between the artists and their audience. Many of my favourite live albums fall into the "jam" and "energy" categories. A starter's list (not much vocal jazz/classic pop, sorry):

- The Who "Live at Leeds"
- Lou Reed "Rock n Roll Animal"
- Deep Purple "Made in Japan"
- James Brown "Live at the Apollo" and "Sex Machine"
- The Allman Brothers Band "At Fillmore East"
- The Grateful Dead "Live/Evil" and many others
- Frank Zappa "You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore Vol.2: The Helsinki Concert", "Roxy & Elsewhere" and many others
- The Rolling Stones "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out"
- The Beatles "Live at the Hollywood Bowl"
- Neil Young & Crazy Horse "Live Rust"
- Pentangle "Sweet Child" (live side)
- Nirvana "MTV Unplugged in New York"
- Johnny Cash "At Folsom Prison" and "At San Quentin"
- The Velvet Underground "1969: The Velvet Underground Live" and "Live at Max's Kansas City"
- Bob Dylan "The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert"
- Radiohead "I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings"
- Miles Davis "Live in Stockholm" (although it's gargantuan), "Agartha", "Pangaea" and many others
- Bill Evans "Sunday at the Village Vanguard" and "Waltz for Debby"
- John Coltrane "Live at the Village Vanguard"
- Thelonious Monk "Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall", "Live at the It Club"
- The Quintet "Jazz at Massey Hall"
- Duke Ellington "Ellington at Newport 1956"
- Cannonball Adderley "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at the Club"
- Benny Goodman "The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert"
- Jacques Brel "À l'Olympia 1961" and "À l'Olympia 1964"
- Alain Bashung "Live Tour 85"
- Miguel Ríos "Rock & Ríos"
- Les Rallizes Dénudés "77/Live" (well, not actually for starters because of the disastrous sound quality, but it's a very influential album nonetheless)
- Underworld "Everything, Everything"
- Daft Punk "Alive 2007"

I'm probably totally not thorough. I realize now I didn't put in an Hendrix album, for instance.

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Re: The Best And Greatest Live Albums Of All Time

Post by Rob » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:55 am

There can be real magic on a live album. Some artists seem to get electrified when performing live. There are also artists who (many times by their own admission) just don't particularly like recording in the studio, so they tend to prefer the live format. I've been listening to Live at the Regal and Live In Cook County Jail by B.B. King the past two days and just listen to how much spirit he puts in his songs there. I feel there is much more fire and passion in these recordings than in most of his studio output. His Regal album is especially a masterpiece.

In the case of Nina Simone it is almost as if the live show was her reason of being. She has decent to great studio recordings of course, but listen to her live work, with Nina Simone in Concert as the best example. I think people like her feed off the audience.

But is the live album a lost art? It shouldn't be, but it feels like with each passing decade the live album has become less important.
Last edited by Rob on Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mat.bez.lima
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Re: The Best And Greatest Live Albums Of All Time

Post by mat.bez.lima » Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:19 pm

The commentaries here are being great! Thank all you!
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