Studio or Live?

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Studio or Live? Empty Studio or Live?

Post by Davie on Fri 26 Aug 2011, 4:59 pm

Listening on my MP3 player today (in random mode as usual) I've noticed it's pulled up a lot more live tracks than studio today - which is probably a reflection of the fact that I have a lot of live albums loaded on there - and it reminded me of an age old question. Which is better? Live or Studio?

Now being a fan of classic rock and metal, I'm limiting myself mostly to classic bands from the 70s and 80s - do the more modern bands do as many live albums as the old rockers do/did?

Anyway - thought I'd select 10 classic rock or metal live albums. Comments welcome or add your own suggestions!

1) Made in Japan - Deep Purple. Possible THE classic live album. Back in the old days of vinyl when this was released a double LP, Disk 1, side 1 is maybe the greatest 20-odd minutes of rock music to this day, with Highway Star and Child in Time. When you add in the definitive live version of Smoke on the Water, Ian Gillan's vocal gymnastics on Strange Kind of Woman (back in the days when he could still scream) and a 20-something minute version of Space Truckin', this gets 11 out of 10 in the best Spinal Tap tradition. Note for purists that some years ago a 3-CD special edition "Live In Japan" was released which featured full concerts from the 3 nights the original was taken from - including some rare encores.

2) Live and Dangerous - Thin Lizzy. Criticized for some years by rumours that this wasn't as "live" as it was made out to be, I had that rumour dismissed to me by someone I know from another (music) forum who is personal friends with one of the Lizzy lineup from this era and who reliably informed me that any post-recording "tweaks" were limited to adjusting the crowd noise and re-recording just one very minor glitch. Standout tracks, Rosalie, Massacre, Don't Believe A Word and Baby Drives Me Crazy

3) Unleashed in the East - Juda Priest. Another "live" CD criticized by many for being retouched in the studio after the event. I can't claim to know anyone with inside knowledge on this one as with the Lizzy one, but again there are plenty of people who claim that the retouching wasn't as much as some claim. Twin guitar attacks at their best (like Lizzy) - Genocide and Exciter are featured tracks plus a great version of Fleetwood Mac's "Green Manalishi"

4) All The World's a Stage - Rush. This was the first Rush album I heard, at a time when I was starting to get a little fed up with 70s rock bands. Deep Purple had split up, then reformed with the (IMO) inferior Coverdale on vocals. The opening bars of Bastille Day almost literally blew me way. Like nothing I'd ever heard before, the epic 2112 and By-Tor restored my faith in hard rock.

5) On Your Feet Or Or Your Knees - Blue Oyster Cult. The first band I ever saw live (on the tour after this live album), BOC were at the time known as masters of the laser light show, second only to Pink Floyd. OYFOOYK suffers a little these days with rather poor sound reproduction but is a must-have for any rock fan. The 5 guitar jam on ME262 is something you are unlikely to hear from any other band

6) Once in a LIVETime - Dream Theater. Not their best known live album to be honest (Score, Live at the Bodokhan and Live Scenes from a Memory are probably better known) but LIVETime is my favourite DT offering. Although it pre-dates Jordan Rudess's arrival on keyboards, Derek Sherinian is magnificent on it and the whole album is made a lot of fun by many snippets of other classic rock band songs mixed in with their own material in medleys. Surprise appearances for example of bits of Enter Sandman, Freebird, Xanadu.

7) Live: Bursting Out - Jethro Tull. The cover which parodies Lizzy's Live and Dangerous sets the scene for this eccentric album and where else could you expect to hear Ian Anderson prancing around the stage in riding jodhpurs extolling the virtues of a "riding girl"? British eccentricity at its best.

8) Song Remains The Same - Led Zeppelin. Another classic. 27 minutes of Dazed and Confused (I believe at the time one of the longest ever sides of vinyl music) and of course Stairway to Heaven - add in some Rain Song and No Quarter and you get exactly what you'd expect from Zep

9) The Whirlwind Live - Transatlantic. A masterpiece of live prog rock with 5 immensely talented musician producing 3 hours of terrific music. Mike Portnoy and Neil Morse interact so well and Roine Scholtz shows what a great guitarist he is

10) Get Your Buzz On - Chickenfoot. Although Chickenfoot has only produced one album before going on the road and recording a live show, they added a few extras and cover versions to the existing material to produce a great "no frills" rock album.

Over to you!

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Post by littleswannygirl on Fri 26 Aug 2011, 9:59 pm

Great idea for a thread Davie thumbsup

I'd have to say 'Live' without question. The odd thing is that, after checking, I own next to no live albums! I too have Song Remains The Same but that's about it.

Ask me about live gigs and that's a whole different story! Maybe if they'd been recorded I would have bought them. I think I need to go and investigate!
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Post by Cari on Fri 26 Aug 2011, 10:13 pm

The best thing about live gigs is that sometimes, the performers will add something special to an old song - U2 do it all the time. Check out their live version of I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight at Croke Park - it's on the Artificial Horizons album for download. The live version is way better than the album version.

I'd also highly recommend U2's live albums - Under A Blood Red Sky and Wide Awake In America - it's their early stuff, but they were (still are) a superb live band.

Also, I love the different versions Madonna did of her old songs on the Confessions Tour. That tour was issued on CD and DVD and recommend those. She knows how to put on a good show.

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Post by dyrewolfe on Mon 29 Aug 2011, 3:35 pm

Being something of a purist, I prefer listening to studio albums. The only live album I own is Iron Maiden's Live After Death, which, despite being a corker and showcasing Maiden perfectly as a live act, I don't listen to that often.

That said, there is nothing like seeing a band live. Sometimes they disappoint, sometimes they blow your mind, but there is always the excitement of not knowing what to expect. Also love it when bands rework their songs for live performances, do medleys, covers and stuff you wouldn't expect them to.
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Post by legendkillar on Mon 29 Aug 2011, 5:15 pm

Great post Davie and some great selections. I shall go by what I have witnessed.

1. Nirvana Unplugged New York - Quite a stunning array songs and fantastically performed. Certainly showed a new dimension to Kurt's voice. Enjoyed The Man Who Sold The World and Sliver.

2. Coldplay Storytellers - It was a brilliant set that thay performed. It was also welcomed to hear them talk about the tracks and the inspiration behind them. Fix You and Yellow were superb.

3. Queen Wembley - I haven't seen it, but I heard it on tape when I was 8. My dad bought it and didn't like it and gave it to me. Utter brilliance and intensity to match. Hearing We Will Rock You still gives me goose bumps. Certainly their finest hour.

4. Led Zeppelin Knebworth - My friend was so kind to provide me a recording of this 8 years ago. A fantastic listen. So much music squeezed onto one album. I think this had the 20 minute epic version on Whole Lotta Love, though I could be wrong. Still stunning.

5. U2 Glanstonbury - Throughly enjoyed their set. Even throwing in a version of Yellow, but With or Without You was fantastic. Enjoyed One and Bloody Sunday.

Can't think of any others Headscratch

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Post by Cari on Wed 31 Aug 2011, 1:11 pm

U2 were awesome at Glastonbury. I really liked their set. I thought it was bold of them to start with four songs all from Achtung Baby, and for Bono to throw in a bit of Jerusalem Smile Went mad when they did Out of Control too.

The Manics are always good live as well. I used to own a fair few bootleg albums. The in between song banter was usually the really entertaining bit especially when Nicky Wire had had a few and started ranting. Very Happy

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Wed 31 Aug 2011, 3:10 pm

Some of the songs Nirvana performed on 'Live at Reading' 1992 album are great. There's an urgency and vitality to a live performance that you can't quite replicate in the studio - but then again there's so much you can achieve in the studio that you can't replicate live. Generally I prefer studio albums.

Also, Pink Floyd's live version of 'Careful with that Axe, Eugene' off Ummagumma is miles better than the studio version.

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Post by MtotheC's Wrasslin Biatch on Wed 31 Aug 2011, 3:41 pm

I usually prefer live performances to recorded ones, but mostly only if I'm there. Often they don't translate well back onto disc IMO.

My favourite live album is Red Hot Chili Peppers live at Hyde Park, John Frusciante is on fire on that recording, and some of the solos are simply beautiful - much better than the ones he recorded. And it's a fine document of how tight that band, with that formation, actually were.

Picking up on Cari's recomnedation of the Manics - I've seen them wither 7 or 8 times, and as well as the great banter from Nicky Wire, there is always a section in the middle of the gig where James Dean Bradfield performs 2 acoustic tracks on his own, no accompaniment at all (usually a track which was originally acoustic, and the second a stripped back version of one of their recorded tracks) - and they are stunning every time without fail. Such a fantastic musician and performer.

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Post by MtotheC's Wrasslin Biatch on Wed 31 Aug 2011, 3:43 pm

Also, David Gilmour - Live in Gdansk is sensational. Particularly "High Hopes"

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Post by Cari on Wed 31 Aug 2011, 3:48 pm

oh! I almost forgot! A must have live album is From Here to Eternity by The Clash. It's 17 live tracks from different gigs they've done. If you just want to download a few tracks I'd recommend the following off the album:

Complete Control
What's My Name
Career opportunities
Capital Radio
I Fought The Law
London Calling
Armagideon Time
Train In Vain
Guns of Brixton
The Magnificent Seven

Just an absolutely superb live band, I'd wish I'd been old enough to see Smile


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Post by MtotheC's Wrasslin Biatch on Thu 01 Sep 2011, 9:37 am

Just a notice for you really Cari;

Manics are doing a massive "Christmas Party" gig at the O2 in London on December 17th, where they will play all 38 (!!!) tracks off their new greatest hits record.

Epic gig.

Tickets are on fan pre-sale now, but only some seats well far back are available. So I'm going to wait for the general sale tomorrow morning to see if they kept any standing area tickets back for that. Hopefully I don't end up with nothing. Eek.

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Post by Cari on Thu 01 Sep 2011, 9:47 am

Demon - best of luck with that. Disappointed they're not doing it in Wales but there we are. Sounds like a good one anyway. I won't be able to go which is a shame. The Millennium gig was awesome.

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Post by MtotheC's Wrasslin Biatch on Thu 01 Sep 2011, 9:53 am

I'm confused why they are not doing it in Wales. I suppose the gig is too big for the CIA but they are no longer big enough to fill the Millenio. (I wasn't there - my biggest regret!)


The O2 is a bit plastic IMO, I've seen them there before. Give me Cardiif Student's Union any day over that. But if that's where they choose, I will follow Smile

Back on topic - I went through my record collection, and my itunes library last night and found I have a suprisingly low number of live performances. I do have a live album by Camille - a french jazz artist - which is absolutely brilliant. Not everyone's cup of tea though.

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Post by Cari on Thu 01 Sep 2011, 10:02 am

I've never been to a gig in London. I guess the other venues here just weren't available - it's a bit awkward around Christmas because there's a lot of shows on.

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Post by MtotheC's Wrasslin Biatch on Thu 01 Sep 2011, 10:15 am

Cari wrote:I've never been to a gig in London. I guess the other venues here just weren't available - it's a bit awkward around Christmas because there's a lot of shows on.

You have to make the trip up and go to Brixton Academy once in your life.

Simply the best venue there is. Couldn't even tell you why. I'd heard a lot of people say it and I thought they were talking nonsense - it can't be that much better than anything else. But I've been 3 times in the past 2 years and it really is.

There's just an amazing atmosphere around the place

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