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Best Live Albums


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Technology has improved so much that nowadays live albums can pull much of the fidelity of a studio album. In the old days, they were extremely hit and miss, and some bands, who were the byproduct of studio magic should not have put out a live album. Not the best, not the best selling, but my favorite live albums..

On the other hand, some bands like Cheap Trick, and Kiss, their live album were better.

Raspberries (haven't heard it yet, but it will be on the list)

Cheap Trick Budokan

Kiss Live

Wings Over America

Frampton Comes Alive

Elvis 68 Comeback

Live Bullet - Seger

Hell Freezes - Eagles

Concert in Park - Simon @ Gar

Bangladesh - George

Unplugged - Clapton

That's a good list right there

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Generally I find live albums are pretty poorly recorded and generally quite poorly performed...especially when the 'act' in question incorporates elements into the 'event' that aren't generally part of their show.

Being 'there' is usually way better than what comes out as a result.

The very BEST live lp yet to be released is the Beach Boys Concert [live double lp from late 1973] They were the top touring band of the era. The lp demonstrates why.

They can also lay claim to one of the WORST live lps with their initial In Concert lp of 1964 where they faked a live I Get Around and sang some real stinkers. The Rolling Stones Got Live If You Want It is the absolute worst and should only be given as a gift to people you DETEST.

The Guess Who Running Back Through Canada is terrific. Really well done. A treasure.

Bob Marley's Babylon By Bus is pretty cool

I'm looking forward to the Raspberries' release

After that...and I could do fine without ANYTHING live...except for Woodstock. Now THAT'S history. [even if technically...it really SUCKS]

I will give you that the Eagles pretty much delivered the goods on 'Hell'

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Love the Beach Boys live in 1973 album. Also agree about "Got Live if you want it" album of the Stones. I was horrible. The sound, the performance...it was just terrible.

Faves are:

The Who - Live at Leeds

Cheap Trick at Budakon

Springsteen Live in Cleveland ('78 bootleg)

The Figgs - Continue to Enjoy the Figgs

Eva Cassidy - Live at Blues Alley

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Elton John - 11/17/70

McCartney - Back In The US

McCartney - Red Square

Eagles - Hell Freezes Over

Cheap Trick - Budakon

Eagles - Melbourne Concert

Can't think of any others that float my boat audio quality/musicianship wise, though I'm really looking forward to the Berrie's release.

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I would have to agree on Beach Boys live in 73, McCartney, Elvis and Cheap Trick.

Not too thrilled about the Chicago Carnegie Hall set.....some of the performances were great("Introduction") and others sounded uninspired("25 or 6 to 4")....but the main thing about that album was was the engineering.....really sounded muffled.

Kiss MTV Unplugged is really great! I've been listening to it a lot.

Dave Mason "Certified Live". This is the "real deal".....just using what was taped at the concert.(Unlike Aerosmith's recent "live" stuff, which had overdubs.) Some great renditions of Mason's solo and Traffic stuff, plus covers of "Take it to the Limit" and "All Along the Watchtower".

I don't care much for Zeppelin's "Song Remains the Same" live album, either. But there was a radio broadcast tape where they did "That's All Right Mama", as well as slipping in "Season of the Witch" and "For What It's Worth" smack in the middle of "Ramble On".

Lobster lover, yes music can speak beyond language. I heard another excellent Brazilian live tape, from Flora Purim(done about 1983 or so). And Greek singer Marinella has a great live album. I have not heard Johnny Hallyday's(France)but that is supposed to be excellent.

The Limeliters also had a great live album in the early 1960s.

Believe it or not, I have not heard "Live at the Apollo" by James Brown yet....but it most likely is on somebody's list.

And Greg Kihn had some excellent live shows. Why there is not a multi-disc set of his shows is beyond me......

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Many, if not most of my favorite live albums are bootlegs. For every "Get Your Ya-Yas Out", there's a much less slick sounding, even better "LiveR Than You'll Ever Be", in the case of most bands. For an obvious example, I don't think Springsteen's ever been captured properly live on an official release, but there are tons of killer boots out there of his shows.

That said, my favorite live albums, in no particular order......

The Who - Live At Leeds (the Director's cut, or whatever they call the full show version)

James Brown - Live At the Apollo

Bob Dylan & The Hawks - Royal Albert Hall, 1966

(there are many booted versions of this, but the official Columbia release (Bootleg, Volume 4) is the cleanest sounding). I also have a ton of more recent boots, and it would be really hard to name a favorite. From his most recent "Modern Times" tour, I'd probably say his 2nd Boston show (11/12/06).

Rolling Stones - LiveR Than You'll Ever Be, and Forest National show from Brussels, Belguim, Oct. 1973

MC5 - Kick Out The Jams (still better than any of the dozens of boots available of this band)

Byrds - Boston Tea Party, 1969, and Live At the Boarding House, 1978 (reunion with Crosby)

Thin Lizzy - Live and Dangerous

Jerry Lee Lewis - Live at The Star Club, Hamburg, 1964

The Ramones - It's Alive, 1978

Otis Redding - Live In Europe, Live At the Whiskey A-Go-Go, and Monterey Pop set

Jimi Hendrix - Band of Gypsies

Stooges - Telluric Chaos (Japan, 2004) and their set from Little Steven's Underground Garage Fest, NYC, August 2004 (bootleg from radio broadcast)

The Wildhearts - The Wildhearts Strike Back (from 2004 American tour)

Sam Cooke - Harlem Square Club, 1963

Cream - Wheels of Fire, 2nd disk (the live one)

Cyril Jordan & The Sneetches, DNA Lounge, SF, 1991 (doing many songs from "Shake Some Action" live)

Beach Boys - I agree, their '73 live album is still probably their best live show available.

Love - I loved their "Forever Changes" tour several years ago, but I'd have to do a lengthy taste test to figure out which of the boots is my favorite one.

Springsteen - Too many boots!!! The '81 Long Island one that Marv named above is as good as any.

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