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While we await "Raspberries Live"....


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As we await Raspberries Live in '05 (or whatever it may be called), I was thinking about live rock'n'roll and pop albums in general. They can be a real hit-or-miss venture, can't they? Poor sound quality, an "uneven" night by the artist, crowd noise --- all of those things must make the production of a live album a real challenge. Also, some fans will want (or expect) note-for-note "replays" of greatest hits; others will want twists and turns with each song.

I started digging through my own collection in search of live rock/pop CDs I love (excluding other genres, like classical and jazz and blues). I picked out a few but also came to the realization that a lot of the ones I've picked up over the years were exciting at first but have been relegated to "filler" space on my shelves. I remember digging Queen's Live Killers when it came out in the late 1970s, but I never bothered getting it on CD. Same with the Eagles' live album from 1980. I loved Simon & Garfunkel's Central Park gig and do have it on CD, but haven't listened to it in years. I love Dylan, but his live CDs (for me) aren't that listenable --- I'd rather just put on Blood on the Tracks or Blonde on Blonde. I love the Beach Boys even more, but I'd rather hear Surfer Girl, Tomorrow and Today, Pet Sounds, Endless Summer, etc., than their live discs. John Lennon is the best, but his Live Peace in Toronto is one of those CDs you own just to have the complete Lennon library (minus Two Virgins, of course).

So... I would say that Raspberries Live on CD has a chance to be the best ever. I didn't get to a show, sadly, so I'm basing that on: a) the reviews I've read here; B) comments about "Overnight Sensation" in particular; c) the footage of "Nobody Knows" that Bernie posted; d) the material in general, which would be strong from start to finish; and e) state-of-the-art sound quality (well, I hope it's state-of-the-art, anyway).

And now, my list of live CDs I can recommend.

10. Dirty Dancing: Well, I couldn't leave this off, could I? You already know the highlights.

9. Eagles: Hell Freezes Over. Loved the title, and also the different takes on certain songs.

8. Elton John: Live in Australia. A different kind of live album, with the orchestral backing on a lot of classic hits. I love "Tiny Dancer."

7. Wings Over America. Wore out the LPs in the mid-1970s. This earns a spot on my list just for making "Maybe I'm Amazed" a hit single.

6. U2: Rattle and Hum. Got kicked around a little by music pubs when it came out (including the one I edited, CD Review), but... I like it!

5. John Stewart: Deep in the Neon. My "obscurity" special. He wrote "Daydream Believer," and his version here is folksy and funny. Also here: "Runaway Train" (which he wrote for Rosanne Cash) and "July You're a Woman," an underappreciated classic.

4. Bruce Springsteen: Live 1975-85. I like his Unplugged, too.

3. Fleetwood Mac: The Dance. Ah, Stevie! "Silver Springs," "Landslide"... and I love Lindsey Buckingham's guitar playing.

2. Rolling Stones: Live Licks, from 2004. Gotta have "Gimme Shelter" live....

1. Paul McCartney: Back in the U.S. The concert itself (I saw the Boston show) was the best I've seen. The CD captures it fully... very moving, all the way through. For me, the perfect live album....

I'd love to hear others' recommendations.... (EC will be disappointed, but... I don't even have Live at Leeds on CD!)

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Tunes, I disclaimered the heck out of my list... Those are live CDs I like.... You make your own list. You're off to a good start. (I loved Cheap Tricks "Want You to Want Me" ... a rare live single....)

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7. Wings Over America. Wore out the LPs in the mid-1970s. This earns a spot on my list just for making "Maybe I'm Amazed" a hit single.

Undoubtedly one of the Top 5 live performances on record! The rest of the list for me might include:

"Sympathy For The Devil" — The Rolling Stones (Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!) — Mick Jones' lead is incredible!

"I'm Going Home" — Ten Years After (Woodstock Soundtrack)

"I Want You To Want Me" — Cheap Trick (At Budokan)

"Show Me The Way" — Peter Frampton (Frampton Comes Alive)


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I don't like too many live CDs . I would probably do well just using your ten takie two out and insert my two. Oh I just remembered Live from C.B.G.B.s. The double CD that introduced the world to the New York Punk Rock Scene and is the only recorded work of Tuff Darts with Robert Gordon as their Lead Singer before he split for a solo rockabilly career.

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"Silver Springs" is an under-appreciated songs, and is done great on "The Dance", but the live version of "Dreams", honestly, really sucks!

The live version of the Beach Boys' "Marcella" is excellent!! Similarly, the Budokan version of "I Want You to Want Me" is much better than the studio version.

"I've Just Seen a Face" is my favorite from "Wings Over America".

Heard a real good versions of "Fire" and "Because the Night" on radio broadcasts of Springsteen.

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I totally agree on the CBGB live LP love!!! There are some classic cuts.A few are hit or miss, but not the Talking Heads & Shirts cuts. There was a volume 2 recorded but never released. You can still buy the original 1970s LP at CBGB for $5!!! Did you know there is a whole LP of demos with Robert Gordon and the Tuff Darts from 1976 that has never been released? That's a sin. I have a copy, and they ruled all. I've seen 2 reunions with Robert in the past 10 years, too bad he had a major cocaine problem, which led to his face getting slashed over drug debts. They are playing Friday in NYC, and I can't miss that show! Probably no Robert, though,Tommy Frenzy on vocals/guitars.

The rest of my top 5 would have to include:

Ramones It's Alive 2 LP UK only release from 1979-80. Captured at the height of the Ramones power, this is a classic.

Cheap Trick Live At Budokan II CD. This is the full show, and adds a lot of classics left off the original, including my fave Trick tune Auf Weidersehn. Got tickets to see them next Wednesday opening for Aerosmith.

Elvis Costello at El Mocambo CBS promo only LP from 1978 awesome set.

Blue Oyster Cult On Your Feet Or On Your Knees 2 LP from 1975. Patti Smith's howling intro says it all, they are badass.

Yeah, I'm a punk rocker, but I still like the Raspberries:)

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Good topic. Favorite Live Albums (in no particular order):

The Who - Live at Leeds

Cheap Trick - Live at Budakon (complete concert)

Tommy Keene - Showtunes

Springsteen - Live 75 - 85 (Disc One only)

Springsteen - Live in London 1975 (Just out on CD)

Dire Straits - Alchemy

You're right, if the Raspberries - "Live Tonight" is half as good as the live version of GATW, it will easily top that list.

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I'm going to morph this thread a little by naming what I think are some "Live" recordings that outdid the studio versions.

I want you to want me-Cheap Trick

Maybe I'm Amazed-Paul McCartney

Coming Up-Paul McCartney

Rock & Roll All Nite-Kiss

Silver Springs-Fleetwood Mac

Gimme Three Steps-Lynyrd Skynyrd

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I was given the tape by a band member and sworn to not give it away, But I will ask him on Friday if I could pass one on to you. If not, I have a number of live Darts tapes from that era with no such restriction on me:) They were a truly amazing band, and the breadth of their catalog was amazing. If they hadn't lost all momentum after Robert left, they could have been one of the crossover Punk acts, instead of a forgotten footnote.

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John used to work there for years, now he has moved on & sells collectible toys & movie stuff on the internets! He is a great guy, by the way, even if he has a very sick imagination;) I'll let ya know next week!

PS The show Friday is at the Continental on St Mark's in NYC. They play at 11:30, if ya ain't doing anything!

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I love live albums when they're done right. When they capture the feel of the artist and the feel of a concert is the best combination to have in your car, office, or home!

Frampton Comes Alive produced the ultimate live single for me in "Do You Feel Like I Do?" I tend to like POWER in my power-pop wink . Interestingly FCA created such a stir it part because it was so well produced. I've often wondered if the famous "Carnegie Hall" Raspberries concert had been allowed to be recorded... the one that wasn't because some permit hadn't gotten pulled... wouldn't that album have caught the same fire that Frampton's did a year or two later?

Though I don't have the albums a local radio station plays lots of live cuts. I've particularily grown fond of the live versions "Katmandu" by Bob Seger and "Call Me The Breeze" from Lynyrd Skynyrd.

And of course, speaking of Skynyrd; being a red-blooded southern boy, I've always had a spot in my heart for "Free Bird"... and ain't nuthin' like the live version!

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I like live albums a lot, but VH1 Classic has kind of spoiled some of them for me by revealing all of the studio work that was done on many live albums. I saw the episode about Kiss Alive for instance, and almost every song was re-done in the studio. I guess I always thought it sounded too good to be true because you really felt like you were at the show! It's probably tough to release a "raw" live album with no "tweaking" or re-recording of guitar solos or certain vocals. Maybe the technology is better these days, so a live album can actually be a "live" album?

In any event...Some that I like are:

Kiss: Alive!

Angel: Live Without A Net

Starz: Live in Louisville

Judas Priest: Unleashed In The East

Foghat: Live

Queen: Live Killers

Rod Stewart: Unplugged

Genesis: The Way We Walk / The Longs / Live

The Rolling Stones: Love You Live

Aerosmith: Live Bootleg

And many more...


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Warren Zevon - Stand in the Fire

Bob Seger - Live Bullet (not his other live one after he hit it really big).

Loggins & Messina - Sittin in Again Live (new)

Elton John - Here & There

Bruce Springsteen - Hammersnith 75 & Live in New York City & Live in Barcelona (DVD only)

Michael Stanley Band - Stage Pass

Michael Stanley - Live in Tangiers: The Acoustic shows

Beach Boys - In Concert (their early 70's live one)

Moxy Fruvous - Live Noise (You have to hear this great canadian harmony band with a wild sense of humor)

Hollies - Reunion (80's live show with Graham Nash reunited with the band

various other (Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Wings, KISS etc) already mentioned.

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I forgot about one of my favorite live albums in recent years, probably because I've watched it on DVD a million times: Concert for George (Harrison).

Clapton, Petty, Lynne, Billy Preston, Paul and Ringo.... What a great lineup. They really wailed on "Isn't It a Pity," and the Clapton/McCartney reading of "Something" was magnificent....

The problem is, the CD track listing doesn't include several gems that are on the DVD (including "My Sweet Lord," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and, yes, "Wah-Wah").

The net effect (as a friend of mine noted) was, the show made you appreciate George's body of work. He tended to get overshadowed by John and Paul, but George wasn't exactly chopped liver.

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I'd like to add,

Humble Pie, Rockin The Fillmore - Steve Marriott at his best

Beach Boys In Concert - The 1960's album

AC/DC - If You Want Blood, You've Got It - Hey, forgive me, I like Angus Young's playing (by the way, he plays without effects the same way some guy who plays for some group called Raspberries does).

UFO - Strangers in the Night. - Good hard rock album.

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Yup the overdubbing complaint is why Kiss Alive & Angel Without A net didn't make my list. The only part according to Kiss actually recorded from the Cobo Hall is Peter Criss' bass drum track:)Kiss were sloppy live in reality.

Angel was a great band, but the live LP is too overproduced & overdubbed. Don't know why, they were an awesome live act.

Aerosmith Live Bootleg quite frankly is not good. I have over 100 live tapes of them, including 2 of the tapes used as sources on that LP. It was rushed out to stop 2 popular bootlegs, and is just not Aerosmith at their best. by 1978 they were Cocaine cowboys. They are actually way better live performers nowadays.

Humble Pie Rockin The Fillmore is good, but the recent King Biscuit concert reissue LP is better.

Any Live AC/DC is good AC/DC!!!

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I played the hell out of that Kiss Alive album when I was in high school. I remember seeing them just after that album came out (a week or two before Destroyer was released). I walked out of the Mobile Expo Hall in a daze...I said to my friend David McIntosh, "wow, what the hell was that?" To be honest, I don't really care if they recorded the album live in Detroit, or in the studio.

Cheap Trick's "Silver" is an awfully good live album too.

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I like Aerosmith, but Live bootleg is not their best work, it was rushed out. I have the full show that was sourced for Mother Popcorn, that was a great one, Pall's Mall 1973. I'd also recommend the 4/14/74 King Biscuit, and the 1975 King Biscuit from Central Park(first time they played Walk This Way live) as both being far better shows. By '78 they were wasted.

I'm going to see Aerosmith/Cheap Trick in 1 week:)

I too played the hell out of Kiss Alive as a kid, but have since gotten much better live performances by them.

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