The Locked Down, Locked Up, Quarantine Gotta Get Down To It Emptywheel Live Music Trash Talk

Okay, I meant to do this last weekend, but a severe dental emergency intervened. Turns out even dentists, whether local or international (I have both), are constrained too. But they are medical professionals like so many these days, and keep them in mind. Without the office that took care of me here, I would be an insanely hurting cowboy about now. Instead, I am starting to be and feel fairly good, after a lot of painkillers in the interim, and, man, am I thankful. Real pros.

So, back to the stated purpose: Live Music Discussion. Live music is the real test. A lot of people with studio musicians, tone benders and professional mixing can make a decent sounding studio album. But it it real, or is it Memorex (old commercial reference)? Some bands just cannot do it live (early Steely Dan and early Tom Petty are two examples I remember well).

Some bands, you think “there is no way in hell they can pull that off live”, (I’d also put early thoughts on Pink Floyd and Bowie before I saw them in this category) and then you see them live and are totally “holy fucking shit, they not only could do it live, but were even better, WOW”! Floyd and Bowie were absolutely, and stunningly so, in the latter category. Holy shit were they fantastic live.

But this is an individual thing, we all have different thoughts and experiences. So let’s let the hair down and rock. This will be a comments fueled discussion, and I hope a few outside people lob in. For now, with great assistance from our longtime friend and colleague blogger from FDL, Richard Taylor, aka Dakine, here is a list of some of the best live albums ever.

This is NOT an end all list, but it is a very good one. And it is in no particular order whatsoever, ranking will be what you are all going to do. One to start discussion, not to end it. It is up to you folks to expand, and I know you will. Also to you to point out what tracks you especially like, and why off any album. Off we go….

Otis Redding “Live in Europe”
Allman Brothers “Fillmore Tapes” (includes live cuts from “Eat a Peach”)
Leon Russell “Leon Live”
Little Feat “Waiting for Columbus”
J Geils Band “Full House”
Rolling Stones “Get Yer Ya-Yas Out”
Deep Purple Made In Japan
Blue Oyster Cult On Your Feet Or On Your Knees
Cheap Trick Live at Buddokan
The Angels Live at Melbourne
The Who Live At Leeds
The Doors Absolutely Live
The Dead Live 1972 and Steal Your Face (1974)
AC/DC Live At Donnington
Jefferson Airplane Bless Its Pointed Little Head
Kinks One For The Road
Pink Floyd Live At Pompeii
Lou Reed Rock And Roll Animal
Mott The Hoople Live
Bob Marley “Live”
Bob Seger “Live Bullet”
James Brown “Live at the Apollo”
Temptations “Live at the Roostertail”
Willie Nelson “Willie & Family Live”
Bob Dylan & The Band “Before the Flood”
Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen “Live from the Armadillo World Headquarters” Jimmy Buffett “Feeding Frenzy”
Climax Blues Band “FM Live”
Neil Young & Crazy Horse “Live Rust”
Black Oak Arkansas “Raunch N Roll”
Leon Redbone “Live!”
Guy Clark “Keepers”
John Prine “John Prine Live”
John Fogerty “Premonition”
George Thorogood & The Delaware Destroyers “Thorogood Live”
Crosby Stills Nash & Young “4 Way Street”
Derek & the Dominos “In Concert”
Eric Clapton “Rainbow Concert”
Steppenwolf “Steppenwolf Live”
Frampton Comes Alive ‘Captive’ Audiences
BB King “Live at the Cook County Jail” Johnny Cash “Folsom Prison Live”
Mar y Sol
No Nukes
Concert for Bangladesh (Mand, so many artists on that)
Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Columbia Records Stax/Volt Revue “Live in London”

Partial Live Albums
ZZ Top “Fandango”
Allman Brothers “Eat a Peach”
Marshall Tucker Band “Where We All Belong”
Charlie Daniels Band “Fire On the Mountain”

Alright, there are so many others beyond worthy, that is simply the list Richard and I came up with to start the discussion. You all take it from here.

Here is my putative Top Five:

1) Stones, Get Yer Ya Yas Out. It is insanely good
2) J. Geils Band Full House. Argument could be made it is Number 1.
3) Floyd Live At Pompeii. It was the old and trippier Floyd, but Jesus is it good.
4) James Brown At The Apollo. Just wow, The Godfather at his peak.
5) Tie between Who Live At Leeds and Airplane Bless Its Pointed Little Head. Both unbelievably great. Might even give the Airplane a nudge here Pointed Head is killer.

Yes, this is about live rock and roll. As the old Cerwin Vega slogan used to importune, “Made Loud To Be Played Loud”. If there are no sports, this series will continue, because everybody needs a release. Studio albums, classical, country, maybe even opera (if Ed Walker will lead) are on the table for later. But, this weekend, we have both types, rock AND roll. Get down to it, and let’s have a great and ongoing holiday weekend discussion. Post yer You Tube links. If it starts screwing with our margins and/or security (hey, it might, we shall see) then we will deal with that. In the meantime, let’s have some fun.

337 replies
  1. Xboxershorts says:

    True story re George Thorogood…

    Used to listen to his blues riffs proudly and loudly totally enjoying it while in the Navy in the early 80s.

    Recently, I bought a used Chevy Tahoe, the thing had an excellent Bose sound system too.
    But the factory radio had a CD stuck in it. It was George Thorogood Live…
    I thought, well, gee, this could be worse….

    After a month tho…

    I broke down and bought a new Kenwood head for the car and once I got that installed
    I tore the old factory radio open and extracted the Thorogood Live CD, because…even after growing sick of it,
    it was still worth saving.

    (But…without my wife’s knowledge, I stuck it in her car CD and turned the volume way up on her…as Bugs Bunny was known to say, Ain’t I a stinker)

    • bmaz says:

      Lol. Saw George a couple of times. Once, early, standing on chairs in Flagstaff AZ in a big live music bar. He and the Destroyers were beyond fantastic.

      • Bruce Olsen says:

        Ditto at the Orpheum in San Francisco, when Bad to the Bone had finally taken off, maybe 1984.

      • ApacheTrout says:

        Saw lots of local bands in Flagstaff from 96-99. One in particular, Mamale, had the best voice of a bar singer I’ve ever heard, and she covered Alison Kraus and Union Station’s ‘oh Atlanta.’ A solid introduction to bluegrass for me.

      • Baltimark says:

        My late college years in Ames (home of the once revered straw poll and the only sane person in Tiger King) included a conference and concert catering stint in ’88 and ’89. The gigs were mostly hair metal but not entirely. George has always been one of my best little set-piece stories. He had his own dressing room, separate from the Destroyers, and the totality of his dressing room catering rider was three hard-boiled eggs. I delivered said eggs and he was there when I came in, glancing over as I set the plate of eggs on the table.”That’s almost perfect,” he said. “I’m sorry, did we miss something.” “Did the rider mention a plate?” I glanced at him and he glanced back and I moved the eggs off of the plate and onto the table, setting them against one another so they didn’t roll off. “Perfect. Have a great night, brother.” And thus did I learn that while the oft-enumerated boubon, Scotch, and beer presumptively required glasses or at least bottles, the eggs should stand alone.

    • Bill B says:

      You left off some obvious live albums.

      1. Humble Pie “Rockin’ the Fillmore”
      2. Edgar Winter “Roadwork”
      3. Grand Funk Railroad “Live Album”
      4. Jimi Hendrix, “Band of Gypsys”
      5. Jackson Browne, “Running on Empty”
      4. Cream, “Wheels of Fire”

    • rosalind says:

      aw, george. he had one of the more unique concert riders. for his dressing room we had to: remove ALL the furniture except for one metal folding chair and full length mirror. he sat in there and played guitar in front of the mirror by himself. whatever gets him in the mood, i guess.

      • Baltimark says:

        Heh. I didn’t see this before commenting above. I had it easier, clearly, but there is a minimalist theme here, isn’t there.

        • rosalind says:

          omg, that’s hilarious! yes, minimalism. on the other end, the local Neil Diamond Fan Club always got to come in and decorate his dressing room. youtube has removed it for copyright, but Neil released his own “washing hands” vid to the tune of “sweet caroline”. it’s still out there if you look hard.

    • Worried says:

      Yes!, loved GT and the Delaware Destroyers when I was in the Navy, late 70’s.
      Move It On Over was my favorite of his in those days.
      Would see him every year in San Jose when he played at the Mountain Winery.
      He always put on a great show and we always left with a big smile on our faces.

    • tinao says:

      I saw George and the Destroyer in a gymnasium in LA back in 78 I think it was, and knew right then and there this guy is gonna be big, I saw Hot Tuna also that year in a small club in LA as well. It was kind of funny, the place was packed by the time we drove down from Ojai, so I asked the guy standing in front of the velvet do not enter belt to the upstairs VIP section, “Hey any seats up there? I’ve been working all day standing on my feet.” and lo and behold he let me and my friends up. Tuna was too good to stay in my seat though and I spent the night dancing my ass off on the packed floor!
      And for you Carsie Blanton fans, she’s got a new tribute called, Thanks John on her facebook page! Full disclosure, I’m step aunt tina, but she just calls me aunt tina.

        • tinao says:

          Also, after reading down through I don’t see Lou Reed Rock and Roll Animal mentioned anywhere. One of my favs. I saw him in the Burgh back in high school, and to this day I have never seen anyone move so fast in my whole life.

  2. dakine01 says:

    Welp since I provided the starting list, here’s my personal top 5 as well as a few extra comments.
    1. Otis Reddding “Live in Europe” It jumped to #1 on my list of Favorite albums (not just live) when I first heard it in HS. 50 plus years has not changed things
    2. Allman Brothers “Fillmore East” I actually cheat a little here is this is a re-mix/re-issue that was expanded to include the live cuts from “Eat a Peach.” Especially for me is the second disc with the complete Whipping Post segue into Mountain Jam for 55 minutes of serious music.
    3. Leon Russell “Leon Live”
    4. Little Feat “Waiting for Columbus”
    5. J Geils “Full House”

    I have owned between 45 & 50 live albums over the years on vinyl, 8 track, cassette, & CD so there are obviously quite a few contenders that neither Bill nor I have added.

  3. dakine01 says:

    For a couple of underrated gems let me please throw a little love at 2 70s groups most may not know.

    Black Oak Arkansas was a phenom live band in the early ’70s. Led by the original skinny white haired guy with raucous voice (Jim Dandy Mangrum). Did you know that the washboard is a rock instrument?

    The album is “Raunch & Roll” Song is “Mutants of the Monster” with an opening “We all just MUTANTS of this heah Monstah!

    Album #2 is “FM Live” by the Climax Blues Band” Live in studio album of some wonderful blues rock

  4. dakine01 says:

    Here are a couple from ’78 that were getting a LOT of play around the barracks when I was stationed in MI & HI in ’78/’79

    No judgement.

    Frank Zappa “Live in New York”
    Ted Nugent “Double Live Gonzo” (and yes, there are a couple of the Nuge cuts that I actually do enjoy though I won’t be putting any money in his pockets for them)

    • Bruce Olsen says:

      Saw Zappa live in 1984.

      “Tight as a crab’s ass,” as my departed Dad used to say, adding “,,, and that’s watertight.”

      • bmaz says:

        Zappa is one of the more underrated incredible guitar players ever. He was seriously fantastic.

        So was Bill Nelson of Be Bop Deluxe. And their album, Live In The Air Age should have been on the initial list. That is my bad.

        • DrFunguy says:

          What Bmaz said. I put Roxy and Elsewhere on my all time favorite live albums though it doesn’t showcase the amazing guitar.
          And don’t forget the scatological Live at the Filmore East: “give me the pickle…” or maybe I shouldn’t go there ;-)

        • mm201 says:

          I’ve always considered Zappa as a modern musical master along the lines of Bach, Mozart and others.

          Zappa’s guitar playing, incredible as it was, was only a part of his larger skill set. The writing and arrangements are what made Zappa for me.

        • scribe says:

          I saw Zappa live in the fall of 77. A college gym in Allentown Pennsylvania.
          He opened with “Well, here I am in Allentown Pennsylvania …” and the place went nuts.
          After an hour and a half of ripping it up, he let his ponytail down and really started to shred.
          IIRC, Terry Bozio was on drums. Some kind of drummer.

  5. foggycoast says:

    damn bmaz, you’ve pretty much covered most of what i’d list. i might add “Machine Gun” from Jimi Hendrix – Band of Gypsies. To my mind that song is one of the greatest guitar solos of all time.

        • Fran of the North says:

          Thanks for the link and more importantly the work to keep this work alive. A story that might make you smile. Or curse.

          Pretty sure that it was the 15th anniversary shows in Boulder in the football stadium., but it might have been the year before. Our team went both days.

          Lead act was Warren Zevon, who was awesome day 1, virtual replicant on day 2, to the point where he took his shirt off at the same point in his set. Didn’t sit well with our group. Still haven’t been able to forgive him for that. Anywhoooo…

          We’re there early and on the field, perhaps 20-30 dancing bodies back from the stage. After a bit, a guy in an army jacket limps in on crutches. He’s behind us, right where the field transitions to the stands. Our gang is crowd watching, so somebody points out that crutch guy has now disassembled his crutches to turn them into booms for his mics. Indeed, he’s a taper and getting stereo separation.

          Unfortunately, campus security busts through the crowd and grabs him to eject. Even more disappointing was a guy we knew was part of the security group.

          • bmaz says:

            Folsom Field?? I was only in Boulder for grad school a little less than two years. Did see the Stones and, I think, Dead there though.

            • tinao says:

              Hmm, was that around the time of the rocky flats protests? That’s around the time I lived in Boulder. Anyway, when I saw the Dead back then there, I wondered down front and was watching Jerry and noticed how gracefully he worked the pedals to his guitars just like a ballet dancer. I was taking class at a small dance studio, Brent Woods Company I think it was called. When Jerry died, I went to a gathering in his honor and at the end of the day around a bonfire where we all spoke our thanks I threw in the fire a pair of antique ballet slippers a friend had given to me as a birthday present one year. Man, I miss that cat.

              • bmaz says:

                I “think” slightly after that, but not by much. For Foggycoast, I did see the Dead at Red Rocks, and, whoa. They were meant for that place. Also saw Buffett and the Blues Brothers there. The latter were WAY better than you would think.

                • tinao says:

                  Ooohohoho Red Rocks Wow what a place to see a show. I saw Emmylu Harris and Poco together there back then. Great show!

                  • tinao says:

                    OMG bmaz you didn’t have a red XJ 12 cylinder jaguar that you would work on all the time back in Boulder did you? If so, I lived 2 houses down.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Nope, was not me. First year I lived on the hill walking distance to campus, then later up in North Boulder at Wonderland Hill Lake.

          • foggycoast says:

            i attended Boulder in ’73-’74. i have a great story of being chased around the Denver Coliseum in ’73 by Steve Parrish, one of the Grateful Dead’s rather large roadies. He was trying to confiscate my tape recorder. I snuck in early to record the sound check.

      • Xboxershorts says:

        If I could choose one of the bootleg recordings, I would choose Buffalo War Memorial, May 9 1977

        The ranting about the Barton Hall Cornell show the night before is mostly all about that fabulous Morning Dew. But overall, I really like the May 9 show in Buffalo better.

        And I did spend the money and buy “Get Shown the Light” even though I had 2 of the 3 shows from previous browsings at

        • DrFunguy says:

          Having only seen them four or five times I don’t really consider myself a dead head but I have to say my favorites of their live material are Reckoning and Without a Net.
          The latter was recorded after Jerry recovered from a diabetic coma and had to teach himself how to play guitar again.
          The solo on Victim or Crime is to me what Charlie Parker might’ve done if he were a guitarist. Truly phenomenal.
          I will point out a couple other favorite live Recordings below when I have a few more minutes.

        • jerryn13 says:

          Buffalo 5/9/77 – one of my favorites. I had a taper friend back in the day who had this in his collection and let me copy it (he’s the reason I owned a Betamax deck).

    • bmaz says:

      Richard did a lot, actually most, of it. I added a few in. But Richard and I have known each other a long time now going back to the old FDL days. He knew the subject, and was perfect in lining it up.

    • John K says:

      Love the Black Oak video. Had a good friend in high school who did a great Jim Dandy imitation and he knew all of their lyrics. All it took was six or eight beers and a request, and he would perform. Great flashback memory there.

  6. Savage Librarian says:

    As Abigail Adams said in 1776 to her husband, John, “I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors.”

    So, not saying this is the “best” choice, but definitely worth a listen. And check out the audience, too!

    Janis Joplin – Ball & Chain –
    Monterey Pop

    • gmoke says:

      Saw Janis Joplin live twice. She’s the only performer I’ve seen grow on stage. When she was singing she was 10 feet tall, the only person you could look at. Happened both times, in the Fillmore East and at Shea Stadium. The woman was a monster.

      PS: Willie Nelson live is an awesome treat. He’s a world-class musician and a great guitarist on poor, old Trigger.

      • Zinsky says:

        I am a HUGE Joan Armatrading fan! Saw her once in Iowa City in about 1982 after Walk Under Ladders was released. Her voice was incredible – powerful and resonant, anticipating Tracy Chapman by a decade. Saw her again in the Twin Cities about ten years ago and she was still dynamite! One of the most underappreciated singer-songwriters of the past 50 years….

    • Eureka says:

      Related — quite, as my mom also loved Janis — I took her to a Kris Kristofferson show (solo, acoustic) at a great theater in recent years (yes, he played Me & Bobby McGee). She brought up that show (and her having seen Sinatra, etc.) as we reminisced right before she up and dropped the mic, so to speak.

      Kristofferson was a great live talent — anyone seen The Highwaymen Live?

      • Savage Librarian says:

        That’s a great fond memory to have, even if bittersweet.

        Just like the difference between Kristofferson’s original song and Joplin’s powerful version, here is another example of the difference between a songwriter’s original concept (Buffy St.M) and the memorable rendition by Cocker and Warnes. We are enriched by all of them.

        Buffy Sainte-Marie – Up Where We Belong

        Joe Cocker and Jenifer Warnes –
        Up where we belong

        • Eureka says:

          The really funny thing about this story that I know you’d appreciate, SL, is that the convo started apropos of her not being super impressed that we were planning to see Fleetwood Mac (mainly for the purpose of seeing my beloved Stevie). She was very into it back when we saw Elton John, so the talk turned to shows she was impressed by.

          The irony being that we never saw Fleetwood Mac because unexpected event (mic drop). Next-level being that we used our credit to go see our football team get knocked out of playoffs, with great views of our quarterback being concussed (dramatically pile-driven into the sod), and all manner of other sports-tragicomic business (sports being a favored distractor). You can’t make this stuff up.

          And the circle goes round and round … (Buffy Sainte-Marie reminds me some of Joni Mitchell; thanks for the links).

  7. foggycoast says:

    i’m mostly a 60’s and 70’s guy but i’ll go out on a limb here and say for pure non-stop energy The Ramones “It’s Alive” is a non-stop buzzsaw. not for everyone and i’d rarely listen to it but fuck these guys pumped it out with no apologies.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Chicago and the Beach Boys’ live concerts I found to be little like their recorded music. The modulation and separation of vocals from music is missing, as are most special effects. Current capabilities are probably quite different, meaning except for volume, it might be hard to tell the difference between “live” and recorded.

    Oh, bmaz, can you still shatter a crystal goblet with your Memorex recordings?

    • bmaz says:

      The Beach Boys were fun live, but, no, they could never pull off the studio overlays Brian Wilson did.

      Chicago, early, I think were different. But then they had Terry Kath. Still fine later, but never the same after Kath’a tragic death. He was not only one of the better guitar players ever, but the real heart of Chicago. His work on Make Me Smile is Claptonesque in the lead guitar/singing thing. His work on 25 nor 6 to 4, guitar wise, maybe even better.

      To my knowledge though, Chicago Tanglewood was never more than a great bootleg and You Tube series. So, I did not count that. If it is available on vinyl, I want it bad.

      • Bruce Olsen says:

        Kath was Chicago, for sure.

        The Carnegie Hall album feels a little sterile to me, it doesn’t feel like there’s much of what live music has to offer, except when Kath is playing. You can’t improvise horn arrangements in the same that way, but still…

      • John Mc says:

        Plus most of the Beach Boys studio work was actually performed by the “Wrecking Crew” musicians at Gold Star Studios in LA, including the inimitable Tommy Tedesco on guitar, Hal Blaine on drums, Glen Campbell and at times the aforementioned Loen Russell on piano.

        • bmaz says:

          Campbell lived here for the most part during his last decades until his death, I think. He used to be seen occasionally around, but that was long ago.

          Can easily say that Campbell was one killer guitar player. That was why he was in the Wrecking Crew. I really do hope that part lives with his singing and songwriting merits.

          • John Mc says:

            If you’ve never seen it bmaz, you’d love the Glen Campbell documentary “I’ll Be Me” (available for streaming on most services). It was made when he was in the latter stages of the alzheimer’s which eventually took his life. There’s a scene from one of his last concerts where he is forced to read all his lyrics off a teleprompter, and even stumbles trying to remember his daughter’s name (who is playing with him). Then the teleprompter instructs Glen to play “a guitar solo here”, and he pulls off an amazing two or three minute guitar riff, every bit as good as anything he ever played in his heyday. Apparently musical memory is embedded in one of the deepest portions of our brains. Well worth a watch…

            • bmaz says:

              I have seen it. And it is amazing. Anybody here who has not seen it, should do so. Campbell was a seriously good guitar player. Go look at The Wrecking Crew documentary, or listen to their old sessions, including The Beach Boys. Real guitar talent.

              He and Alice used to go play golf a lot together. You would not picture them as good friends, but they really were.

              • vvv says:

                As in, Alice “Billion Dollar Babies” Cooper? jeez

                Altho’ “Elected” do seem rather timely.

              • errant aesthete says:

                Mr. bmaz:

                I met him once (Glen Campbell) at Paramount Studios as a young impressionable fan when he was on his ordained rise. His talent was mighty but his humility and humanity more so. I knew all of his histories, the wrecking crew, Jimmy Webb, but not this.

                Thank you for extending his legacy with the documentary “I’ll Be Me.” It was everything you promised.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        Finally being evaluated later in life as an introvert (I’ve been waiting for shelter-at-home for decades) and sometime agoraphobic, crowded gatherings of any kind, including concerts, have never been my happy place. College friends dragged me to see Laura Nyro, Jimi Hendrix, Sam & Dave and Chicago (I was raised on Big Band music so I adored them and became a “groupie,” going to any nearby shows for about six weeks). One night in 1968, I went with a friend to a weird little on-campus club in the basement of a nearby dorm to mainly see Junior Walker & the All-Stars (who were fab), but their opening act was a young folkie on acoustic guitar who played his songs for about two hours. My friend and I were in the front row about five feet from him, and he chatted with us on and off during his set. It was James Taylor.

        • bmaz says:

          Those stories are probably still being experienced, maybe later will be written, by our children and, in some cases, grandchildren. That’s okay, in fact, great.

          In a stupid way, I think of “live albums” as literally albums I could, or have, put on a turntable. A lot in the list above, and that have been discussed so far, I do have and could go dredge out and put on the turntable right now. The rest I will likely go look for when Record Store Day resurfaces after the Covid thing.

            • dakine01 says:

              In fact, the very first vinyl album I ever owned was “Temptations Live at the Roostertail”

              • bmaz says:

                Man, trying to remember…..I think my first were 45s of the early Beatles, and first 33 was Meet The Beatles. My mother had some jazz and Sinatra kind of stuff, but think the Beatles was the first I personally caused to be bought for me and played.

                • Worried says:

                  My first 45 was Surfin’ USA.
                  My first LP was a birthday gift from my parents: Bobby Rydell Live at the Copa.
                  Not going to place that disc on the live album discussion table…….

                • P J Evans says:

                  We had big band, some jazz, a lot of orchestral stuff. Some of it was on 78s – and single-sided ones, at that. I still remember listening to “Two Black Crows” (Moran and Mack) and to Mack McClintock doing “Big Rock Candy Mountain”.

      • Sonso says:

        Saw Brian Wilson with Al Jardine and Jeff Beck (!!!) a few years ago which was transcendent. If you haven’t heard Beck’s Live At Ronny Scott’s, run, do not walk. The version of Rolling and Tumbling with Imogen Heap will boil your soul.

      • Peterr says:

        In the early 80s – 1982, perhaps? – I saw Chicago live at the “ChicagoFest” music festival. Lots of big names played, on various stages for different music genres, but when Chicago played, it was like the most enormous club show by the best local band in town.

        When a big name artist/band comes back to their hometown for a live event, it really changes the dynamic. In this case, it was a change for the better, as they really cut loose for the hometown folks. In particular, the brass that day were amazing, riffing and wailing like nobody’s business.

    • Rick Ryan says:

      Yeah! For my money, Against Me! is the single best live band that plays venues of that size or larger, because even after getting some mainstream success, they never dropped the earlier hardcore stuff from the set, and just as importantly, they never forgot how to play it right. I like their newer stuff a lot (especially Transgender Dysphoria Blues, one of the few rock albums of the 2010s that might be considered “important”), but my god, when they bust into “Walking Is Still Honest” – at that scale and volume, with 900 people bouncing around you – it’s like standing behind a jet engine.

      I was really excited about their co-headlining tour with Baroness. In fact, I think I would’ve seen them today, come to think of it. Damn COVID.

  9. vvv says:

    First, I’m gonna ignore DVDs, youtube, etc.

    Next, I’m gonna list omissions from the starting list, informed, of course, by my taste, leaning toward the semi-not-too-obscure (but kudos on that Angels cite!), first that come to mind.

    Dream Syndicate – Live at Rajis
    they’ve reformed and are very good, but this is them near the beginning, and it rocks like nothing else in the Paisley Underground canon, except mebbe their initial Live at KPFK, what is pretty raw. I was at the show for This Is Not the New … and that is also worthy

    Iggy Pop: Search & Destroy: Live in Chicago
    there are many, many Iggy, and stooges live records, this is my fave (i was there, too) because of performance, song list, sound quality

    Chameleons UK- Script of the Bridge bonus CD
    What U2 could have been, if they were more garage, street, and eccentric

    REM – Reckoning bonus
    Another show I was at, REM as done great live records as they have exchanged through their career from a basement/club band up to stadium. They almost all sound great (there’s an early stinker with a green cover) but this is my fave concert

    Echo and the Bunnymen – Live in Liverpool, BBC, All Smiles – Live in London; they they make excellent live records, if you like their 80’s guitar, Doors-influenced, sometimes orchestral music; I’ve not heard a bad-sounding nor badly performed Echo live

    Aerosmith Live Bootleg – It’s probably overdubbed (like the stones, “Love You Live” but not as egregious, at least I think I hear some) but it rocks like nothing else

    REO Speedwagon – Live You Get What You Play For
    First, I hate this band, I hate corporate rock, I hate Cronin, but this record is an undeniable memento of the times (’75-ish) I saw this tour in ’76 (Soldier Field, when Nugent was touring Gonzo and Lyrnyd theirs) and the band couldn’t have been better – if still annoyingly facile

    The Church – A Psychedelic Symphony
    backed by an orchestra that does not interfere with the band/songs – as opposed to, say, Metallica’s who despite that made a great orchestrally-supported recording S&M, RIP, Michael Kamen), this is a great example of an idiosyncratic Aussie-psych band that had a few hits but has a continuing exemplary musical catalog – Kilbey is a genius)

    Bob Mould – Live at ATP 2008
    Husker Du’s front-man, post-Sugar, just fuckin’ rocks (the HD “Everything Falls Apart” also, but not great sound quality)

    My Morning Jacket – Okonokos
    Amazing jams and sound

    I gotta list these bonus because I want them not to be missed; there are others I could add of course (Zep, Joy Division, Sandmen, Living Color, Bowie, Cornell, Frank Black/Pixies, Nick Cave, The Cure and The Clash – haven’t started on blues, funk, country (willie! Graham Parsons!) or really delved into jazz -oh jeeze, all the Miles and ‘trane, Monk and Haden and Dolphy and even Metheney …), mebbe will later, but I hadda list these

    Bonus 1: Morphine – At Your Service (disc 2)
    There are others, but this has the best sound quality, and if you’ve never heard these guys (AOR in the 80’s – you did, try, “Buena”), Sandman (RIP) on 2-string slide bass and Dana Conally(sp.?) on sax (sometimes 2 at once) with a great drummer is totally unique, musical, blues-based and often funny

    Bonus 2: – any Government Mule (particularly the one with Scofield)
    They are all great, or at least the 5 or so I have

    Bonus 3: my fave “recent” live jazz jam is Medeski, Martin, Wood, Scofield

    special shout-out – anything King Biscuit, most things BBC are gonna sound very good, same with Peel

  10. dakine01 says:

    I will add that the 2 very best concerts I’ve attended were:

    Bob Marley & the Wailers. “Reggae from 4PM to Sunset”

    Its a Beautiful Day. EA Diddle Arena (opening for Free)

    • dakine01 says:

      EA Diddle was also the location of the worst concert I ever attended.

      Fall of ’70 – PG&E was the group & sucketh badly they did

    • John K says:

      My favorite concert of all time was Yes in 1977 in Denver, with Donovan as the opening act. I hadn’t realized before then what a great musician Donovan was-he absolutely blew me away into little bitty particles. Then it was Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman’s turn. They took those little particles, reassembled them into something even better than before, and then blew them into even smaller little particles.
      I want to add ‘Yessongs’ to the list.

  11. Bruce Olsen says:

    A great list, no complaints. Here’s two more:

    — Rush, Time Machine Tour (Here’s Tom Sawyer – ) Alex Lifeson is terrific, and I seriously envy that set of drums. My only hit is there’s too much crowd noise in the mix. The 30th Anniversary tour is pretty fine, too, less crowd noise.

    — Here Come The Mummies, Rejuvannihilation. Here’s “Everything But” )

  12. Pete T says:

    What, everyone listens to Jimi, but no one HEARS Jimi?

    Sweden 1969. No, sadly, I was not there. Busy graduating high school.

    No, I wouldn’t put Hendrix in any top 10 – I don’t think – but he has to be on any list. Just like Prince, but that’s another post.

    • Bruce Olsen says:

      There were none better at improvisation, which for me is the point of live music.

      But I was in a garage band when the above video was being made, we “covered” Hendrix, and saw him several times in NYC. Shame there are so few really good recordings of him live.

  13. ThomasH says:

    This was a really great live album by a really astonishingly good band from down under; the Celibate Rifles. The album is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang recorded at CBGBs. RIP Damian Lovelock, lead singer past away a few months back at 65. I caught a them a few times when they passed through the Bay Area. The band members were good friends with some of my buddies at the legendary college radio show KALX.

  14. EchoDelta says:

    The Cramps Live at the Peppermint Lounge
    Flipper Live
    Decline of Western Civilization Volume 1 soundtrack
    James Brown Live at the Apollo Volume 3 Revolution of the Mind

    Henry Rollins did a rant about if you can’t do it live you can’t do it and named some names. His last Rollins Band live album was a two disc recorded in Chicago that keeps it going to the end. The Only Way to Know For Sure.

    Good job keeping the energy up for the essential people.

  15. ApacheTrout says:

    I’m not much of a jam band guy (definitely anti-Phis, despite my living in Vermont), but I’ve seen Dave Matthews Band numerous times, as early as San Diego in 1996 and then twice at the SPAC in Saratoga Springs.

    Live at Red Rocks is probably still my favorite live album. Two Step, Typical Situation, and Lie in Our Graves top my list. Carter Beauford is incredible on Lie in Our Graves. Try to isolate him playing on this video (from a different concert).

    • Eureka says:

      SPAC — **high ten**

      Phish intolerance — **low five back atcha** (oversaturated, I get it and have expressed a similar ‘complaint’ in the past; for the same reason, though, I have the Dave Matthews exhaustion, too). (Also Little Feat, to an extent, but that might earn me a site ban.) Maybe I’ll appreciate them all in some distant decade.

      • ApacheTrout says:

        I have friends who rate DMB as I do Phish. Both evoke strong feelings either way.

        I haven’t bought a DMB album in a long time. I’m an old school fan, and they kinda lost me with most of their stuff this past decade. But I’d still see them live any time. It’s such a great show.

    • Xboxershorts says:

      Quite possibly one of the most amazing live recordings I’ve ever seen, I wish I coulda been here for this. But alas…

      This is Dave Matthews with Warren Haynes in MSG with a Neil Young classic, Cortez the Killer, this is amazing…

  16. Bruce Olsen says:

    No “Wheels of Fire?” Only half live, OK, but that half is so good it deserves 2 votes.

  17. Bobby Gladd says:

    From the Socialist Hellhole of Sweden, a dystopian society that throttles all initiative and creativity, Dirty Loops.

    When I first saw them on YouTube, I thought “no way they could ever be that good live. Totally a studio thing.”

    Then I saw them live, close up VIP tix at Boz Scagg’s club, in San Francisco.

    They were even BETTER live.

  18. DrFunguy says:

    My introduction to both Jimi and Otis was the same LP, purchased from the cutout bin when I was about 12; they each got a side recorded live at Monterey Pop.
    So that’s on my list.
    Many have agreed with the Filmore/Eat a Peach Allman Brothers and I heartily agree.
    I mentioned Zappa – Roxy and elsewhere and Grateful Dead Without a Net above.
    Final choice: Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals Live from Mars
    I’ve seen him several times and he just gets better and better.

      • bmaz says:

        OMG, never seen that before. Wow. Thank you Dr. Funguy. Went with a date to Vegas a long time ago to see Jones once (she was a fan via her mother). Don’t sleep on Tom Jones, he was ridiculously good. I was stunned.

  19. dimmsdale says:

    Just zoomed thru the threads, will be back to listen in detail later (thanks, everyone!!)–just wanted to pimp this DVD released in ?2014? of the Stones live at the Marquee Club in 1971, from the “Rolling Stones from the Vault” dvd series. Fresh off a UK tour, and just before ‘Sticky Fingers’ was released, Mick Taylor very much in command. It’s a shortish set, but the video’s been remastered and it looks and sounds incredibly fresh–were we ever that young?–and the set, originally recorded remote by Glyn Johns, was remastered for this release by Bob Clearmountain. Mick and the gang, no wasted motion or superfluous flash, just in the pocket and getting it done, fresh and immediate as this morning. I loved it, if you can’t tell.

  20. jerryn13 says:

    Maybe not quite top 10 list material, but:
    – “How Late’ll Ya Play ‘Til?” – David Bromberg Band. A double LP set. Record 1 was studio, 2 was live. I’ve seen Bromberg many times and disc 2 is a fair representation. BTW, the audio quality is outstanding.
    – “Live In Hollywood” – Linda Ronstadt. A live in studio recording of Ronstadt pretty much in her prime.
    – “The Live Album” – Leon Russell & The New Grass Revival. Worth it for the “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” alone.
    – “The Blow Up” – Television. I never got a chance to see them live so I don’t know how close this comes to what a show was like, but damn.

    • vvv says:

      So I bought a piece of gear back in January and the guy selling it is on the blues circuit in Chi (regular at Buddy Guy’s, etc.) and he tells me to come out and see his band (Source One) at the Odyssey East and so I do. Great blues and soul music, this guy (Joe Pratt) was bassist for Otis Clay, Koko, Etta, etc., and this night they keep having guest vocalists – the band is all blues circuit pros in their 50’s+. He had intro’d me to a few folks (including this guy inna fedora) when I got there, but the last hour, un-announced for the first 30 minutes, Ronnie Baker Brooks got up on stage and just ripped it up. In his fedora; great guitarist, seemed a nice guy.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        I saw/heard Koko in a dive bar in Ohio sometime in the 70’s. I can’t remember if it was in Kent or Akron (maybe both.) Also took a brief vacation to New Orleans that decade and danced in the wee hours of the morning in some hole in the wall in the French Quarter with a young man who claimed to be the son of Fats Domino.

        Fats Domino – Live 01- I´m Walking

        Koko Taylor – Big boss man

        • Peterr says:

          1985: Chicago Blues Fest — three of the greatest all-day music days of my life. Come in the morning to Grant Park with a little bbq grill, a cooler of brats and beers, and the best damn blues in the world from noon til midnight (or something like that.

          During the day there were amazing local blues acts sharing the stages, and the nights were spectacular. Among the acts each night were Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson, Koko Taylor, and Stevie Ray Vaughn on night one, Otis Rush on night two, and Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows, Etta James, and Buddy Guy on night three.

          I know this is a rock thread, but bmaz, maybe a blues thread might be possible down the road?

          • dakine01 says:

            2 different shows with major blues stars as headliners had the worst concert pairings I’ve ever seen.

            Rick Derringer opening for BB King at the Stanley Theater in Utica, NY Someone said, “Hey, Rick Derringer has played with & produced the Winter Brothers. They play the blues so we’ll get him to open for BB King” Nope

            Junior Brown opening a blues show in Connecticut with John Mayall, Koko Taylor, & Buddy Guy. Similar thing, someone said, “He’s from Austin. They play a lot of blues in Austin. He can open the show.” Nope

  21. Jackknife of Sarlona says:

    Oh, man, what a great list so far. Please excuse me if some have already been mentioned.

    Humble Pie- Performance:Rockin’ The Fillmore
    Bob Dylan- Rolling Thunder Revue 1975
    Deep Purple- Live in London (it’s not MIJ, but great show from Mk III lineup)
    Frank Zappa- in New York, Fillmore 1971, Roxy and Elsewhere
    Elton John 17-11-70
    The Guess Who- Live at the Paramount
    Jethro Tull- Bursting Out
    Oingo Boingo- Farewell
    Queen- Live Killers
    Supertramp- Paris
    Rainbow- On Stage
    Ten Years After- Recorded Live
    Traffic- On the Road
    UFO- Strangers in the Night
    Wings- Wings Over America
    Pink Floyd- Is There Anybody Out There?

    I don’t know how you feel about bootlegs, but most are easily available now.
    Led Zeppelin- Earl’s Court ’75, Knebworth ’79, Listen to this, Eddie ’77
    Rolling Stones- Live ’72-’73
    Pink Floyd- Animal Instincts ’77 (this is/was available for free download on

    • Kevin Bullough says:

      As an old prog rocker I would add Seconds Out by Genesis (Phil and Bruford double drum solo in Cinema Show worth the price of admission) and any of the live Rush albums.

      Best concert I ever saw? Believe it or not: Earth, Wind, and Fire. Great tunes, amazing players, magic acts, dancing…unbelievable great time.

      • Jackknife of Sarlona says:

        I believe it. EW&F can certainly throw down some solid funk and R&B.

        I realized right after posting that I forgot Rush’s live albums.

      • Skilly says:

        EWF! You beat me to it Kevin. I saw them on this tour.
        1981 and Maurice White channeled Luke Skywalker and defeated the evil Darth Thingy. Great show and they must have had 35 performers on stage at some points. It was outrageous over the top and completely a party. I think the band made no money on the tour but had a grand time. They displayed impressive musicianship as well.

  22. Tburgler says:

    Best live shows I’ve seen:

    The Clash: UPenn skating rink, ‘83
    Talking Heads: Mann Music Center, ‘83
    Meat Puppets/Black Flag: Larchmont, Philly ‘84
    Husker Du: Elks Club, South Philly ‘87
    Fishbone/Red Hot Chilli Peppers/Ramones: Temple U. ‘89
    Los Lobos: Chestnut Cabaret ‘91
    (got married, had kids, moved to the woods, blah blah)
    Yo Le Tengo/Yura Yura Teikoku: Common Ground, VT ‘10
    King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: Sinclair, MA ‘16
    Guided by Voices: The Space, CT ‘18
    Ty Segall and the Freedom Band: Brooklyn Steel ‘19

  23. Bruce Olsen says:

    My 2 sons and I attended a drum workshop at a tiny music store in Redwood City CA some time in the early-mid 90’s. Hal Blaine was there, a very self-effacing guy. Also Rod Morgenstein from the Dixie Dregs/Winger.

    Blaine’s main advice was to show up on time, ready to play, not drunk or high, and give the producer what he wanted. Good general life advice.

    He illustrated this with one of his stories: in the early days of the Beatles-inspired Indian music craze he was in a session where the producer wanted his standard drum set to sound more like Indian tablas (the drums in Within You Without You). Even though it was an impossible request, Blaine gamely ducked behind his set, made some likely sounds, changed nothing. When Blaine popped his head up, the producer was pleased with the new sound.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Thank you for mentioning Santana. That struck me as a major omission in that lead off list. It amuses me to see the number of bands on that list that played in the Bay Area.

      • Tracy Lynn says:

        It IS fascinating the bands/music artists that passed through and/or started here: Pete Escobedo and his band Azteca in the early 70s, Buckingham Nicks a little later, Journey, Jefferson Airplane, Tower of Power, Doobie Brothers, Sly and the Family Stone. I know there are many others, but these came to mind.

  24. Quinn Norton says:

    Ok, I’m going to try and add something in here from my music… :D

    The idea that what you do live is what you is so frickin’ key in hip hop. Freestyle, cyphers, battles, that’s where it gets real. It requires so, so much talent and skill and work. I swear as much as I love freestyles, I’m also completely in awe of the people who do them. It’s like that thing there you see athletes do things you didn’t think people could do with their bodies, but for music.

    Emimen’s BET cypher is always a classic, and basically every time Lamar freestyles its like mind jazz. And the old school style is so based on this. If you’ve never heard a freestyle, They’re a couple great ones to start with. Good freestylers are like nothing else.

    Anyway, I hope that’s ok. :D

    one more:

    • Rick Ryan says:

      Freestyle rapping is just mind-boggling to me. Seeing Logic do that in that video is like watching Superman take flight. My mind just cannot comprehend it as something that humans can do.

      I’ve always really liked Snow that Product’s freestyles. I find myself thinking about this one often, namely that titular line:

          • bmaz says:

            Rap is shit. It is not even music, it is just babbling bullshit.

            Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti did not consider themselves musicians, and certainly not rock ones, which is the subject of this post. When rappers reach those levels, let me know. Maybe somebody will do a “Rap Is Fucking Great” post. It will never be me.

            /s/ Old dude

            • Rayne says:

              Rap’s not my cuppa but music is a matter of personal taste — like whether you prefer coffee or tea or some other beverage, or Edward Hopper over Johannes Vermeer. You don’t see me participating in these music threads much because most of this isn’t to my personal taste. It doesn’t make what other people share here less credible as an art form.

            • foggycoast says:

              as another old dude and a lover of all things Jefferson Airplane i’ve always thought that “Plastic Fantastic Lover” was one of if not the first rap song of the rock era.

            • P J Evans says:

              Friend of mine looks at rap as chanting – it’s not my cuppa tea, but as long as it isn’t turned up to window-rattling levels, I’ll tolerate it, same as everything else.

            • Sonso says:

              I was involved heavily with rap in the 90’s, and most of the people were just dumb as rocks a-holes with little, or no talent whatsoever. I would say rap is cRap without the “C”. However, De La Soul had talent, and Everlast (from House Of Pain) had some songwriting ability (Whitey Ford Sings the Blues).

            • quebecois says:

              I put rap and and The Grateful Dead in the same boat, one that I wouldn’t mind seeing sink.

            • paulpfixion says:

              lol, saying rock is amazing and that rap is “just babbling bullshit” is like saying that detective novels are the height of fiction, and that poetry is just nonsense. you should have to go listen to black star (mos def and talib kweli) or the miseducation of lauryn hill, and then write a book report as penance for that one.

            • vvv says:

              Ginsburg did some work with The Clash:
              ht tps://
              ht tps://

              And the first (but not my fave) Macca:
              ht tps://

      • Quinn Norton says:

        omg that was great! (my least favorite thing about hip hop is the misogyny, and i so admire the women trying to break that wall down.)

    • Eureka says:

      LOL I had no idea this was going on over here, else I might have jumped in, or certainly placed my reply to older thread up here instead of at page bottom:

      Unable to reply to Quinn Norton on the ‘Coming Attractions…’ page (or her recent page), I’m dropping this reply here (mentally splice it back to that thread, makes sense in situ):


      (And so many ways this could be *so much fun,* the ultimate in trash talk.)

      It’s tricky… but in the end, it doesn’t even matter; ‘I don’t want No Scrubs!’ host won’t come along and ride on this fantastic voyage.

      –And that’s a hip-hopity (w)rap, folks–

      I like how rap can often be repurposed for political satire +/- lampooning beyond it’s original intention (I once applied Gangsta’s Paradise to the pleadings of Jerome Corsi, tho with some censorship).

      I’ll have to check out your bluegrassy folks later, maybe it will ring a bell by ear.

  25. Jenny says:

    Thanks bmaz, for a musical trip down memory lane. Can’t forget Soul Music and Rhythm and Blues. Takes me back…

    Earth,Wind & Fire – Thats the Way of the World

    Aretha Franklin R.E.S.P.E.C.T LIVE 1991 (Queen of Soul)

    Aretha Franklin – (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Live at Kennedy Center Honors)

    Not live; however the lovely soulful sound of Bill Withers.
    Bill Withers – Lovely Day (1988) Original sound Version 1977

    • Rick Ryan says:

      My first thoughts were a bunch of jazz albums too, but the fine print says not to. But rules were made to be broken! Rock ‘n’ roll! A couple of my favs:

      ‘trane’s got a million of ’em, but I’ll always be partial to the 1961 Copenhagen record with Eric Dolphy, with the false start on the (28 minute) rendition of “My Favorite Things.” I’d give anything to have been able to hear Coltrane play in person.

      Hiromi Uehara and Chick Corea’s live album Duet. I have to confess Corea is mostly a blind spot for me, but I love basically everything Hiromi does, and I’m particularly partial to her Place to Be-era stuff that was more explicitly exploring the intersection of jazz and classical, some of which is on this record.

      • bmaz says:

        There are not really any bad answers here. For what it is worth though, there will likely be a soon coming post for jazz. And country. And, again if Ed is up for it, even classical and opera.

        • Rick Ryan says:

          Excellent! Looking forward to those very much.

          I don’t want to make a separate post, but links for my above references:

          John Coltrane Quintet with Eric Dolphy

          (It’s called a “bootleg” but this recording did in fact get a legitimate release, but apparently only in Europe; I have the CD in fact, not sure where I got it anymore, but I didn’t pay nearly as much as what it’s apparently going for on Amazon, goodness… honestly, the Youtube upload has better sound)

          Hiromi and Chick Corea

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Would folk music be categorized under country? Some artists cross over into various categories, just like authors in the library. Sometimes there is that difficult decision of where to place the physical representation so that it gets the truest placement or the widest exposure. What to do, what to do?!

          This post has made me think that music could be an excellent means for Biden to raise connectiveness (probably not a real word) among all the people of the USA. Music unites us in all its diversity. It is such a wonderful unifier. Pretty sure Trump doesn’t have the ability to unite us that way.

  26. gulageten says:

    Fun topic, although I am quite cynical when it comes to the true nature of live albums. So many, and yes this goes back several generations / decades, are subject to some degree of studio restoration. I think it’s very common practice to keep the rhythm section and replace (either entirely or selectively) the melodic foreground stuff such as vocals and solos. But I do know — from firsthand experience — how easily the illusion of a “live” album can be created with just the right tolerance for roughness in the performance, a certain ambient reverb, and a piped-in audience track.

    If you’re looking for an accurate snapshot of a performer’s ability, and you can’t just turn up at the gig, you might be better off with the proverbial “tape recorder down the pants” bootleg recording than a commercially-marketed “live album”. Live videos are less subject to tampering, but a lot of record companies (and artists!) would if they could. I can think of one album that was released both on LP and VHS — the vocal and guitar tracks are the real live ones on the VHS version, but the LP version had been fixed up.

    Nowadays the reverse is of course also possible — a lot of the fixing-up happens in advance, in the form of backing tracks which are played along with the band in real time. It is an increasingly common practice that is also not exactly recent, although the playback technology has improved a lot lately, not to mention the incentive to not have an “off” night, because it’ll be on Youtube before you even get back to the dressing room.

    Anyway, long sidetrack just to point out that “live album” is a relative term. I especially like live albums (regardless of their provenance) for road trips, but the stuff mentioned so far would really only get me to the state line. I only own two of the albums in the opening list — BOC and Deep Purple, which are on the lighter end of my musical tastes.

    That said, this one I think would be well-enjoyed by some reading here:

    Mother’s Finest on German TV.
    (broken link)

    14:30 if you want to get right down to business. The Rockpalast stuff is generally killer and very much live as far as I can tell.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      I’ve never seen them live but have always been intrigued by the Blue Man Group. In a similar vein, I’ve had a fantasy for decades about wishing some group would put together sounds using an old card catalog (with drawers pulled out at assorted lengths like a wooden xylophone), some old manual typewriters, a rotary phone, a desk bell ringer, a film projector, and maybe a mimeograph machine.

      I do know that Martin Messier has the: “The Sewing Machine Orchestra – Experimental Music”

    • Sonso says:

      Original Blue Man Group, under Indochine; I agreed to be their mark. Got in a box, with a motorcycle helmet covered in jello. Crazy stuff…

  27. vvv says:

    I’ll add some:

    Dire Straits – BBC, such an accomplished band, good sound
    Robin Trower – any, but esp. King Biscuit with Dewar
    Jack Bruce and Robin Trower – Songs from the Road, JB is all him, Trower is Clapton, Gary Husband does a good Ginger
    Tom Waits – Big Time, all Tom Waits, all the time, harsh sound but worthy
    New Barbarians – Buried Alive (keef, Ronnie, Ian, Stanley Clark, Ziggy) – his mea culpa tour, sloppy and fun
    Soundgarden – Live from Artists Den especially rocks – what a band
    Chris Cornell – both his live records are amazing; IMO he and Paul Rodgers are possibly the two best rock singers ever
    JAMC – Psychocandy at Barrowlands, not for the noise averse
    Santana – Lotus, classic
    Peter Gabriel – Plays Live, I was at one of the shows some of these songs come from – this is around “Shock the Monkey” time, when he was almost rock – great sound, altho all PG is great sound (he owns SSL, after all)
    Bob Dylan – Real Live, w/ Mick Taylor, McClagan, done

    • bmaz says:

      Here is a good one for you: I am one of the few humans who saw the New Barbarians live. It was in the old Fabulous Forum. And they were pretty damn awesome.

      • vvv says:

        Ah, man … I’m so jealous. I’ve read there was lotsa booze and blow on that tour because no H and, you know, keef. I will say that Clarke is playing just basic bass (like he mighta been, say, re-living wasted school days), and Ronnie is really the star on the recordings that I’ve heard. And Ziggy.

      • Jerome Steele says:

        Was it Steve Jordan on drums with New Barbarians?

        I think there was a version Zig Modeliste and then another one with Jordan…both lay down heavy groove.

        • bmaz says:

          I honestly don’t remember who drummed. But seeing Stanley Clarke on stage and grinning with Ronnie and Keith (Bobby Keys and Ian McLagen too), was serious fun. Mick was not at the show I saw, and nobody involved could sing for shit, and it was still wonderful in every regard. I had not thought about that show in decades, thanks to you and vvv for the reminder.

        • vvv says:

          Jordan was in Expensive Winos for sure. Story is he played bass in real life, so he played mostly drums in the Winos, and Charlie Drayton, a drummer, played mostly bass. It was a faster way of gettin’ keef his stagger.

  28. vvv says:

    Should also mention:
    Motorhead – No Sleep ’til Hammersmith and No Sleep at All, because Lemmy and Motorhead

    • gulageten says:

      NSTH = One of the best, can’t go wrong… even though it was pretty heavily enhanced in the studio, to the point that the band did not want it released. It went into the UK album charts at #1 so they let it go.

      Their 1998 set Everything Louder Than Everyone Else is just as worthy and was not retouched in the studio. They did record it twice though (once without audience) and then use the better version of any given song.

      • vvv says:

        Fast (geddit?) Mororhead story: I’m workin’ inna bar about ’81 and they are playing, Lemmy lookin’ up into his mic as he did, loud as hell. And he steps forward, falls off the stage and lands flat on his back. Band sounded exactly the same …

        • gulageten says:

          Excellent! Not exactly graduates from the Hal Blaine school of professional conduct.

          Have you heard the one about Lemmy bumping into the guitar player after the show: “Hey, great gig!” “Yeah! But I thought we were going to play that new one?” “Oh fuck, I played it third.”

          They came Stateside for the first time in 1981, on an arena tour as support for Ozzy, so I think your story must be a little later than that. Or maybe you saw him with Hawkwind, in which case I am in awe. Good to have that in your memory regardless of the particulars. Cheers

          • vvv says:

            I’ll add to the story: I was at that school 78-82 and at that bar where I saw Wendy O. Williams & Plasmatics, The Romantics, David Johansen, Joan Jett, Kix, the Rockats (right as they were all breaking) as well as Ricky Nelson, Alvin Lee, and the local Elvis Bros., etc. in 80 to late 81. I remember it was late ’81 because I got arrested for serving a minor at an Elvis Bros. show and had to agree to a 2 month suspension to wipe the conviction; the club closed in Feb and I was the only employee of about 40 or 50 that was not owed money because of that suspension, ended thru the fall of 82 working at the Champaign Golf and Country Club where I ate filet mignon a couple times a week as a banquet bartender while the school was recruiting for sports. Went to grad school in the fall of ’82 and formed my first band … God, I’m old.

  29. vvv says:

    Thought of 2 mo’:
    Ronnie Wood – Slide On Live, wherein he shows songwritin’, slide guitar, and that he can almost sing
    NIN – All That Could Have Been, intense and noisy and yet, ya wanna dance

  30. vvv says:

    I knew I was forgetting one:
    Bauhaus – Gotham, in which a great live goth-rock recording finally exists

  31. AlfaNovember says:

    I see that Little Feat’s “Waiting for Columbus” was mentioned. However, for me, the WLIR FM radio broadcast “Little Feat Live at Ultrasonic Studios on 1974-09-19” , also known as “Electrif Lycanthrope”, is an utter masterpiece. Likewise, the earlier 1973 gig at the same radio station studio. Tight, funky rock’n’roll from some of the best in the business, played live in studio in front of good mics. The recording was allegedly mastered by Lowell George to be leaked to the bootleggers, as he wasn’t happy with the sound of the shows they were circulating. As a third treat, there’s also a recording of Bonnie Raitt with Lowell at WLIR which completes my trifecta of greatness. When people write songs about the power of the FM Radio format, this is what they’re singing about.

    All three shows are available at full quality from (hopefully the linking works)

    • vvv says:

      Thanks! Lowell George and David Byrne were two guys who sweated on me in the audience from their position on the stage. I think I saw LF in ’79? Right around WF-Columbus … Champaign’s IMPE; saw T-Heads around then, also, Champaign’s Auditorium. The best things about my college experience seemed to be the freedom, girls, concerts, booze and such, and pizza – in that order. ;-D
      I should tell the story about peeing alongside the Edge as Bono was combing his hair (that would be Bono’s own) hair …

  32. jerryn13 says:

    So there’s Richard Thompson’s “Small Town Romance” which has the distinction of being deleted from the catalog for several years because Thompson did think it measured up, although he eventually agreed to its reissue. And as an ex-Cleve, I’m obliged to add “The Day the Earth Met the Rocket from the Tombs” which has a bunch of live RFTT tracks on it.

  33. Kevin Brown says:

    I really enjoy this site. For me one of my Favorite Live albums is Nils Lofgren, Night After Night with I think Grin. I have it on Vinyl and a Japanese import CD.
    One night walking up to Winterland from the street we could hear Steve Marriot, post Humble Pie, he was loud. Next up was Robin Trower, they turned it up even louder. Loudest show I was at until Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps Show at the Cow Palace.

    • Sonso says:

      Grew up with Grin; Bowie, MD! Nils was total energy, even as the smallest guy on stage. Check out Danny Gatton (RIP), another great from the area.

    • What Constitution? says:

      And the loudest show I ever saw was Neil Young’s same Rust Never Sleeps tour when they played The Forum in Los Angeles. Somehow managed to eclipse Blue Oyster Cult with Pretty Things and REO Speedwagon at The Shrine Auditorium. Humble Pie Rockin’ the Fillmore would be at home on the list, too.

      What memories.

      • bmaz says:

        Hey, Humble Pie was pretty fucking loud too. I think they may have been the original turn it up to eleven template that Spinal Tap used.

    • person1597 says:

      Way loud, that show. Too loud! Almost had to cover my tender ears. Memorable!

      Years later, during an encounter with Neil at a computer conference, he was describing how much he hated digitized audio. He decried the loss of resolution and the shearing and shattering of released notes as their amplitudes descended through the noise floor. He likened this tortured phase of the mastering process to having an icepick in his ear. Even with more bits higher sample rates, Neil couldn’t see the benefit in sound quality and listening experience compared to vinyl. That was the most searing indictment of digital audio I have ever heard.
      I could only reply meekly, “gives new meaning to ‘The Needle and the Damage Done'”!

      Not long after that episode, he experienced a brain aneurysm.

      Fortunately for us, he is still rocking!

      • bmaz says:

        He was right though. Vinyl is simply a warmer and better medium. I still have a box with hundreds of CDs out in the workshop. If going on a long road trip in the car a will pull out a few. But in the house, it has been back to vinyl only for a long time.

  34. bmaz says:

    Hey Kevin, join in more often. Nils is a great guitar player, and I had the double live back in maybe 77 or so (will have to go check). He, like Alice, lives in the hood. Alice and his wife Cheryl used to produce and direct the school plays here. Nils performed at one of the local school music concerts. On his own and with the children. It was incredible, and you have too love the joy that all of them brought to the school kids. And the parents sitting in the auditorium. I get goosebumps thinking back on it.

    PS: Yes, It was Night After Night, a double live in 1977.

    • Sonso says:

      Constitution Hall: Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. Must have been 1974. Not the best room, but some great bands. Saw Big Brother at Emergency (no Janis); probably ‘72. Those days won’t return.

  35. tomk says:

    Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime from 1984 needs to be mentioned. Punk/jazz, incredible songs and playing at a Texas roadhouse, I think. D. Boon the guitarist died in a van accident not long after this came out. Some great political lyrics, very short often funny songs, hasn’t aged a bit.

  36. Tullalove says:

    Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Live at the Ryman. Some will say this one should wait for the Country or Americana threads, but it sounds like rock n roll by a great guitarist with a southern accent to me.

  37. miles2go says:

    Fleetwood Mac Live in Boston; Bob Seger-Live Bullet; Joni Mitchell-Shadows & Light; Canned Heat-Hooker N’ Heat; Johnny Winter-Captured Live; AC DC-If You Want Blood;
    Taj Mahal-Live; and this one that I couldn’t find on an album Keep Calm and Listen To The Kinks “Boston” 1977

    • vvv says:

      Reminds me, Kinks – “One for the Road” is excellent, has all the prior and then current hits, decent sound quality; I saw that tour, also.

      Also, King Crimson – B-Boom with Fripp and Belew on guitars, Trey Gunn on stick, the great Tony Levin on bass, and Mastoletto and the amazing Bill Bruford on percussion.

      • Sonso says:

        See Adrian Belew whenever you can. The ‘new’ Crimson was definitely amazing, but Belew also played with Zappa, Talking Heads, and Bowie. He also has a great sense of humor.

        • vvv says:

          All my above babbling about Champaign, IL – it’s where he’s from. He toured the Bowie live thing when I was down there, came back a hero. The bar I babbled about Jason and the Scorchers played at (Mabels) was kinda his hang. I saw him there often (my then girl was a cocktail waitress there) but I never saw him play – I was too broke to pay for the bigger shows, and saw what I did mostly at the place where I worked, or the subsidized concerts (hadda different girlfriend who had a disabled friend, and he could bring two guests for the price of his ticket.)

          • vvv says:

            “hero”, get it? ;-D
            I wanted to add that Vai was with Zapa at that time (saw them), and further that Belew has done a number of songs with NIN, also.

  38. paulpfixion says:

    There are so many to choose from, but I’d like to throw in a few evolutions of many of the classics by all of y’all with excellent taste (love this blog bmaz, thanks for doing this)–Neil Young’s Live Rust, early Floyd, and the Stones strutting are bedrock foundations–but here are a few that I think haven’t been brought up yet:

    Radiohead is one of those bands that have a studio rep from many casual fans, they fucking rock live. Live in Prague 2009 is outstanding. In Rainbows: From the Basement is great too. The King of Limbs tour with the floating tv screens all over the stage is like “a low flying panic attack,” kind of perfect for the world’s mood these days. They have an acoustic live album from the OK computer days that I can’t find on youtube, but is a staple for my rainy evenings.

    Andrew Bird Live on KEXP is worth anyone’s 30 minutes. (KEXP is dope, by the way)

    Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash singing “Don’t take your guns to town” gives me the chills. Their VH1 storytellers album is sweet.

    Nirvana’s mtv unplugged album.

    James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem. The live at Madison Square Garden show ranks up there with Live at Pompeii, seriously. No one will judge you for Dance(ing) Yourself Clean in the living room!
    Also, “New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down.”

    • Sonso says:

      Big props for calling out LCD Soundsystem, although, of course, they can’t hold a candle to Talking Heads. Whilst most will harken to Stop Making Sense (classic movie, and album), I would recommend both David Byrne Live in Austin (string section version of Life During Wartime, debuted right after 9/11 at the Apollo Theater…gut wrenching), and the Brass Tactics live EP with St. Vincent (Annie Clarke). And American Utopia from this year.

      • paulpfixion says:

        yeah, yeah!–talking heads are pretty rad, and st. vincent rules. the annie clark and andrew bird soiree de poche is something.
        thanks for the good recs–I haven’t watched any of those yet, great stuff.

        bon iver eaux claire deux from 2016 is goose tingly.

  39. MissingGeorgeCarlin says:

    I’ve been to a lot of great shows over the years. I’m only 50, so felt cheated at times (used to tell folks older than me “You got Led Zep, I got Huey Lewis….”. Just wanted to share this DJ Cummerbund mashup….I appreciate putting the chocolate and the peanut butter together to make something completely new:

  40. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    Just a few more of my faves and then I’m off to bed!
    Queens of The Stone Age:
    Sam Brown at the Concert for George (2002):
    (That whole concert is fantastic if you haven’t see it on PBS when it aired a year after Harrison’s death in 2001)
    and, last but least, David Bowie in September 2003 at a “members-only” (his Bowie-Net fans) concert singing “Never Get Old”:

      • bmaz says:

        I remember Rare Earth Live! It was great. Feel bad having forgotten about it, it should have been on the list. Also, one of the earliest examples of the drummer as the singer. Phil Collins learned from that.

        • Das Robot says:

          I’ll wave off the demerits this time. But you’re on Double Secret Probation.

          (Really obvious the time frame from which we hail, yes?)

          • punaise says:

            hey, Phil Collins is (was, disabled now) a world class drummer with Genesis as well as a side project, the frenetically loopy jazz fusion group Brand X. It all started to go downhill when Peter Gabriel left Genesis and Phil picked up the mic. (he had done some nice harmonies).

            I will make no excuses for post-Gabriel Genesis nor PC’s solo work.

            • vvv says:

              Ah, but those “Something in the Air Tonight” gated toms became THE drum sound of the 80’s, and then there were his appearances on Miami Vice …

              • punaise says:

                yeah, that’s a bit of a career albatross…

                veering off the live music theme, here’s a
                sample of Gabriel and Collins singing together, along with some pretty fine nuanced drumming – listen for the kick drum.

                not everybody’s cup of tea, to be sure. Must. Avoid. Going. Down. Genesis. Rabbit. Hole…

  41. Rick Ryan says:

    Iron frickin’ Maiden, baby! As far as I’m concerned, the live recordings of those songs are the definitive ones. Live After Death is generally considered the classic; it’s got a full rendition of “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” on it, after all. Unfortunately the sound on the original isn’t the best, but they did a pretty good remaster a little while back.

    I’m partial to the Rock in Rio 2001 record, myself, which has amongst other things the definitive rendition of “Fear of the Dark”:

    Metallica’s got a lot of live albums, but I’m partial to this excerpt from their ’85 Day on the Green show, because the camera guy had the good sense to focus on mighty, dearly departed Cliff Burton, and his absurd little fingerstyle bass solo at the beginning of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”:

    Black Sabbath, Paris, 1970. Not sure this ever got a proper release in its entirety, although some of the tracks got a nice remaster on the Past Lives bonus disc. I believe this was from just before Paranoid was released, so they (well, their Ozzy-fronted iteration) were in their absolute prime.

    And for the Dio era, I love their recorded show from their tour with Blue Oyster Cult, especially “Heaven and Hell”:

    Nirvana’s Unplugged album gets most of the accolades, but I love their very-plugged live stuff even more, particularly both of their Reading Festival appearances, and MTV’s Live and Loud:

    In a somewhat different vein, honest to goodness one of the best live performances ever, period, was Prince’s halftime show at Super Bowl XLI, and the broadcast recorded it impeccably. The bulk of it is in the NFL’s official retrospective thingy:
    (A little birdie told me it can still be seen in its entirety online with just a tiny bit of searching; not sure if it’s cool to link here.)

    It was one of very few halftime shows to actually be played live, not mimed/lipsynched. Special commendation to the dancers performing flawlessly on that slick surface in giant heels, my goodness.

    And I’ll take any excuse I can to link that clip of Prince joining Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, and Dhani Harrison for a rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” taking a solo, and melting everybody’s face:

    Finally, I want to include some newer stuff. Boris’ live album that’s entirely their post-rock epic “Flood” is maybe my all-time most listened live record; it’s here ( but that performance wasn’t filmed, so I’ll link this excerpt from one of their early live DVDs (note: contains gong solo):
    (I have to point out, this clip is just an excerpt and the live album is a shortened rearrangement; the album version is over 70 minutes long.)

    And Brutus, my favorite new band in quite awhile, took to releasing particularly good live recordings as singles (well, one’s live-in-studio) for their newest album, in lieu (mostly) of studio tracks with traditional music videos. And they’ve got a singing lady drummer, not a combination you find often:

    • vvv says:

      Pretty cool band, reminds me some of Tool! She’s something else – that’s really difficult, and I bet she either hates or loves Henley, hey?

      BTW, Tools first EP, Opiate, is live, mixed by the great Sylvia Massey, and really good, great sound.

  42. Jerome Steele says:

    Aretha Frankin Live at the Fillmore West is a classic. When Ray Charles joins for “Spirit in the Dark” I always get goosebumps. King Curtis as the backing band adds even more excellence.

    I think they recorded their Live at the Fillmore West record in the same run of shows.

    Joni Mitchell’s “shadows and light” is another one that is excellent and has a killer band (Jaco, Pat Metheny)

    There are so many great ones. But it is hard to beat the Stones GYYYO, and the ABB Fillmore East records in rock music. Hendrix too…

    • Sonso says:

      Shadows & Light had the personnel you mention, but you forgot the great Michael Brecker (RIP). The album by Steps Ahead, “Smoking In the Pit” (another live one from Japan), will rip your cerebral cortex, with drums by Steve Gadd (perhaps the greatest drummer alive), vibes and compositions by Mike Maineri, and keyboards by Don Grolnick (RIP).

      • punaise says:

        Steve Gadd is in a class of his own. Always thought of him as a premier session guy; note his work with Steely Dan.
        Joni’s “Hejira” will always be one of my top 5 desert island albums.

  43. Jenny says:

    Music is a universal language. Thanks again bmaz. With this post I have pulled out some old albums, moving and grooving.

    The Beatles were so meaningful in my youthful days. The BEST!

  44. jdmckay((( says:

    Couple of my favorites that were always better live then in studio.

    – Procol Harum
    – Traffic (magical)
    – YES
    – (especially early) Doobie B

  45. Xboxershorts says:

    One live recording I will never forget, I grew up on this, listened over and over as a kid,

    The New Christy Minstrels Live at the Troubadour

    Not that the instrument work or guitar play is is anywhere near Tommy Emmanuel skill level.
    Not that the songwriting is John Prine level soul touching…

    But the over all experience was just magical for me.

  46. earlofhuntingdon says:

    For those into the Troubador live shows, you’ve got a friend in Carole King and James Taylor. Well produced, their long-time back-up musicians almost steal the show. Available on CD/DVD.

    • harpie says:

      You’ve Got A Friend from Carole King’s Tapestry album…first album I ever owned…Oh man….can hear it in my head like it was yesterday, and still FEELS the same…but yikes, SO LONG AGO! lol

      And yes, here’s a link to the Troubadour LIVE recordings:

      Carole King and James Taylor ‘Live At The Troubadour’
      2 Disc CD/DVD Set is Available!
      MAY 4, 2010

      I’ve seen Taylor several times, live, but never King. :-(

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        From the Carole King site you mentioned:

        In November of 1970, James Taylor and Carole King first performed together at the Troubadour…. Taylor had just released his debut album for the Beatles’ newly-formed Apple Records and King was finding her way as a first-time solo performer…. When they returned to the club for a two-week co-headlining run in 1971….Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” was topping the charts and King’s landmark Tapestry was on its way to making her a music superstar. Thirty-six years later…James Taylor, Carole King and members of their renowned original band “The Section”… returned to the Troubadour for a three-night, six-show run to celebrate the venue’s 50th anniversary.

        The Section musicians were Danny Kortchmar (guitar), Leland Sklar (bass), Russell Kunkel (drums). Listen. Enjoy. Remember. Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, ain’t it good to know you’ve gotta friend.

  47. earlofhuntingdon says:

    On a lighter note, there’s anything by jazz pianist/composer Vince Guaraldi, especially from his North Beach era and into Charlie Brown. George Winston recorded two lovely tribute albums c. 2004.

  48. Ed Walker says:

    I saw Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention live in Columbus OH, around 1974. There were police walking the aisles along with a kid wearing Mickey Mouse Hands and Shoes and a weird hat and others. I knew two of the albums pretty well, and they played a couple of the pieces I knew, but there was a whole lot I’d never heard. I loved it.

    Also, Bob Dylan Live At Budokan was my real intro to electric Dylan. I’ve got that album and listen to it regularly. I saw Dylan a couple of times. He played Nashville at an outdoor arena with GE Smith of SNL fame on drums, and it was like he totally ignored the audience, and was just jamming with Smith and someone whose name I can’t remember.

      • Ed Walker says:

        Well there you are. My memory is shot. At least he was there, most likely, according to Wiki.

        • FiestyBlueBird says:

          Sometimes a story told between the music is as entertaining as the music.
          Leo Kottke tells about talking with Bob Dylan. This is under four minutes.
          link text

          Went to the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign. Eddie Van Halen. Non-stop smile. Ridiculously quick on the frets. Great fun. We were really close to the stage by that point. It rained. We got wet. No regret. Original FA guys were streaming from their homes last night, 35 years later.

  49. John K says:

    My memory has become like a soup in a pot with the fire long off. This thread stirs up some really nice chunks from the bottom. Thanks, bmaz.

  50. harpie says:

    I had some friends in HS who would travel to see concerts….it was never that intriguing to me, [don’t like to be in large, confined crowds] but I’m glad they convinced me to go see

    The Who, Madison Square Garden 1974
    The Who, Thursday, 13. June 1974

    From a few years later, here’s
    [Pray we] Won’t Get Fooled Again [Shepperton Studios 1978]

  51. sven says:

    I am amazed that no one has mentioned Bruuuuuuuuuuuce! Truly in a class by himself.

    Here is a true story about another performer who is in a class by himself: Pete Townshend. I saw him in Toronto in ’93, I think, when he was touring for his Psychoderelict album. The first half of the show was the Psychoderelict stuff. Even with Jim Broadbent in the cast it seemed like a failed experiment and my friend and I seriously considered bailing. But Pete took an intermission and was, OMG, ON FIRE in the second half! Awe inspiring like watching or rather feeling a tidal wave. Windmills, great solos, incredible energy and of course the classic repertoire. One of the greatest things I have ever seen.
    So we rave to a friend of ours who is a huge fan and he, full of regret for missing the show, takes a train to Chicago to catch the next spot on the tour. And it absolutely sucks. Pete has no energy, at one point lying on the stage like he wants to sleep it off. My friend is outraged and actually writes Pete a letter complaining. And Pete writes back! Apologizing! He says he doesn’t know why some shows are great and others aren’t but he is sorry for sucking that night. Rock’n’roll!

    • punaise says:

      Lyrics that fit the lockdown/clampdown moment:

      Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons,
      Packed up and ready to go
      Heard of some grave sites, out by the highway,
      A place where nobody knows

      The sound of gunfire, off in the distance,
      I’m getting used to it now
      Lived in a brownstone, lived in a ghetto,
      I’ve lived all over this town

      Transmit the message, to the receiver,
      Hope for an answer some day
      I got three passports, a couple of visas,
      You don’t even know my real name

      High on a hillside, the trucks are loading,
      Everything’s ready to roll
      I sleep in the daytime, I work in the nighttime,
      I might not ever get home

      Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
      Heard about Pittsburgh, P. A.?
      You oughta know not to stand by the window
      Somebody see you up there

      I got some groceries, some peanut butter,
      To last a couple of days
      But I ain’t got no speakers, ain’t got no headphones,
      Ain’t got no records to play

      Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock,
      We blended in with the crowd
      We got computers, we’re tapping phone lines,
      I know that that ain’t allowed

      We dress like students, we dress like housewives,
      Or in a suit and a tie
      I changed my hairstyle, so many times now,
      I don’t know what I look like!

      • Sonso says:

        I said it in another post, but the version of Life During Wartime from Live in Austin is mind blowing. But for an entire album on what’s happening today, listen to DavidEnryB (aka David Byrne) album, which was written in the aftermath of the AIDS crisis. Songs like Angels, Crash, A Long Time Ago are as current today as they were 25 years ago.

        • punaise says:

          Thanks, I will have to revisit that one.
          Huge fan of My Life in the Bush if Ghosts, à sonic collaboration with Eno.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Absolutely. It’s a girl, my Lord in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.

      • errant aesthete says:

        “It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.”

        Greatest lyric ever!


        “Take It Easy” (1972)

        Shortly before the Eagles cut their first album, Glenn Frey was a broke songwriter living in the same building as Jackson Browne. One day, Browne showed his neighbor an in-progress tune called “Take It Easy.” “I took it up to ‘standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona,'” Browne said. “Only Glenn would’ve had the girl slowing down to take a look at him.” The finished work was strong enough to become the first song on the first Eagles album, and their debut single. It rocketed to Number One and instantly turned the Eagles into one of the hottest groups in the country. The song remains so famous that the town of Winslow, Arizona, actually has a statue commemorating the moment, complete with a painting of a girl in a flatbed Ford.

  52. Eureka says:

    Unable to reply to Quinn Norton on the ‘Coming Attractions…’ page (or her recent page), I’m dropping this reply here (mentally splice it back to that thread, makes sense in situ):


    (And so many ways this could be *so much fun,* the ultimate in trash talk.)

    It’s tricky… but in the end, it doesn’t even matter; ‘I don’t want No Scrubs!’ host won’t come along and ride on this fantastic voyage.

    –And that’s a hip-hopity (w)rap, folks–

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Oh, yeah, I love “Can I Kick It” by A Tribe Called Quest. Thanks Quinn and Eureka!

      What I love is the beat, the moves, the humor, the collaboration, and the way it all works together in a fun message that makes it accessible to individual sensibilities. Now, this may sound odd to some, but the rhythm actually feels like it syncs with my heart. And it is calming and hopeful to me.

      As far as our differences in taste, it might just be related to the evolution of string and language. The first citation indicates evidence of string 40,000 years ago.

      But the 2nd citation speaks to the “musicality of human speech” itself and the social and evolutionary aspects of it.

      “Ancient string provides further evidence of Neanderthals talents”| Article [AMP] | Reuters

      “Human Origins: Language is innate”
      “In his book Unlocking the Past: How Archaeologists Are Rewriting Human History with Ancient DNA, Martin Jones describes it this way:”

      “Individuals carrying a disabled version of the FOXP2 gene experience a variety of problems… with something called ‘prosody’. This is a term that is related to intonation, rhythm, and the general musicality of human speech, something as important to poetry as the actual meaning of the words.””
      “Social Skill”

      “Acquiring language requires that children be in a social environment where they can see, hear, and experience being immersed in language. Language as a social skill may thus be linked to the human characteristics of cooperation, altruism, and socialization.”

    • Eureka says:

      Yep, SL, I love me my prosody. Phativity, too — which I find to be quite flexible with music, liking the upbeat, driving features which can turn lyrics superficially at odds with the instruments into, effectively, dis & triumph tracks: some of the best rock and roll &c! (I think it can turn some of the standard love-lost stuff into political-type songs with that phative turn, especially for eras where that was more the subject than social issues. Talkin’ ’bout my generation…)

      OK so since I didn’t html tag the text above, here is one segment:

      Linkin Park – In The End (Live 8 2005)

      This is a rock song, I don’t need any guff.

      LP has this on live albums, but I like this version for Chester Bennington’s bright voice (RIP). Tho the transition drops from Chester’s vocals to Mike Shinoda’s rap aren’t as crisply dramatic as other versions (like on Live in Texas). This is a great song to sing both parts.

      Now, here is an excellent live album (track), and Amy Lee rocks. They’re performing old songs anew with an orchestra, so these versions are less ‘rock’-y but magnificent in their own rights:

      EVANESCENCE – Overture/ Never Go Back (Synthesis Live DVD)

  53. bmaz says:

    Okay, back to the music. I wanted to shoehorn it into my Top Five, and it barely missed. But never sleep on Deep Purple Made in Japan. It is seriously good, and fantastically produced given when it was done. Spectacular.

    • Das Robot says:

      The studio versions of Highway Star and Smoke on the Water suck along side the same on Made in Japan. Maybe that’s true of most tunes but we used to play those back in the day live just bc MIJ rocked so much. The studio versions dragged so badly it was pathetic.

  54. bmaz says:

    Yeargh, a certain Mr. Leopold has reminded me that I recklessly left out Thin Lizzy Live And Dangerous. He is right. Absolutely on the list. Here is a taste of Cowboy Song, though from a live show, not the live album. Phil Lynott died far too early, and the world was deprived of a monumental talent.

  55. Jason Leopold says:

    My list

    Thin Lizzy: Live and Dangerous
    Motorhead: No Sleep Til Hammersmith
    Neil Young: Time Fades Away
    Joe Cocker: Mad Dogs & Englishmen
    BB King: Live at Cook County Jail
    UFO: Strangers in the Night

        • bmaz says:

          It is too easy to forget Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry. Not much of a commercial success, but holy shit they were good. I was never a huge Eno fan, but Phil Manzenara was sneaky great on guitar. Here is Editions Of You, a truly great track. Note that the cat playing sax had a pretty decent career for himself too. An understatement, but still.

          • vvv says:

            Izzat Anday McKay? I have a sometime musical collaborator in London (we do the internet thing) who is a close friend of his, and Reg from the Troggs, grew up down the street from Boy George (who is quite a bit younger but along with his large family is the star of some great stories). Apparently, McKay has this huge estate (or did a few years ago) and throws some excellent parties. I the meantime, my buddy plays bass in a C&W band in London pubs – apparently there’s a bit of a scene. (He just cut a rewrite of “Old Town Road” he sings called “My Favorite Pub” had my 23 y.o. daughter rolling.)That’s some live music news from London.

  56. Philquat says:

    On my list of great live performances that I’d like to see tomorrow:
    Billy Strings
    Crystal Shawanda
    The Panhandlers

    All phenomenal artists.

  57. Ern says:

    One of my all time favorites to catch live is Bill Kirchen, former guitar player for Commander Cody. His version of Hot Rod Lincoln is a must hear.

    The guitar player whose live show surprised me the most was Johnny Winter. Absolutely scorching playing. Stuff that doesn’t come across when you hear his songs on the radio.

  58. vvv says:

    Chris Spedding – Friday the 13th, check out “Guitar Jamboree”, just hilarious, even amazing guitar playing:
    ht tps://

  59. vvv says:

    Another fave:
    Tin machine – Oy Vey Baby Soupy Sales kids are the rhythm section and the phenomenal Reees Babrels and Bowie and Iggy’s Eric Schermerhorn on guitars
    h ttps://

  60. What Constitution? says:

    Live albums not on this list? It’s been an adventure recalling my 8 track collection, but it’s hard not to include Poco’s DeLIVErin’. A few kids who made good later, too — Timothy B. Schmidt, Richie Furay, Jim Messina.

    But in terms of establishing live recordings as standalone competition for studio quality sound with technically perfect playing, that has to go to Lou Reed and the band he assembled for Rock and Roll Animal (Intro/Sweet Jane is monumental) and Peter Frampton’s Winterland performance in Frampton Comes Alive. Or any song The Eagles ever recorded live, whether they wrote it or Jackson Browne did. Oh, and wait, Blue Oyster Cult before Godzilla. One version of one song? Recent entry here: While My Guitar Gently Weeps, with Eric Clapton, Neil Frickin’ Young, Tom Petty, and god knows who else because Prince walked on and just blew everyone away.

    I seem to have some time on my hands, this has been a good place to spend it. Thanks Bmaz & all.

    • What Constitution? says:

      Yeah, uh, no — went back for a listen and no Clapton, no Neil Young on that except in my mind. Tom Petty, George Frickin’ Harrison’s SON, Steve Winwood and Jeff Lynne, with Lynne’s buddy Marc Mann impersonating Clapton at the front end. But that Prince guy was really there. Still as good as I thought I remembered it.

        • What Constitution? says:

          Sorry, it was indeed a monumental gaffe — but I’d rather give the Louisiana Purchase back to France than allow Mike Trout to leave my neighborhood. You did just have the chance to see him in Spring Training for a while, hope you were able to take advantage.

    • vvv says:

      Funny juxtapo – I seem to recall reading that the audience noise on Framptom Comes Alive was lifted from Rock-n-Roll Animal (or vice-versa), and also used on Scorps’ Tokyo Tapes …

  61. rosalind says:

    St Paul Peterson, part of the Prince family and member of The Time and The Family has started a fabulous podcast, “Muisc on the Run”, interviewing professional musicians about how they keep themselves – body and soul – healthy out on the road. His first interview is w/Steve Miller aboard his tour bus and has a great 15 min segment where Steve shows very simple exercises he does to maintain his hand and wrist dexterity. Grt info for any of us w/hand strain, etc.

    • Eureka says:

      Thanks for posting I will check this out for the exercises. (Also your ref to Prince & The Time reminds me of Jesse Johnson — talented guy, so many talented people in the world).

      Adding (separate topic I just recalled, so inserting here): there’s a fundraiser for those out of work because no performances…

  62. pdaly says:

    I have nothing to contribute, but I thank you all for the suggestions. I went online today to amazon and will be broadening my listening habits as soon as the music arrives. I no longer have a phonograph but still own several CD players.

    • bmaz says:

      First, buy a turntable. There are some insanely good ones very cheap. Start with AudioTechnica, they are very decent, even the cheap ones, and it goes up from there. But, seriously, you can do fine with very little money. Here is a spectacular Sony that, arguably, is better than what I currently use. And it is cheap.

      Second, go to used record stores. Albums are cheap, and if you think they are too damaged or otherwise not to your liking, they are VERY good about swapping them out for something else.

      Record Store Day is one of the best days on the calendar. And it is a riot, in a good way. There are new issues that are great, but all locations also have crates, bins and boxes of fantastic old vinyl, often for pennies. It is serious fun. This year it was cancelled because of the corona, but it will be rescheduled.

      • vvv says:

        I have, no kidding, 3 turntables and somewhere between 1 and 1.5K vinyl albums in my garage, boxed, where they’ve been since, eh, 2008; I think the last turntable went out there 2012. I’ve pretty much replaced everything on CD (some were quite expensive – look for the afore-mentioned Santana’s *Lotus* in either format – the LP’s artwork, BTW, is spectacular). I’ll admit to somewhere between 2 and 2.5K CD’s, but that might be light.
        I love a new vinyl – I hate surface noise, just one of those things – drives me crazy. I vastly prefer CD’s, and I prefer CD’s to hard drive players, altho’ I’m sure the converters are a factor.
        Of course, then you get into all the issues of mastering, re-mastering, RIAA curves and other EQ.
        I’ll compromise with CD’s to never again be sad because I wore out a vinyl.
        Hard drive players are awesome, tho’, for downloaded boots.

        • puzzled scottish person says:

          I don’t know if the name John Peel means anything over the pond but he was one of my favourite DJs and he made a lovely comment which went something like:

          ‘I like surface noise. Life has surface noise.’

          Having said that, I do tend to favour the silver discs these days, if only for convenience and availability of the music I like.

          Some of the best live gigs I’ve ever been to? In no particular order:

          Motorhead. Rush. Jane’s Addiction. Mary My Hope. bmaz’s neighbour (Alice). Genesis (Wembley 1987 – brilliant even without Peter). Goldfrapp. Hayseed Dixie. John Paul Jones & Diamanda Galas (Diamanda did throat singing or something very like it). Maria McKee (in a tiny club – I was so close I could almost have touched her: Breathe was, well, breathtaking). Sigur Ros (one of the few times in a big auditorium when you could have literally heard a pin drop because everyone was listening so intensely).

          Probably lots more I have forgotten for now but, as Frank Zappa used to say:

          Music is the best :-)

          • bmaz says:

            Can’t say ever heard of Peel before, but agree with him. Pretty much all my vinyl is in good shape as I replaced the ones that were bad. Have not had any problem finding anything want on vinyl, but sometimes you have to look around or order it from Discogs, but you can usually find it if you try.

            • vvv says:

              John Peel, who died in the early 00’s, was a English radio guy who commissioned fairly low-budget, mostly and most famously live in-the-radio-studio performances by rising artists in the 70’s and 80’s He had excellent taste in recognizing who was gonna be good. IMO, he also had excellent taste in hiring the engineers as the sound-quality is typically great with few overdubs (often, none) and a basically ‘faders-up” aesthetic in the sense that there was very little processing of the multi-tracks (if any). I treasure his recordings of bands like The Cure, Chameleons UK, Joy Division, Jesus and Mary Chain …
              I think I mentioned this before, but the Peel stuff, Radio One, BBC, and King Biscuit Flour Hour, is usually pretty good, with the first two being mostly (or all) as in-the radio-studio live, and the Beeb stuff about half in the studio and half concerts, and KBFH is concerts …

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Heh, heh. You had me at the first kalimba. Mine looks a lot like that one, except mine has blue markings (but, of course.) It inspired me to write a little melody I called “Clay Lady.”

    • vvv says:

      Great players, but I hadda turn off from the 2nd song for the lyrics. But “6 Days” was great.

  63. gmoke says:

    2 hours of COVID19 as music
    Viral Counterpoint of the Coronavirus Spike Protein (2019-nCoV)

    More information at

    I’m wondering if human musicians jammed to the virus’ music could jam the virus, whether they could play something that could be transcribed from music to protein, as the virus’ proteins were converted to music, that would block the sites where the virus attaches to human cells.

    The visual representation of the Coronavirus spike is the subject of puzzles at, the website where anyone can help figure out problems in protein folding. Here’s a tutorial on the spike that will give you some ideas of what it looks like:

    Maybe we could watch that with the sound off as we listen to the COVID19 music and make the breakthrough that will end this pandemic once and for all.

    Just a thought.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Thanks for sharing, gmoke. I love to hear about this kind of stuff. Interestingly, just as bmaz is an aficionado of vinyl as opposed to digital, some film buffs feel the same about that medium vs. videotape, DVD, etc. They love the plasticity of film, where you can actually see each individual frame.

      I say this because I wanted to mention Norman McLaren (1914 – 1987) a renowned innovator (Canadian, born in Scotland) in experimental film. He did something with film that is somewhat similar to what is explained in the citations you provided, but obviously much more elemental. All of it is commendable, though, for its creativity.

      Here is a link that shows how he created something called graphical sound by photographing rectangular cards with lines on them, arranging shapes in sequences on the analog optical sound track to produce notes and chords.

      “The Eye Hears, The Ear Sees”

  64. Scribe says:

    Most meaningful concert? To me?
    That time I saw Joe Venuti in a bar in NYC, maybe 10 seats in the place, 4 or 5 months before he passed.
    Had a brief chat with him before the set. A real gentleman.
    The tone and deep resonances of his playing stay with me still.

    • bmaz says:

      Person 1597 – That is my bad, you are right. Even better, I saw the tour and bought What Do You Want From Live when it first came out. The concert was insane, and great. The double album captured it perfectly as to the sound and music. But the stage show was every bit as great. You really needed to see both together. Thanks for posting that.

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