Posts Tagged ‘live albums’

Sunday Big Note — Listening Session #21

Back on Friday, March 28th, 2008 I published the post, Live Albums — Dead or Alive? in which I listed many of my favourite live albums: Zappa In New York (1978); Super Session (1968) with Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Stephen Stills; and Warren Zevon’s Stand In The Fire (1980/2007) just to name a few. Among them, though, was also an absolute favourite live album of mine which has long stood the test of time. That artist and album being John Mayall’s 1969 live release The Turning Point.
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Frank Zappa – The Pier, NYC – August 26th, 1984

It always strikes me as unusual when Frank Zappa actually states that a concert is going to be a very long one – like the The Palladium show on October 31st, 1978:
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Live Albums — Dead or Alive?

I was tagging songs on my Last.fm account the other day (I like to listen to an eclectic mix of music while I work) when I noticed the sheer number of live albums which were being scrobbled from my music library. In no particular order or ranking (they are all equally excellent listening):

Perhaps it was the advent of the music video, MTV, the videotape recorder/player and the eventual evolution of the DVD player along with the rest of the technological wonders of the last twenty years or so that led to the gradual demise of the great live albums. Has any recent band and/or musician released a live album that measures up to the great live albums like those listed above? Where is the impetus for bands/musicians today to record great live albums if a video or a DVD will suffice? I don’t know. There’s something about a really well recorded live album that sticks with you long after you have heard it. It’s like an artifact of an other time. As much as a video or a DVD may attempt to (and in certain ways it may surpass a live recording) it doesn’t capture this aspect of the live album experience. Perhaps this is why field recordings are still so popular.

Let me ask, if and when a Zappa “Roxy DVD” is released, will it take away any of the mystique from the original vinyl recording?