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Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by smoothrecluse, May 12, 2020.
Just about everything The Who ever did.
I don't think in songs. I think in albums. And in these albums, most of the songs are better than most of the studio versions. So the case can be made.
(Exceptions: The tunes on the Dead and Dave Nelson are mostly either great covers of other artists' songs or songs they recorded live but not in the studio. Hard to imagine better studio versions, though.)
Aretha Live at Fillmore West
Europe '72 (Dead)
Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert (Capaldi, Townsend, Winwood, Wood)
The Concert for Bangladesh (Clapton, Dylan, Harrison, Preston, Russell, Shankar, Starr)
Etta James Rocks the House
Get Yer Ya-Yas Out (Stones)
The Grateful Dead (a.k.a. the skeleton album)
Hope At the Hideout (Mavis Staples)
Judy Garland Live at Carnegie Hall
Keeper of the Key (David Nelson Band)
Live In Cook County Jail (B.B. King)
I'm surprised that nobody mentioned U2 yet. Their albums are good, their songs live a million times better. Once I get my hands on some tour bootlegs I don't even bother anymore with the studio versions. There was a time I collected U2 live bootlegs and I must have gotten 80% of every live show they had played up til 2005. I've played in some tribute bands and I ahad to advocate like crazy for the rest of the band to always use the live versions of songs, and not the studio versions. Because who has unlimited overdubs live? And why reinvent the wheel when A: the original band already did and B: people most likely expect hose live versions also.
Other bands which are superior live in every aspect are Radiohead and Muse.
Frampton Comes Alive
Rush - Exit Stage Left... not everything on it is better than the studio, but the older stuff they played definitely is
I'll have a go:
If you can get past those damn monotonous monologues, anything that Elvis performed in 1969/1970 is good (especially with James Burton on guitar).
I have always thought the studio/radio version of Yellow Ledbetter (B-Side of the single Jeremy I think?) is totally vanilla and nowhere near as good as the live versions. The performance from the Tibetan Freedom Concert 1997 is so beautiful - easily my favorite version and one of the best PJ performances. The clarity and tone of the guitar is magic.
A lot of Dave Matthews Band live recordings outshine their studio stuff. They aren't an "electric" band as such, but they are all such incredible musicians that thrive in the back-and-forth spontaneity of live music. Live at Red Rocks is their gold standard for the earlier albums. Some cool Tim Reynolds licks there.
Pink Floyd's Pulse is another great live recording I prefer to the studio tracks. The energy there is captivating.
Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me in the studio is a cutesy laid-back affair, but their Live at Budokan is what set them off. Rick Nielsen tears it up there.
Honorable mention: Not a rock or guitar song, per se, but Kelly Clarkson's performance of Since U Been Gone at the 2005 Video Music Awards---a show I usually ignore and an artist I don't particularly follow, but caught by chance---absolutely kills. I will still watch the YouTube video every few months because she effing nails it. Respect where it's due.
Cash, Live From Folsom
Elvis, Live from Madison Square Garden
Tom Jones, Live from Las Vegas
Erykah Badu, Live. Esp. Tyrone
I usually prefer studio recordings of pop or rock type music. But the more improvisational the band is, the more I lean towards the live recordings. Anything with real virtuoso players involved is almost always better live to me.
Bruce Springsteen 'ramrod'
Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb, Delicate Sound of Thunder
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Freebird, One More From The Road
Fleetwood Mac - Silver Springs, The Dance
Jethro Tull - Aqualung - Living With The Past
Cream - Crossroads, Farewell Concert
Hot Rails To Hell
Also on How the West Was Won, by far my favorite Zeppelin. It roars. Their studio stuff sounds muddy and compressed in comparison.
Nirvana live recordings are far superior to their studio stuff, even the much vaunted Albini recording. I wonder who was responsible for the best of their live sound.
I disagree with this one. Plant sings below the melody on the TSRTS version. I guess he couldn't hit the actual melody notes live. To my ears the studio version has a lot more energy, too.
I find the live version much rawer and edgier. Yes, a little ragged.... I like it