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Re: Live album? Well, if you insist

Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 03:13PM
As a corollary to the greatest-hits threads ...

Has a live album ever served as a "gateway" to an artist whose music you've come to love?

What live albums do you consider a crucial part of an artist's output? (Let's face it, most artists' live albums usually are regarded as "side trips," for various reasons ... as stopgaps between regular albums, contract-fulfillers, etc.)

I'm sure this topic has been covered before. My apologies if it bores anyone.

Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 04:07PM
Cheap Trick at Budokan gave those fine young men their first big hit, and is probably the best example of a live album being a crucial part of a band's output, at least as far as TP bands go. Frampton Comes Alive is probably the best example for a non-TP artist.

As far as getting into a band because of a live album, the ROIR live album by Suicide (don't remember it's actual name and am too lazy to look it up right at the moment) sold me on them.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 29, 2008 01:05AM
Another one that i forgot is Fragments of a Rainy Season. This is definitely crucial to Cale's catalogue. Certainly not a best of sampling, it still has alot of great Cale choons and is one of the few live albums that I listen to regularly.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 04:23PM
At Budokan, Live at Leeds and Alive! were the prime examples that came to my mind, for live albums that are a crucial part of the artist's output. Alive! certainly was a gateway to Kiss, for me. Pity there wasn't much of value waiting for me down that path, but c'est la vie.

> The ROIR live album by Suicide (don't remember it's actual name and am too lazy to look it up
> right at the moment) sold me on them.

1/2 Alive.

Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 04:51PM
I know some people who heard the first Stop Making Sense soundtrack and bought Talking Heads albums after that, but other than Budokan, I can't think of any other TP artists who broke through that way. I mean, Frampton, R.E.O., and KISS are the typical examples of artists who kicked their careers into high gear with a live album, and Springsteen's live box got some people interested in his back catalog, but TP artists? I 'd love to think Fall In A Hole got enough people interested in Mark E.'s other works, but probably not. I thought live albums were usually put out by people who were trying to capitalize on some recent success, and it provided them a chance to present the back catalog and the live show all at once. That usually meant the end of the band's career, although Rush's ALL The World's A Stage is a pretty good exception. Other times, they're used to end contracts in an attempt to get a better a deal, or get out of one -- The Parkerilla seems to be the one we've all heard of, I think.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 05:55PM
And once again Rush's name appears on this board. Maybe they need a TP entry.

When I was ill as a teenager, my mother brought home a VHS of the video version of the band's second live album Exit Stage Left. That prompted me to get the album, and that was my gateway into the band. I was always a little disappointed in the studio versions of the Exit songs, even though there's precious little difference.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 09:36PM
Really, a good live Kraftwerk album? I love 'em but I probably wouldn't consider it - figure they were such a studio group. But, thanks, I'll check it out.

"Nighthawks at the Diner" is the place to go for '70s/pre-Island Records era Tom Waits.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 12:42AM
Well, the Kraftwerk live record basically sounds like a studio recording. It's more of a 2-disk best-of, I think. For me, it's the only Kraftwerk disk I need to own. But it's also the one I started with, so if you've already got the studio records, you arguably don't need this one.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 04:56PM
Ahhh, yes: Robyn Hitchcock's Gotta Let This Hen Out! One of the greatest things ever. Recommended by David Fricke, and once I bought it, I became obsessed with collecting everything Hitchcock did. Same with many people I know, even people who normally wouldn't listen to that stuff. I used to play it at parties, and people would laugh at some songs and ask who it was. A friend of mine used to take great pride in knowing the lyrics to The Face of Death, and would sing along with it at the top of his lungs.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 05:35PM
Considering the band's desultory post-'70s release schedule, it's hard to imagine that Kraftwerk's 2005 live album Minimum-Maximum was meant as a contract-closer or a stopgap. But IMO, it's a better listen than most of their studio albums. It also serves as a good best-of, hitting most of the high points of Kraftwerk's career (unless a fan just has to hear the full, side-long rendition of "Autobahn," or wants to seek out "Computer Love" to hear the Coldplay guitar riff played on a synthesizer).

Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 05:53PM
This live record was my first Kraftwerk purchase, and I have to admit, I feel like I don't need the studio albums because this is so good.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 06:36PM
Rush used to treat its live albums as "closing chapters" to various stages of its career (All the World's a Stage, Exit Stage Left). A Show of Hands can be seen as serving that function too, even though it was a contract-closer for the band.

Since the late '90s, though, Rush's live albums basically have been stopgaps. That was understandable at first, of course, since Neil Peart was enduring some awful times and the band was on hiatus. But since returning to action, the group has gone way overboard with live albums.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 06:42PM
Most Depeche Mode fans regard 101 as an essential part of that band's output. It is a pretty good sampler of DM up to that time, and makes a decent gateway for a new fan.

On the other hand, DM's Songs of Faith and Devotion Live is a ridiculous exercise (covering the preceding studio album in concert, from start to finish), and a complete waste of time.

Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 07:24PM
Liveage and Hallraker are really where to go with the Descendents. I was a fanatic as a kid so I appreciated All there stuff but that 1-2 punch is just perfect.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 10:55PM
the kinks one more for the road- loved the dave davies guitar work on it especially. was more impressed when i later heard the studio versions how different the versions were and were both great.

first who album i ever heard was live at leeds . was the hardest thing i have ever heard at the time prob still is. was amazed that they had such great lyrics and ballads also.

peter himmlemen- picked up a live album by him and it had this great feel like you were at the show

when i first got into music at around 1979-83i i would tape concerts off the radio {king bisquit flower hour} and was normally let down a little by artists studio efforts.... was the 80s production, which was a thread in itself last week.
Live records I like and enjoy and that I think are substantial records in a band's catalogue:

Who, Live at Leeds. Well, duh.
Heads, Stop Making Sense. The definitive "Life During Wartime."
Richard Thompson, Small Town Romance. Actually, the Richard and Linda Thompson kinda-live record is good too. Nice covers of "Dark End of The Street," etc.
Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, "Live at the Bluebird Café.

Trying to think of others.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 24, 2008 11:26PM
Motorhead - No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith

Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 12:20AM
It's Alive got me into the Ramones - the versions seemed punchier but maybe it was the cumulative rush of all those songs flying by.

Stand in the Fire got me into Warren Zevon .....rocked harder than his studio work at the time. That's a great party record.....

Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 12:31AM
Cramps - Rockinnreelininaucklandnewzealandxxx. Lux at his crazed best (esp. on "Birdfeed"). I actually didn't warm to their vintage studio stuff at first (and I'm talking Songs The Lord Taught Us here) because it was as crazed as this particular slab.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 03:34AM
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 12:41PM
The arrangements on Minimum-Maximum don't vary much from the studio versions, but the sound quality is better, more pumped-up. The acoustics of live performance work to the group's advantage, much more than most people might expect. (Having seen Kraftwerk this year, I can attest to it.) And yes, the sound of the audience does add some enjoyable ambience.

Think of it as a two-disc best-of, with audience noise. I love Kraftwerk, but I have to say this covers the high points just fine, for most listeners.

Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 01:15PM
I love Bob Marley's Babylon By Bus. It's a great album, and it makes me feel like I'm there.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 02:19PM
Here's a good enough topic to make my first post.

A few gateway live albums for me were Play by Magazine, Speed Connection II by the Fleshtones (although it took me years to find another Fleshtones album in the record stores in the days before the internet) and Live Wood by Paul Weller, which got me interested in his music again after completely writing him off for over a decade due to the Style Council.

Best live album I've heard lately is The Saints' A Gallon of Rum is a Harsh Mistress in the Morning, a bonus record of a 1981 show appended to the Saints' recent reissue of three post Ed Kuepper albums. The liner notes make it sound as if it's some curiosity whose sound rivals the Beatles' Hamburg Tapes for murkiness, but in fact it's a well-recorded electrifying performance that includes tunes from both the original and new Saints and some great covers.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 04:40PM
No kidding. Both of those are great live albums. I've been a Saints fan for a long time, and Speed Connection was the second Fleshtones album I ever bought (Hexbreaker! the first). I'd love to find a copy of Speed Conenction II on CD, but I can't even find a copy of the iRS Greatest Hits compilation they made for under 50 bucks. Is there any early Fleshtones on CD?
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 02:34PM
Speed Connection II is indeed great.

Thanks for the tip on the Saints album; will keep an eye out for it.

And welcome to the board!
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 03:21PM
One More for the Road was my gateway to the Kinks, too. The local rock station played quite a few tracks from that one, and then I was lucky enough to win a free copy of it. My brother and I were very excited to see the Kinks and the Pretenders on a double-bill the following year (back when Ray and Chrissie were a couple).

Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 05:18PM
Amazon lists some used CD copies of the ROIR release Blast Off! for as little as $18.

And holy jeez, there are used LP copies of Hexbreaker on Amazon for as little as $20. I can't remember the last time I saw a copy of that classic album for sale at any price.

Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 07:48PM
This may be revisionist history, and I was a kid at the time, but it seems like Wings Over America shed the vanity project tag and made the group a legitimate endeavor.

I think U2 won over many of their fans with the "Under a Blood Red Sky" mini-album(?) and (to a lesser extent) the Wide Awake in America EP...Rattle and Hum, not so much, although I think that album's "Pride" blows the doors off the studio take.

I'd already been wearing out grooves on Snap! when I heard The Jam's Dig the New Breed, but live stuff helped make things click. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers Pack Up the Plantation had a similar effect.

The Clash's Live: From Here to Eternity might make a nice introduction to the band, but since it came out 15 years after they disbanded...? In any case, while it may not be essential listening, it's a very worthwhile addition to the catalog–one I'd recommend without hesitation.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 08:38PM
As a junior high-schooler, I definitely got into U2 via Under a Blood Red Sky. That was a powerful and definitive introduction to the band in the early '80s. Culturally, I'd say it's almost up there with Live at Budokan, if not quite, in terms of gateway influence.

I owned Dig the New Breed, but sonically that was such a crappy recording that I almost dismissed the Jam before ever really getting into them. Fortunately, I took another stab at them after they graced the cover of Trouser Press magazine the next year (along with Pete Shelley and Berlin). Hey it was already 1983 (and their demise was underrway), but at 14, they were new to ME. I distinctly remembering riding my bike to the record store in my small country town and shelling out my last two bucks for the TP mag. (I got a little change back.) I was fortunate to have a record store in my jerkwater burgh that carried TP and Jam albums.

Post Edited (07-25-08 17:49)
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 29, 2008 05:26PM
That was the first TP issue I ever bought too, Erik!

Lots of good discussion on this thread and I don't have much to offer at the moment except perhaps to gloat over the fact that I picked up the double vinyl of IRS's Greatest Hits sometime in the last 5 or 6 years for less than $10.

Oh, also: I have a Government Issue double-live bootleg and one of the two discs is a good recording from a radio show and it's a great compilation of the best songs from their last incarnation. I listen to it more than I listen to any particular GI album.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 10:27PM
Good point about those U2 records.

I had a :45 of "Pride," but it was seeing U2 do "Bad" on the Live Aid broadcast that made them click for me. I followed that with Wide Awake first, since it had a live "Bad," and then Blood Red Sky. I never did cotton to the studio version of the live songs on those EPs.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 25, 2008 08:43PM
Since this thread has somewhat morphed into a discussion on hard to find copies of LPs and CDs, I was surprised to see a little while ago that Holly Beth Vincent has made her two classic albums (The Right To Be Italian and Holly & The Italians) available on iTunes.

This is great news for those who don't already have these digitally (Wounded Bird stopped reissuing them a while back) as copies of those two CDs currently fetch on Amazon for $89 and $94, respectively. Not that either of them aren't still worth it at those prices but...

Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 26, 2008 09:15PM
One day I hope to hear neil youngs 'weld' but for now my top three bestest ( true, I do a much better ed grimley ...)
slade alive! - holy shit man
thin lizzy- and dangerous
canned heat- topanga (you know what I been smokin)
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 30, 2008 05:15PM
Zappa's discography includes dozens of live albums, none of which just repeat some studio tracks. (That's both good and bad.) I got very interested in FZ from the live material on Weasels Ripped My Flesh, and would recommend the Shut Up and Play Your Guitar series. Much of the rest is VERY dodgy, what with the over-supply of his humor on so many of the live performances.

The Residents' CUBE E, The History of American Music in 3-EZ Pieces is one of their finest hours. No single album, of course, gives you an idea of what they are like en toto, but this is a major work.

Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 30, 2008 05:33PM
There were those 400,052 live albums Pearl Jam released simultaneously a few years back.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
July 30, 2008 06:17PM
Between Pearl Jam's release-every-show effort and "Instant Live" (which records concerts and makes the CDs available at merch booths right after the last encore), I'm afraid the live album really has lost much of its potential to serve as a gateway ... and virtually all potential to take a definitive place in an artist's catalog. Albums like At Budokan, Alive!, Stand in the Fire, and so many others mentioned above had the power to make new fans feel what a gas it must be to see the artist in concert — to be part of that scene. Today, it seems more solipsistic. People can buy a recording of the show they just saw, as if it were a t-shirt.

Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
August 02, 2008 08:49PM
The gateway Van Morrison record for me was "It's Too Late to Stop Now" and I still think it's the peak of his recording career.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
August 03, 2008 02:41PM
Yeah, that's one of the great "double-live" albums of the '70s.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
August 02, 2008 11:50PM
Live albums are admittedly disposable most of the time, but there are a few instances of the rare bootleg document that adds some serious insight to a band.

Urgh! A Music War comes immediately to mind as a watershed live document as was Short Circuit (Electric Circus), & Live from the Deaf Club for turning me on to a lot of great bands.

The Fall's Legendary Chaos Tape is pretty essential to show how outside they were of the rest of what was going on at the time. Their Seminal Live is essential if only because half of it is studio. =P

It's funny all the anti-SY sentiment around here, but there's a great bootleg of a 1986 show at the Continental Club in Texas that is the official debut of Evol and is pretty amazing.
And if we consider live stuff to include studio sessions (ie. Peel Sessions) then that changes things significantly - to combine both of the above - SY's "4 Tunna Brix" Peel Session of Fall covers (Oct. 11 1988) is a must have.

Butthole Surfers Double-Live 'official' bootleg is a must and was one of my main entry points to their music.

Decent Cocteau Twins bootlegs are few and far between, but I've heard an incomplete but great quality recording from Groningen 1985 that really adds to my understanding of their depth having never seen them live myself - much different than their recorded work.
A few others that I gained respect for after hearing live - Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, Psychedelic Furs, Modern English, Robyn Hitchcock (he did a benefit for Medecins sans Frontieres in 2006 of Syd Barrett covers that is brilliant), etc.

The Cult Dreamtime Live was an entry point besides some singles - I still think as a live album it's a high-point of that entire genre. Similarly, The Name of This Band Is The Talking Heads was an entry point to their stuff for me though I had heard a few songs beforehand.

Foetus' Male is an awesome disc and his live show is usually transcending.

The THE was fantastic live and it's a shame it took him so long to tour and then never release a proper document of it.

On the otherhand, I heard Wire's Document & Eyewitness early on and luckily it didn't stop me as that was a pretty crap slab. They recovered much later with 2004's Scottish Play and another essential one from them is the Third Day EP - a live promo to preface the upcoming Read & Burn 01 - fanfreakingtastic.

Obviously there are a lot of prog bands whose concepts are built around the performance, so nothing to add there other than I have way too many bootlegs marking 'the best' performances from 70s tours. =P

gotta have music.
Re: Live album? Well, if you insist
August 04, 2008 02:15AM
Led Zep's How The West Was Won is pretty damn magnificent if you ignore discs 2 and 3. Why did Bobby Plant feel the need to ask "Does anyone remember laughter" every damn show? That really kills the mood for me.

Husker Du's The Living End and Live at Leeds are the only 2 other live albums that I keep in regular rotation. Maybe live albums require a healthy testosterone level (on the part of the performers). I doubt if a live triple album would shed much light on the catalogs of, say, Belle and Sebastian.
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