Absolutely Live! 10 Essential Live Rock Albums

Absolutely Live!

10 Essential Live Rock Albums

The roots of live albums can be traced back to Blues and Jazz, only during the mid to late 60’s, labels started to invest on producing Rock artists live albums, due to the continuous shifting of the music industry in that period. By the 1970’s, it became almost obligatory for a Rock band to release at least one live album. We revisit 10 of the best ones, the real concert experience in your living room.

“In Concert” – The Doors, 1991

Triple Live experience of The Doors, “In Concert” it’s a compilation of the 3 previously released Doors Live albums, 1970 “Absolutely Live”, 1983 “Alive She Cried” and 1987 “Live At The Hollywood Bowl”. Being somehow hard to find by 1991, those 3 albums were then remastered by original Doors producer Paul A. Rothchild and assembled together in 1991. Recorded live mainly during their American tour from 1968-1969, it also features some cuts from the 1968 European tour. Discontinued for a long time now, there are still some copies available that you can get online or e-bay, the album was released on a double CD, Cassette and triple Vinyl (in Europe only).

Released: May 21st, 1991
Recorded: 1968-1969 U.S,A, Europe
Producer: Paul A. Rothchild
Label: Elektra Records

“Stage” – David Bowie, 1978

David Bowie live during the Berlin períod,on the Isolar II world tour, it features his Glam Rock classics and a big chunk of songs from “Low”, “Heroes” and “Station To Station”, including instrumentals. An album that is different from 1975 “David Live”,mainly cause it presents a different Bowie from the mid 70’s one with different musical directions and ambitions. The album was recorded live during the U.S tour dates on the Spring of 1978.

Released: September 8th, 1978
Recorded: 1978 Philadelphia, Providence and Boston, U.S
Producer: David Bowie, Tony Visconti
Label: RCA

“Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970” – The Who, 1996

An explosive live album that delivers one of The Who’s most iconic and famous live shows. Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 featured names such as The Doors and Jimi Hendrix in the line up, but it was The Who that stole the Festival, when they played their Rock-Opera “Tommy” album in it’s entirely except for 4 tracks, along with some of their live staples, rendition of “Summertime Blues” and new songs. This live album it’s the closest you can get to experience TheWho at the peak of their 70’s live era.

Released: October 29th, 1996
Recorded: August 29th, 1970, East Afton Farm,Isle of Wight U.K
Producer: Jon Astley, Andy Macpherson
Label: Columbia

“Jimi Plays Monterey” – The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1986

The explosive debut of The Jimi Hendrix in the U.S took place at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Already a famous band in England and Europe, though lead by an American, they were still relatively unknown to the American audiences by then. Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones introduced the band on stage, Hendrix’ use of extremely high volumes, the feedback this produced, and the combination of the two along with his dive-bombing use of the vibrato bar on his guitar, produced sounds that, with the exception of the British in attendance, none of the audience had ever heard before. He ended his Monterey performance with an unpredictable version of “Wild Thing”, which he capped by kneeling over his guitar, pouring lighter fluid over it, setting it on fire, and then smashing it onto the stage seven times before throwing its remains into the audience. “Jimi Plays Monterey” it’s Hendrix at his best, the album was reissued in 2007 as “Live At Monterey 1967”

Released: February 1986
Recorded: June 18th, 1967, Monterey, California
Producer: Alan Douglas
Label: Reprise

“Live Killers” – Queen, 1979

It’s hard to pick a Queen live album as a favorite, in recent years there were many live recordings of the band released, specially from their 70’s live era that are all sublime. Our pick is “Live Killers”, released in 1979, it’s a double album that revisits Queen’s 70’s career, highly energetic, for Queen always were a natural born live band. The album compiles the European leg of their 1979 tour.

Released: June 22nd, 1979
Recorded: January – March 1979, Europe
Producer: Queen
Label: EMI

“Alive” – KISS, 1975

Considered by many as the best KISS live album, this was a serious case of success when it was first released. It earned a status that remains to this day as one of Rock’s best live album ever made. Recorded during their American tour in 1975, it features the best tracks of their first 3 albums, which makes it also into a sort of Best Of KISS. It was the first of a series of KISS live albums.

Released: September 10th, 1975
Recorded: May 16th, 1975, June 21st, 1975, July 20th, 1975, July 23rd, 1975 in Detroit, Cleveland, New Jersey and Davenport, U.S.A
Producer: Eddie Kramer
Label: Casablanca

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“Delicate Sound Of Thunder” – Pink Floyd, 1988

Recorded over five nights at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, New York in August 1988, this album is a definitive Pink Floyd live experience. A look back at their 70’s and 80’s career that includes some of their biggest hits including “Shine On Your Crazy Diamond” and “Learning To Fly”, this album is pure ambiance and pure Floyd. It contrasts with their early Psychedelia of “Live At Pompeii”
It also became the first rock album to be played in space, as Soviet cosmonauts took it aboard on Soyuz TM-7

Released: November 22nd, 1988
Recorded: 19th–23rd August 1988, Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, New York, U.S
Producer: David Gilmour
Label: EMI/CBS

“The Song Remains The Same” – Led Zeppelin, 1976

The live soundtrack album of the concert film of the same name he album was originally released in October 1976, before being remastered and reissued in 2007, The recording of the album and the film took place during three nights of concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden, during the band’s 1973 North American tour. All songs were recorded by Eddie Kramer using the Wally Heider Mobile Studio truck, and later mixed at Electric Lady Studios in New York and Trident Studios in London. The setlist includes Zeppelin’s great hits such as “Stairway To Heaven”, “Dazed And Confused” (that takes the full Side 2 of the album) and “Whole Lotta Love” It remains one of Zeppelin’s best document of their 70’s live era.

Released: October 22nd, 1976
Recorded: 27th–29th July 1973 at Madison Square Garden, New York City
Producer: Jimmy Page
Label: Swan Song

“Live Era ’87-’93” – Guns N’ Roses, 1999

This record was the first official Guns N’ Roses release since “The Spaghetti Incident?” in 1993 and it’s to date the only official full Guns N’ Roses live album. Recorded between 1987 and 1993, being the majority of the tracks from their “Use Your Illusion” world tour between 1992-1993, this live album documents the Guns N’ Roses live energy of that period, featuring some of their best songs too.

Released: November 23rd, 1999
Recorded: June 28th, 1987 and December 10th, 1988, 1991–1993
Producer: Del James
Label: Geffen Records

“Live Shit: Binge & Purge” – Metallica, 1993

The first Metallica live album that got a special release included on a box-set together with a video it was recorded during their highly successful 1991-92 “Wherever We May Roam” Tour, 1993 “Nowhere Else to Roam”and 1989 “Damaged Justice” Tour, in the cities of Seattle, Mexico City and San Diego. It remains as one of Metallica’s best live documents, featuring songs from the first part of their career.

Released: November 23rd, 1993
Recorded: August 29th, 1989–March 2nd, 1993, Seattle, San Diego and Mexico City
Producer: James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich
Label: Elektra/Vertigo

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