The Live Fantastic

This past week, I’ve been listening to alot of music. Because I like music, believe it or not. I always have had some interest whether it was Living In A Box or Vanilla Ice in my early formative years, Oasis or Radiohead in my teenage years, The Beatles or Sinatra in my twenties, to the present day where you’ll often find me listening to pretty much anything of genuine quality (ie non TV Talent Show derived nonsense).

In particular, to mark the delivery of the latest Led Zeppelin live CD/DVD ‘Celebration Day’ to this rather Led Zeppelin crazed household, I’ve been listening to the greatest band of the Seventies, and certainly challenging The Beatles for the ‘Greatest Band Of All Time’ crown, er, well it’s Led Zeppelin of course!

As a studio band they were pretty awesome, as their albums testify (the later ones are a bit thin in quality compared to the likes of their early numbered albums and Physical Graffiti), but as a live performing band, from watching the DVD footage and listening to the live recordings, they took it to a whole new level of awesomeness.

Which then got me on to other live albums that I have in my collection, and whether they capture the respective artists quality and performance as successfully.

1) Double Life – Nick Harper
Slightly off-beat guitar magician, this album captures his live persona perfectly, from his energetic playing to his inter-song banter.

2) Familiar To Millions – Oasis
Recorded during the tour of probably their worst album, Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants, at a time when Liam Gallagher was at his most arrogant and obnoxious. A pity really as I have experienced them myself, and they were better than this.

3) Live At Earls Court – Morrissey
A mixture of his solo output and some Smiths songs in there too, this is one of my favourite live albums in my collection. Even better, there’s none of his aloofness coming through either.

4) Good Evening New York City – Paul McCartney
Recording of the concert marking the opening of the rebuilt Shea Stadium, now branded as CitiField or something similar. Whilst it is certainly a reflection of his Macca-ness in action, having seen him in the flesh, the CD is sadly unable to produce the same hair-stood-up-on-the-neck feeling.

5) How The West Was Won – Led Zeppelin
And we come full circle. Led Zeppelin as captured over a couple of shows in their prime. Best listened to at a deafening volume.

6) Live At Leeds – The Who
From their Leeds University gig in 1970, this was the first Who album I bought. This was only the initial release, there have been another two since, finally incorporating the entire Tommy section of the gig, and you can hear a band still at their pinnacle bounding through their repertoire with energy and excitement.

So, that’s the conclusion of my live album discussion. If there’s ever a good Rolling Stones live album, or even The Beatles (assuming they can try and eradicate the screams), rest assured I shall be adding them to my collection.


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