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Favourite live albums?


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Ages ago, I did a topic asking people what they thought about live albums and such, as I am a pretty big fan of a decent live album. So yeah, what are people's favourite live albums?

I'm going to have to say that Depeche Mode "101" is probably my favourite, closely followed by In Flames "The Tokyo Showdown". Depeche Mode's is just 2 discs full of some of their best early stuff, which just sounds even more grand and majestic live. In Flames in Tokyo is just metal done the right way, and it is just pretty cool to have all of their best songs rocked out on the same CD.

I'll give additional praise to the Penn State Pearl Jam official bootleg CD I have, for not only being good, but for offering all 3 hours of a live Pearl Jam set. Excellent stuff.

Edited by Liam Byrne
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Green Day's Bullet In A Bible is fantastic. The main songs from the American Idiot album as well as their more famous older stuff, and it just all comes together great.

But Queen's Live At Wembley is just brilliant. mainly because they're Queen but Freddie's voice is just perfect, and everything else is spot on and it's just the complete package for a live album.

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I don't really like live CD's, they always make me want to be at the show, and I wasn't. So they just depress me. That said, S&M is just fucking immense, there's no way to describe it. It's just big. It sounds like you're in the middle of an epic metal orgy.

It's fucking quality.

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Being a Pink Floyd fanatic i'd say P.U.L.S.E, altho it seems that i own tons of live albums now.

S&M - Metallica (The idea has been done before, but it works so well with the epic songs that Metallica play)

Aliva IV - Kiss (tries to follow in metallicas footsteps, on the plus side it has some awesome tracks)

Thin Lizzie- Live and Dangerous (what more can i say other than it owns)

LIVE - AC/DC (My first live album, and really got me into the band at the time)

Live Era - GN'R (The production on this is immense, every song is so polished and sounds amazing)

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I didn't find S&M very good. First of all the band isn't very tight and secondly that's not how you should use a symphony orchestra. They are too much in the background and don't add much to the songs. You shouldn't force symphonic parts to songs that weren't written to support them. Seemed more like a gimmicky money grab, playing the same songs with special effects.

Now Deep Purple did an awesome job in both their orchestrated live albums and had songs written specifically for the occasion. Not to mention the awesome musicianship.

But as for my favourite live albums - there's quite a few favourites, I own 17 live albums and there's not many I've been really disappointed with. I often times sample through a live album before getting into a new band. I love the live album feel. To name a few of the best:

Judas Priest - '98 Live Meltdown

- Unleashed in the East is of course the essential Priest live album, but I loved the way they presented the 'new' Priest in Meltdown.

Iced Earth - Alive in Athens

- Real awesome setlist with such a tight delivery it makes the songs sound better than in studio. Dante's Inferno is just brilliant here, and so are Pure Evil, Last Laugh, Brainwashed and pretty much everything else here. The mix with the band and the crowd is just perfect too.

Annihilator - Double Live Annihilation

- Comeau is brilliant on vocals and the guitars sound crisp. Not crisp as in clinical - guitars are noisy instruments and I want them to be so in live albums, too. All the songs work well.

Then there's Testament's Live at the Fillmore, Maiden's Live After Death and Dream Theater's Live Scenes From NY that are all real good. But I'd probably pick those three I first mentioned over them.

What I hate about live albums recorded in latin countries are the soccer chants. What the hell is up with that? Ruined Bruce Dickinson's Scream For Me Brazil for me.

A couple of other ones I didn't enjoy: Maiden's Real/Live One (flat, and Bruce sounds strained), Helloween's High Live (lacks balls and the intensity Helloween had in studio, and Deris sounds annoying) and Priest's Live in London (totally useless as a CD because of Meltdown a few years earlier). And some others I never bought that I've been trying to forget about.

I think there's bands that record live albums so they can put out something on the market without having to go to the studio or write new songs. But to make a good live album you have to put a lot of effort into it - make it unique and bring something that hasn't been heard before, eg. new sound, new band members performing classics, totally insane rock-out parts that you wouldn't put in a studio CD, audience interaction etc etc. And you need good mixing. Sometimes you know the band has been great perfoming the recorded show, but it still sounds flat.

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The fact that no one's mentioned Johnny Cash Live At San Quentin saddens me, it's probably the best live album I've ever heard.

S&M's alright, but the DVD's better, as it gives you the option to turn off Metallica. A much more enjoyable experience all round.

Nirvana Unplugged is the best thing they ever did. Far from the best live album ever, but definitely the best Nirvana album. All the cover versions are pretty damn good, and the version of "About A Girl" too.

The Deep Purple orchestral albums are actually sickeningly bad. S&M is the only symphony/metal album that even begins to work.

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I do adore their version of Where Did You Sleep Last Night, it's probably my favourite Nirvana track. I don't like it quite as much as the original, but I'm a huge fan of Leadbelly. I prefer it to Mark Lanegan's version, though, which is pretty much identical stylistically, but with higher production values.

Kurt singing "in the pines" and the final time he sings the chorus really do send shivers down my spine, though, and from someone who was raised on Nirvana, for it to still have that effect, he's doing something right.

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