Sunday, October 17, 2010
Live, from the Sanctuary ...
By Wayne Shelor
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With the recent re-release of two time-honored live recordings – both remastered – I thought we’d pay homage to live albums this Sunday morning. I've been listening at length to Little Feat’s remarkable 1978 live Waiting For Columbus, re-released a few weeks ago by Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, one of the premier remastering labels. I’ve also spent hours with the four-CD Delaney & Bonnie & Friends Live With Eric Clapton, an enjoyable time trip back to 1970, tho’ it’s not in the same league sonically as Live in Gdansk or Little Feat’s album.
When it was released in 1976, I thought Bob Seger’s Live Bullet was incredible. Now, with scores of well-produced live albums behind me, I realize it’s an imposter. There’s so much involved in accurately capturing a live moment, transferring it to playback media and having it sound good as well as sounding live, that there’s a dearth of sonically elegant recordings.
To be sure, live albums such as Cheap Trick’s At Budokan, the Rolling Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Yas and Government Mule’s The Deepest End are fun, if flawed, listens. And albums such as The Doors’ Absolutely Live, Warren Zevon’s Stand in the Fire and Nirvana’s Live at Reading are important historical captures, even if they’re … uneven.
When you get right down to it, a good live recording is one that touches something inside of each of us, and it’s a different experience for all. My favourite live recordings (based largely on the sound rather than the moment or the event) are:
The Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore East, The Who’s Live at Leeds, the above-mentioned Little Feat double album, James Brown’s Live at The Apollo, Porcupine Tree’s Coma Divine, The Eagles’ Hell Freezes Over, Jeff Beck’s Live at Ronnie Scott's, Tom Petty’s Live Anthology, a just released obscurity, Tony Joe White’s That On The Road Look, Live, and The Band’s The Last Waltz, which we’ll listen to next week.
Perhaps you have some live albums you’ve not played in a while. After church, football, baseball or the outdoor adventure you have planned for today, you might give one a spin. There’s nothing quite like live music, and a good recording of a live performance is a thing of beauty.