There is something about listening to a live band perform on stage. It will never sound as perfect as the studio version, but the energy and the feeling of being there with the band playing are different. Unfortunately, not every band tours everywhere or even tours. The best substitute is a live album or a DVD. I like them better when they release a complete show instead of living performances from different concerts but that is rare. On this list, I want to talk about my favorite live albums.
⁃ The Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Recorded in 1964 and 1965, the sound might not be the best due to the screams, but it is the only Beatles live album. The Beatles played great on those shows and the energy is felt even through the record. There was a remastered version released for the documentary Eight Days a Week about their touring years that sounds better and has extra tracks.
⁃ Paul McCartney and Wings Wings Over America
Paul has released many live albums but this is my favorite for one reason, it does not include a lot of Beatle songs like he does now, he sings his solo material. The versions of Blackbird and Yesterday are just beautiful. Great show and great performance by the band.
⁃ Bob Dylan Rolling Thunder Review box Set
This is a good period for Dylan, he recorded two great albums ( Blood on the Tracks and Desire) and those songs are performed with great energy by Dylan and the band that included Joan Baez and Roger McGuinn from The Byrds.
⁃ Elvis Presley Live in Las Vegas
Elvis has a lot of live albums, but I like this one because Elvis was a top of his game on this one and though he clowns around on a few songs it doesn’t spoil the wonderful sound of his voice and only makes the concert more special as you hear him interact with the crowd.
⁃ George Harrison – The concert for Bangladesh
This one has a historic significance as well as the great music played at that concert. The first benefit concert George recruited artists like Ringo, Eric Clapton, Badfinger, Billy Preston among others and played songs from his All things muss pass album as well as Beatle classics like Something and Here comes the sun. There is even a Bob Dylan set.
⁃ Guns N’ Roses Live Era 1987-1993
This band really knew how to play live, with raw energy led by Axl Rose and the great guitar of Slash. This album allows having the band at it’s best times on record to listen forever.
⁃ Joan Manuel Serrat – En Directo
The poetry of Joan Manuel Serrat is unmatched at least for me and this is a perfect live album. His voice was still strong and he sang songs from two great albums (en transito and Cada Loco con su tema) as well as classics like Cantares and others.
⁃ Led Zeppelin How the west was won/ Celebration Day
I have to include them both because combined it contains the best of Zeppelin. How the West was won includes great performances and the band is at all their powers. I include celebration day because it includes older songs like Kashmir and In my time of dying, together these albums provide the best songs from the band live.
⁃ Metallica Live S&** Binge and Purge
Metallica records and releases all their concerts on cd or digital which is great because if you attend one of their concerts you can buy it later on CD. I have on CD the concert they did in Puerto Rico just before releasing Hardwire, but still, I think that Live S*** Binge and Purge is a superior live album.
⁃ Nirvana Live and Loud
This is a concert I remember seeing this concert on MTV. Nirvana played really well at this concert and I like the setlist.
⁃ Pearl Jam Live in Chicago 2006
Just like Metallica, Pearl Jam for a while released all their concerts on CDs, this one is on Eddie Vedder’s hometown Chicago and they did an amazing show.
⁃ Simon and Garfunkel Live 1969
This is the perfect live album, it covers the years ooo they played together because even though not released yet, they sang songs from Bridge over troubled water. Their voices in their prime just sound so beautiful.
⁃ Queen- Live Killers and Rock Montreal
This band has to be one of the best bands to see live, or at least while Freddie was alive. Like Zeppelin, I include two albums because Live Killers features the songs from the ’70s and the Montreal show adds later hits like Another One Bites the dust.
I will mention classic albums like Frampton comes Alive and Kiss Alive is well-known albums but I have not really listened to them well enough to given a fair opinion.