Studio Versus Live Albums and Concerts

M U S I C    M O N D A Y

I’m just going to be bold and say it. I’m not fond of live albums. Sure, there are a few that I enjoy, but on the whole, I usually prefer the studio version more. Here are some live songs/albums that I actually like:

  • Psycho Killer – The Talking Heads
  • Free BirdLynyrd Skynyrd – One More From The Road
  • I Want You To Want MeCheap Trick, Live at the Budakon, Japan
  • LolaThe Kinks (I like both versions)
  • Sweet JaneLou Reed – Rock n’ Roll Animal
  • Folsom Prison (the whole album) – Johnny Cash
  • Unplugged in New York – Nirvana

What I don’t like about live music and concerts…
  1. I hate it when the musicians get carried away with being “musical” and turn the song into something unrecognizable. I wanna hear the one from the record/cd – not the weird one that I can’t sing along to.
  2. I really dislike long guitar and drum solos. I guess ALL solos, really? It’s pretty self indulgent, not to mention boring. (FYI – girls usually hate this crap unless they’re trying to impress their boyfriend.)
  3. Lead singers occasionally lose their voice, and by “their voice” I mean, the one I recognize from the album. Nothing is worse than when the lead singer’s voice is all raspy and froggy, and the band looks all worn out. That’s when you know they’re just getting by on fumes – the end of the tour is like getting the spitty last sip in a can of soda. Disappointing.
  4. I can see through concert “junkies.” — People who go, not because they love that particular band, but because they collect ticket stubs and tee-shirts, believing this elevates their cool status. C’mon, we all know the type.
  5. When the venue is too enormous – Madison Square Garden comes to mind. I saw Led Zeppelin from the worst seats imaginable.
What I like about live music and concerts…
  • There’s a certain energy and intensity in a live performance that you can’t get from a studio version.
  • If the lead singer is particularly charismatic then the music is more enjoyable. Yes, I just said that. For example, Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day is riveting.
  • I like the atmosphere – a group of people in one space who appreciate the same music.
  • Some concerts are really imaginative and give you a big bang for your buck. I saw Pink Floyd- Animals, at Madison Square Garden. They had giant balloon animals floating all over the room. It was very cool.
  • I like trying to work my way down to the stage. I see it as a challenge!
Any opinions about live versus studio versions? What’s the most memorable concert you’ve ever seen.