What I love about live recordings is how intimate they are. Here you get the wonderful opportunity to experience a band or artist’s music in a live setting that can be reproduced anytime you want. It’s like being in front row center every evening without the expensive cover fees, and if it’s a live recording of a high-profile act like the Stones or the Boss you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.
The best live albums, like the best live shows, are the ones that extend a band’s talent in the way they experiment with the delivery of their repertoire and in the way they interact with their audience on both a visual and sonic level. There’s a reason lots of spectacularly popular pop artists seldom put out a live album: heavy on the visual spectacle, light on sonic depth.
These, therefore, are decidedly not of that vein of performance. They’re as good on the ears as no doubt they are in person.
1. John Mayer – Gravity
Where The Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles – Columbia, 2008
If this one sounds familiar, then yes, you got me. I used it on a list from last week. Okay, so no points for originality on my part, but this song deserves to be on a list such as this. The proof is most undeniably in those guitar solos in the way they build and swell with each passing moment, made brighter and carried higher by a fantastic arrangement of backing brass and vocals. Please. Put this one on and forget all else for awhile. Your moment of zen awaits.
2. Theresa Andersson – Oh Mary
Live at Le Petit (DVD) – Basin Street Records, 2010
For every rule there’s always an outlier, in this case it’s a clip that makes the case for the “seeing is believing” crowd. Whatever the case, Andersson’s bluesy cover of the traditional folk song is awesome. Multi-instrumentalist, lover of loops, and fancy footwork to boot. Continue reading Monday Mixtape: Front Row Seats Everytime