Do You Remember Live Music?

Joni Mitchell Miles of AislesIn the 1970s & ’80s, The Ramones asked, “Do you remember Rock ‘n Roll Radio?” Today we ask, “Do you remember attending live music concerts?” I certainly miss seeing shows by my favorite bands and artists like: Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, Groovie Ghoulies and Buddy Guy. As live concerts are still quite a few months away, I decided to do some digging into the DBRL collection to find the best (in my opinion) live recorded music. I included titles from our CD collection and our streaming service, Hoopla. So, here are my choices to get lost in the good ol’ days. Disclaimer: I have mostly avoided the MTV Unplugged-type recordings, as they tend to sound a bit too polished. I prefer the “warts and all” approach to concert recordings; give me banter, give me crowd noises, give me mistakes! I want to replicate the concert experience! In the end, I relented and did add some MTV Unplugged performances to the additional titles list.

  • Muddy Waters & Rolling Stones: “Live at Checkerboard Lounge” (Hoopla) Incredible moment in the history of Rock and Blues. I originally learned of this via Youtube. This is a mesmerizing performance. Waters was a compelling entertainer and the Stones were just one of the biggest bands in the world.
  • Elvis Costello: “Live at El Mocambo” (CD, Hoopla) Raw, aggressive representation of 1970s Elvis Costello. I have been a fan of this Elvis for many years and hearing his “punk” era makes me want a time machine.
  • Roy Orbison: “Black & White Night 30” (CD) Orbison’s voice could still hit the high notes! Career-spanning song selection supported by a star-studded band.
  • James Brown: “Live At the Apollo” (Hoopla) Do not miss this. Here is a performer who is in total control of the crowd. Just about every song pre-”Living In America” is here and they brought the house down.
  • Joni Mitchell: “Miles of Aisles” (CD, Hoopla) I was not prepared for the beauty and simple complexity of the songs on this recording.
  • Neil Young: “Tuscaloosa” (CD, Hoopla) Recently released recording of early 70s Neil Young. Fantastic sound and a great setlist make this an essential listen (though, technically, the show is incomplete).
  • Nirvana: “Live and Loud” (DVD, Hoopla) In the pantheon of Nirvana live shows, this is a solid “Top 5” pick. This has a career-spanning setlist played, more or less, in front of their hometown. Originally, this was conceived as a co-headlining show with Pearl Jam, but Eddie Vedder came down with the flu. Nirvana decided to play a longer set and we are the beneficiaries.
  • Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton: “Play the Blues” (CD, Hoopla) Eric Clapton and Wynton Marsalis playing Creole jazz-blues, with a few surprise song selections. Okay, you can probably guess that the surprise song is Layla, but it is a nice version that again highlights the versatility of that tune.
  • Sleater-Kinney: “Live in Paris” (CD, Hoopla) I have really grown to like this band recently. This recording makes me yearn for the opportunity to see them live.


Florence and the MachineMore live music:

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