Live albums that give you a whole new outlook on the studio versions

Continuing the discussion from Greatest single-LP, one-performer anthology?:

@Akaj, the OP of that thread, had the idea for this one, partly I think to get me to stop borderline hijacking his … :wink:

Which I’m going ahead and starting, without further ado. discourse suggested some similar threads that exist, but not too recently, so I think it’s safe enough to make a new one.

In the previous thread someone mentioned Talking Heads ‘Stop Making Sense’ which I heartily seconded, liking every song on that album better than the studio versions.

I also mentioned the posthumously released in the 80s Jimi Hendrix album ‘Live at Winterland’. Some great live versions of classics that really brought new life to studio versions I had heard hundreds of times before.

I think many of the songs on the Rolling Stones’ ‘Get Yer Ya-Yas Out’ surpass the studio versions.

What live albums do you think in many cases surpass the studio versions of the songs, or bring a new perspective and appreciation of the studio versions? Allman Bros at Fillmore East? Bob Seger - Live Bullet?

The REO Speedwagon Live Album “You Get What You Play For” version of “Riding the Storm Out” kicks ass while the studio version sucks ass.

Hell yes. It might sound like the height of indulgence to turn the five-minute “Whipping Post” into a 24-minute epic, but the whole thing crackles.

A lot of material from the same concert can also be found on Eat a Peach. What a night that must have been.

The opening number ‘We Will Rock You’ on the Live Killers album ( Queen 1979 ) makes the studio version from News of the World sound positively insipid.

It’s a kick-ass, raw, fast moving, hard rock tune. Hell, it may even qualify as NWOBHM material.

If you’ve only heard The Who’s studio output, hearing Live At Leeds will likely be a revelation.

Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive! is an outstanding album, and its live versions of several of his older songs – “Do You Feel Like We Do,” “Baby, I Love Your Way,” and “Show Me the Way” – became the definitive recordings of those songs.

Similarly, Cheap Trick’s live album Cheap Trick at Budokan took a studio song that hadn’t charted well in the U.S. – “I Want You To Want Me” – gave it a faster tempo, and turned it into one of their signature songs.

Good one. The Who have always put on great live shows.

I heard that the reason the Stones refused for years to release the concert movie ‘The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus’, with the Stones, The Who, and several other bands, was because The Who, fresh off a tour, blew the doors off the place and made the Stones’ performance look low-energy by comparison.

I feel like I’m admitting to liking Nickelback (I don’t!) with this entry, but I’ll add Kiss Alive! as a great live album that surpassed the studio recordings. Not a huge Kiss fan, but that is a great live album. They did quite a bit of dubbing to the recordings, so while it is live, it did have help.

You wanted the best and you got it! That hottest band in the land, KISS!!

Any of Frank Zappa’s live albums will, for the most part, give you a new outlook on any of the music that also appears on a studio album. This is due not only to his bands changing lineups frequently through the years, but also to FZ’s own disposition to change things around. For specific titles, Roxy and Elsewhere and You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore vol. 2 are among my favorites, both performed in 1974. There’s also Ahead of Their Time from the 1968 lineup, and Piquantique from 1973, the latter being part of a series of bootlegs of his own shows Zappa collected and then released officially (“Beat the Boots”). Make a Jazz Noise Here documents some selections from the ill-fated 1988 tour (his last; the band self-destructed from in-fighting before the tour was finished).

Yes, concur about the Zappa discography. The Grateful Dead are another classic example of a band whose live performances routinely outdid the studio versions. And since they’ve been releasing several shows a year since breaking up in 1995, the officially authorized live releases now vastly outnumber the studio albums.

I’ll also bring up the Clash Live at Shea Stadium show which was released a decade or so ago. You can hear “Rock the Casbah” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” sounding like actual punk songs instead of the Mick Jones-ified disco-funk versions from Combat Rock!


What does mentioning Kiss Alive! as a great live album have to do with admitting to liking Nickleback? Am I missing something, or did you leave something out of your post?

Judas priest Unleashed in the East.
I’d never listened to their studio output, but when the live album came out, I was like “this is amazing!”

So I went back and tried some of the albums. I never thought a metal band could play so sloooowwww.

On UITE you get

On Sad Wings of Destiny you get

hid e ous de struct or
every…man shall fall

I can’t help but start laughing, Wake up dudes!

Even Diamonds and Rust. On Sin After Sin it sounds like they took Joan Baez’s record and slowed it down 30%. It sounds like a garage band cover. The live version, ahem , KICKS ASS.

Most of the live versions of songs from Little Feat’s “Waiting for Columbus” are superior to the studio versions, but especially “Dixie Chicken” which is just epic.

I think that he was comparing liking Kiss to liking Nickleback, as far as social acceptability. :smiley:

That was the album I was going to mention. “Fat Man in the Bathtub,” “All That You Dream,” and “Old Folks Boogie,” are so much better than the studio versions. Even with the Tower of Power horns playing slightly out of tune, “Spanish Moon” and “Rocket in My Pocket” are terrific, and “Dixie Chicken,” as you mention, is epic.

Bingo! Me: I like that older Kiss. Fun, poppy glam metal. Nickelback rightfully gets looked down upon.

Ah, got it. I don’t think admitting to liking Kiss makes you nearly the social pariah that admitting to liking Nickleback would be :slightly_smiling_face:

2 more come to mind. Deep Purple “Made In Japan” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “One More From the Road”. Smoke On The Water live is much better than the studio version, they turned a song that sort of plods along into a rousing foot stomping hit. And Space Truckin’ and Child in Time at taken to a new level. Skynyrd gave new life to their songs and showed why they were one of the best live bands of the 70’s.

P-Funk All-Stars Live at the Beverley Theater

You have not heard Parliament (or Funkadelic) if you’ve only ever heard the studio albums, or even many of the official live albums, which the tracks seems to be selected specifically for their strict adherence to the studio version. Pointless. This band is meant to be heard playing live, and they put on a hell of a show. The tunes might start out the same as the studio version, but then they keep going. This is their best live album AFAIC, as it actually captures the spirit and energy of an actual show. They improv and jam, you can hear George Clinton and other performers giving direction to the other musicians in real time, they play “Flash Light” at like triple speed, it’s incredible.

Not an album, but I never much cared for Elton John’s “Funeral for a Friend” until I heard him perform it live in concert.

J. Geil’s Full House made all the studio recorded songs better. More uptempo and frenetic as opposed to the versions on the studio albums.