With the lack of touring, and the related delay of album releases, there’s only so many times one can listen to an album without mixing it up by hearing the songs live. If you’re missing the live setting and hearing different takes on your favorite songs, but don’t want to commit to watching a live set, check out these live albums you can find on streaming that you may have forgotten about! Looking for live albums from newer bands? Check out last week’s article!
The Allman Brothers Band
The Allman Brothers Bands’ At Fillmore East holds the designation of 2nd best live album, according to Rolling Stone (the #1 position went to James Brown’s Live at the Apollo). If songs like “Ramblin’ Man” and “Midnight Rider” are your jam, you’re in luck! The Allman Brothers Band have lots of live recordings available on most streaming services, way too many to list in fact. There’s quite a few live recordings from the 70’s that weren’t released until 20-40 years later. Additionally, many of the recordings from the band’s 2003 tour were added to streaming providers a few years ago.
According to Rolling Stone, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s Live/1975-85 is one of the best live albums of all time. The album, which is certified 13x platinum, contains 5LPs or 3CDs. Also available on streaming services are Live in Dublin, Hammersmith Odeon, London, Live in New York City, In Concert/MTV Plugged, and Springsteen on Broadway. Springsteen on Broadway is the soundtrack from the Netflix release of the same name recorded at the Walter Kerr Theater, where Springsteen held residency from October 2017 to December 2018. Other than live performances, it also includes anecdotes and monologues from Springsteen. If you’ve outlistened all these albums, and want even more Springsteen, you can purchase even more Springsteen live performances on his website.
Metallica has released more live albums than studio albums at this point, thanks to the release of 4 live albums in the last year and a half. However, only 6 of them are widely available on streaming services: S&M2, Helping Hands… Live & Acoustic at the Masonic, Through the Never, Some Kind of Monster (Live), S&M, and Live Sh*t: Binge and Purge.
Through the Never (2013) and Some Kind of Monster (2004) are the soundtracks/live audio from the concert films of the same name. The S&M (1999) and S&M2 (2020) feature both Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony (hence the title). The original was released on VHS and DVD, whereas the latter was released in theaters before being released on DVD and Blu-ray. S&M2 is currently the highest grossing rock cinema event; it pulled in $5.5 million at the box office. Helping Hands… and Live Sh*t are more traditional live albums. Helping Hands… documents the band’s acoustic performance at the Masonic in San Francisco, which raised money for the band’s All Within My Hands Foundation. Live Sh*t, the band’s first live release, features tracks from Metallica’s 1993 performances in Mexico City. There are also DVDs/VHS tapes from the same release which captures two additional performances.
Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York was the first live album I ever bought. What I just learned this week, however, is that the band has 4 other live albums! In 1996, the band released a compilation of live performances from ’89-’94 entitled From the Muddy Banks of Wishkah, a reference to the Wishkah River in Aberdeen, WA where Kurt Cobain spent time as a teen. The band’s 3 other live albums were all released much later, after the band’s disbandment.
Live at Reading was recorded at Reading Festival in 1992 and was released in 2008. Both Live and Loud and Live at the Paramount made their streaming debut just last year. Live and Loud was recorded in 1993 as part of a pre-recorded MTV New Years Eve program. Originally, the band was to coheadline with Pearl Jam, but Eddie Vedder “had the flu” and Pearl Jam cancelled, letting Nirvana play a longer set. Live at the Paramount was released in 2014 on DVD and Blu-ray. The show took place in 1991, just a few weeks after the release of Nevermind. Originally, the band scheduled to play the Moore Theatre, but the success of the new album and subsequent increase in demand for tickets caused the gig to be moved to the Paramount, a bigger venue.
For a band with so many studio albums (14 as of now), you’d think they’d have multiple live albums… However, U2 only has one live album so far – Under a Blood Red Sky. The album (not to be confused with the band’s concert film Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky) features 8 tracks spanning 3 different performances on the band’s 1983 War Tour. Only 2 of the tracks, “Gloria” and “Party Girl” are from the Red Rocks performance, the show where the cover photo was taken.
More Live Albums
Motörhead – Tons of Live Albums! Start with No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith
X-Ray Spex – Live @ the Roundhouse London
Have a suggestion on what we’re missing? Let us know in the comments below!