Friday, February 28, 2014

Live Concert CDs

Every so often, a band or artist's performance in a live show goes down in history. We can't all be there but we can own the live concert CD of the event. Not many western performers played in Japan in 1978 but Bob Dylan at the Budokan was a commercial and critical success. The recording has good sound quality and Dylan concentrates on his classic songs, such as Mr. Tambourine, Don't Think Twice, It's Alright, Like a Rolling Stone, and All Along the Watchtower. There are 23 tracks in total on the double album. Dylan's band and female backing vocalists are top notch. The venue has presented many live performances over the years, including the Beatles, Pearl Jam, Abba, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton but its main use is as a martial arts stadium.

In the 1960s, a ticket for a Beatles concert was like gold dust. They were very impressive live, if they could be heard over the screaming! The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl live concert CD and vinyl took songs from two performances from the LA venue. The first was from August 1964, and the second was from August of the following year. The record was not released until 1977 because it was felt that the sound quality was not good enough. This was until the Beatles' record producer, George Martin, worked on the master tapes and improved the sound. The hard work and the wait paid off as the album reached Number 1 in the UK and Number 2 in the United States on the album charts. The live concert CD contains several major hits, such as Can't Buy Me Love, A Hard Day's Night, and She Loves You. There is also a reminder of the group's Rock 'n' Roll roots with their covers of Long Tall Sally and Twist and Shout.

One of the most famous live albums of all time is The Who Live at Leeds, from their appearance at the University of Leeds in 1970. The New York Times called it " the best live rock album ever made." It always features high on any best album list and it is also often named as the loudest ever! There is a Blue Plaque on the University building where the gig took place, denoting its official distinction as an historic landmark. The 1970 vinyl was digitally remastered as a live concert CD in 1995 with I'm a Boy, Summertime Blues, and I Can't Explain added as new tracks. A Deluxe Edition was released in 2001 with almost all of the songs from rock opera, Tommy. Original tracks from 1970 include the Who's hits, My Generation, Magic Bus and Substitute.

The Apollo Theatre in Harlem has been the venue for many legendary performers, particularly for soul singers. James Brown Live at the Apollo was recorded in 1962 and was placed at Number 24 in Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of all Time list. The record was 66 weeks in the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, reaching number 2. With backing vocals by The Famous Flames, Brown sings from his classic songbook, including I'll Go Crazy, Try Me, Lost Someone and Think. The live concert CD version came out in 1990 and a Deluxe Edition with bonus tracks came out in 2004.

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