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Article 29

Rock On

Top Ten Classic Rock Live albums

(Published in Times of India, Pune on January 19, 2001)


T he numbers game is very important to the entire music industry and nothing sends the artistes and the record executives more into shrieks of rapture than the announcement of a new top ten song. The various music charts from music industry trade magazines form an important database that determine the artiste's and the record industry executive's egos and bank balances. Classic Rock artistes also have to cater to market demands and the hope of a new 'live' album by the hottest Rock band around is a source of great delight to the record industry executive.. It is an excellent opportunity to get 'a best of' album from the artistes and that too with a twist so that the same songs get repeat value and can be bought more than once. To be fair, some of the Rock Bands have incredible live acts and are able to actually create better music live than in the studio. Today, at the end of another year of the new millennium, I would like to present an attempt to get a top ten Classic Rock album list of the finest live music that I have heard over the last 30 years. It's a tough call but what the heck, it's worth a try!

1) The Who - Live At Leeds (1970). This is the finest that I have heard the Who ever sound! The new digitally remastered version features the entire concert with many extra songs that were not featured in the version we heard in the old days. A lot of 'Tommy' is included along with a string of their earlier hits. Also unknown gems covered in vintage 'Who' magic. "The Young Man Blues" blows my mind every time I hear it!

2) Rolling Stones - Get Yer Ya Ya's Out (1970)- No Classic Rock live album list can miss out on the Rolling Stones who are considered to have the greatest live show ever in history. This Madison Square Garden concert featured the new guitarist Mick Taylor for the first time and captured the Stones charisma in all its finery.

3) Deep Purple - Made In Japan (1972). Featuring the "classic" line-up of Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillian, Jon Lord, Roger Glover, and Ian Paice, this album was dubbed by the "Rolling Stone" magazine as the finest live album ever made! Featuring all their hits in reworked versions, the skill and dexterity of Blackmore and Lord are on display along with the showmanship of Gillian and Paice.

4) Eagles - Hell Freezes Over (1994). The comeback of the Eagles or as Glen Frey said, "we were just taking a 20 year break!" this album has been one of the finest recorded live albums ever. Using the latest technology, the unplugged 'Hotel California' is used as a demo for the new 5:1 surround sound mix by all leading Audio equipment manufacturers. This Eagles tour became the event of the decade and the benchmark for high concert tickets! Thankfully it has been recorded for posterity in this incredible package.

4) Eagles - Hell Freezes Over (1994). The comeback of the Eagles or as Glen Frey said, "we were just taking a 20 year break!" this album has been one of the finest recorded live albums ever. Using the latest technology, the unplugged 'Hotel California' is used as a demo for the new 5:1 surround sound mix by all leading Audio equipment manufacturers. This Eagles tour became the event of the decade and the benchmark for high concert tickets! Thankfully it has been recorded for posterity in this incredible package.

5) Grateful Dead - Europe '72 (1972). This legendary California band's European shows were captured on tape and with the help of studio corrections released as a live album to the delight of the millions of 'Deadheads' in this world. This was my introduction to the laid back style of the celebrated Jerry Garcia and company act and is a 'must have' for all fans of this genre.

6) Yes - Yessongs (1973) This English band featured some of the finest progressive Rock music of its time and you could count some of England's finest musicians as its members. Their complicated songs made live renditions truly a difficult task, an effort that my band gladly took on as a challenge. It was indeed a satisfying moment when we could master a Yes song to perfection. Surprisingly, 'Yes' too faced the same criticism and their critics were truly silenced once and for all with the release of this live album. The near perfect renditions of Close to the Edge and Fragile removed all doubts as to their capacity as a rocking live act!

7) Allman Bros. Band - Live At The Fillmore East (1971). This was the ultimate southern blues-rock band of its time and the recordings of these concerts at the historic Rock venue, Fillmore East in New York, were a testimony to the genius of these musicians. Recorded before the untimely deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, this album featured some of the finest dual guitar playing of its kind and will always be remembered by me for that great bluesy jam "Whipping Post".

8) Paul McCartney & Wings - Wings Over America (1976) The Beatles never released a live album and I guess this is the closest that it could have ever been realized! This lies to rest the charge that Paul could not rock without the rest of the Beatles. The live version of "Maybe, I'm amazed" went on to become a Top Ten hit.

9) Supertramp - Paris (1980). Here is a truly classy band recorded at it's very best. And that too in the most romantic city in the world! After the success of 'Breakfast in America', Supertramp were on top of the world and this is considered one of the finest high quality live performances ever recorded

10) Pink Floyd - Is There Anybody Out There? (2000) The 'official' live version of " The Wall " in its entirety, this recording features two tracks that are not included in the original. This 1980-81 recording was released almost 20 years later and included performances taken from different shows on that historic 'The Wall" tour.

I 'm sure I have missed a lot of great albums that should have found their place in a list of this nature. To compile a top ten from a veritable treasure trove of some of the finest music of this genre is a tall order, as I have said at the beginning of this article. I have tried to include albums of legends that are popular even today and also of some who are no longer considered 'fashionable' by the ever-changing tastes of the public. I have also tried to cover the different styles that exist under the broad umbrella of Classic Rock. I'm sure that each of one of you will have your own favorite top ten lists and it would be wonderful if you could mail me and let me know about it. Please keep the passion going and Rock on,,,

Nandu Bhende

http://nandu_bhende.tripod.com


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