Thursday, 19 September 2013

10 Great Live Versions Of Already Great Songs

Is there anything better than experiencing a song in it's truest most stripped-down form? The live show, when thought about, could seem like a silly expendinture. Going to SEE a band perform music that is intended for listening? As my fellow music lovers can attest to however, seeing one of your favourite songs blasted out right in front of you is the peak of musical nirvana. It would be nice to do a list of great live show experiences, but how would I share it with all of you? So i'll go with ten great performances of great songs, that were thankfully caught on tape...the audio kind or the video kind. 10 Great Live Versions Of Already Great Songs

1. "Run Like Hell" - Pink Floyd (The Wall Live, 1981)

Pink Floyd's The Wall is always included in discussions about the greatest albums of all time. It is perhaps the most famous concept album of all time and definitely Floyd's most well known effort. In 1981 (great year by the way) they performed the album in it's entirety. Now any Pink Floyd fan would know that the boys wouldn't simply be satisfied with just performing the music, this particular show featured visual and stage theatrics based on the album's continuous narrative. Thankfully it was all recorded and in 2000 the live double album Is Anybody Out There? was released. It was a great gift to a Pink Floyd fan like myself who was too young to enjoy this marvelous band at their peak. I fell of all the songs "Run Like Hell" got the best treatment on this album.

2. "Wolf Like Me" - TV On The Radio (David Letterman, 2006)

Brooklyn's TV On The Radio has yet to really crack the mainstream, but i'm sure if you ask them that's just fine. They've already earned respect among music critics and rabid fans alike. This performance of an already energetic song exemplifies that they're not only gifted musicians but genuinely love the music they perform. I feel like this performance alone made Letterman a fan of the band. Check out his reaction at the end.

3. "Surrender" - Cheap Trick (Live At Budokan, 1978)

 It's funny when a greatest hits record or live album is a band's most successful release for a band. That's exactly what happened to Cheap Trick in 1978 when they released a live album of 2 shows performed in Japan. For some reason Japanese music lovers were nuts about Cheap Trick and they let it known as the crowd's screams get so loud on some tracks it drowns out the band. Probably best known for "I Want You To Want Me" I became a fan of this group after I heard this album's version of "Surrender".

4. "Apollo I: The Writing Writer" - Coheed & Cambria (Neverender: Night 3, 2008)

Coheed & Cambria are notorious for their live shows. Full of energy, packing each playlist to the brim with crowd pleasers and standing to shoulder to shoulder with fellow fans in what has come to be known as "praise pools". In 2008 Co&Ca announced they'd be playing their 4 studio albums start to finish in a series of live shows known as Neverender with each album getting it's own night to shine. There are almost too many songs to pick from this catalog and this performance. "Apollo I" has always held a soft spot in my heart and for that reason it gets the nod here.

5. "All Apologies" - Nirvana (MTV Unplugged, 1994)

One of my favourite Nirvana songs. Here's my thoughts on the Unplugged album. Those who were in attendance i'm sure were a little let down at the time. They paid to see Nirvana live and while yes they got a very intimate performance of the band 6 of the 14 songs performed were covers and the most popular Nirvana song performed was "Come As You Are". "All Apologies" wasn't a hit until after this album was released. I'm sure if I ask those same people now how they feel about experiencing it live and I guarantee they say that they wouldn't have traded it for the world.

6. "Fuckin' Up" - Neil Young (unknown)

 For a long time this was the only version of this song that I knew. And looking back it's still my favourite. I don't know where it was recorded or when, but you can tell it's live. Listen around the 2:24 mark when Neil Says "Hey, wait a minute" the guy operating the recording equipment chuckles. Good little moment there.

7. "We Laugh At Danger And Break All The Rules" - Against Me! (unknown)

Again the when/where of this version is unknown to me and I would never of even heard it if it wasn't for Youtube. In all honesty this could be any Against Me! concert in any city. The crowds are very often louder than the band and everybody is there to enjoy the music. This song does feature some of Against Me's most sing-a-long-able lyrics. Enjoy!

8. "Live Forever" - Oasis (Late Show, circa 1996?)

I say Oasis but it's actually just Noel with an acoustic guitar belting this one out. I really prefer his version of the song. I'm not sure what show this is off or even what year, but it's likely a British talk show around the mid 90's. Maybe he was the sole guest or maybe Liam stormed off again. No matter Noel here nailed it.

9. "Runaway" - Jamiroquai (Abbey Road Sessions, 2006)

Daaamnnnn check out that bass! I know this isn't exactly a raw live performance as there is some sound engineering and production here, but the performances they recorded were all live and done in one take. Jamiroquai is really one of those bands that you can't describe. You can't compare to them to anyone else. Very unique....hmmm that gives me an idea about another list.

10. "For Whom The Bell Tolls" - Metallica (Day At The Green, 1985)

Definitely saved this one for last on purpose. It is well documented that Metallica are my favourite band but a small piece of me is dead because of the fact I will never get to witness them live in their original form. In 1986 Cliff Burton, the original bass player, was killed in a bus crash. This video really highlights his abilities and justifies many claims that he was the best metal bass player to grace the stage. Keep in mind this was before Metallica really exploded. After this they would embark on a European tour to open for Ozzy Osbourne and literally stole the show. It was during that tour that Metallica would lose Cliff Burton. Take a few minutes and enjoy his beauty.


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