October 16, 2008
While there is something to be said for the perfection of an album cut, there is nothing quite like the raw emotional power of the live song: the catch in the artist’s voice, the audience singing along, and the energy of the night coalescing into a captivating record.
Artists take different approaches when recording live albums. Some of them are serious albums recorded on the road, memorializing a particular concert or tour. Others are a random collection of live songs from various venues; while some may just be an acoustic EP from a day in the studio.
Few live albums sell in the same range as an artist’s studio albums, but arguably they are a better measure of the artistic mettle of the singer/band, and when they work, they manage to capture special moments in time.
Some of the live albums I own are my favorites, even exceeding studio versions of the same thing. However, I’m currently on the look-out for a live song that I do not own (and cannot find…read: help diehard fans!). Recently, I have caught my local radio station playing a live concert version of Keith Urban’s “But For the Grace of God.” I’ve never been a huge Keith Urban fan, but this version of the song stops me every single time, and I want to listen to it over and over again. It perfectly captures the beauty and thrill of attending a concert with thousands of dedicated fans who know every single lyric; and for whom all of the lyrics mean something special.
What are your favorite live album cuts? Any can’t miss recommendations for the rest of us?