As the music industry sees a resurgence in rock and pop tours following the pandemic, live albums are reclaiming the spotlight.
Our music critic, Adrian Thrills, meticulously handpicks the cream of the crop.
Here’s a closer look at the best of the bunch in the evolving musical landscape.
The Rolling Stones: Hackney Diamonds Live Edition (Polydor)
The Rolling Stones’ “Hackney Diamonds Live Edition” emerges as a standout, featuring the band’s first set of new songs in 18 years.
Topping the UK charts, this release, available as a double CD, captures the Stones in their element, blending original studio tracks with a vibrant seven-song live performance recorded in a New York club.
The live rendition of new tracks, especially Lady Gaga’s contribution to “Sweet Sounds Of Heaven,” promises an electrifying experience for Mick Jagger and company’s upcoming tour.
Adrian Thrills underscores the Stones’ enduring vitality, emphasizing the dynamism brought by the live renditions of both classic hits and newer compositions.
The anticipation for their upcoming tour is palpable, fueled by the energy showcased in “Hackney Diamonds Live Edition.”
Cat Power: Cat Power Sings Dylan (Domino)
Chan Marshall, known as Cat Power, exhibits her prowess as an interpreter with “Cat Power Sings Dylan.”
This double CD and vinyl LP release captures her unique take on Bob Dylan’s iconic 1966 Manchester concert.
Marshall delicately balances the acoustic and electrified segments, navigating Dylan’s melodies with reverence.
While tentative on acoustic tracks, she finds confidence alongside a five-piece band, creating a memorable musical experience.
Thrills commends Cat Power’s ability to maintain her distinctive style while paying homage to Bob Dylan’s live legacy.
The live album reflects Marshall’s growth and courage in tackling Dylan’s acclaimed concert, blending vulnerability with moments of electrifying intensity.
Bryan Adams: Live At The Royal Albert Hall (BMG)
Bryan Adams, often criticized for radio-friendly rock, delivers a triumphant night with “Live At The Royal Albert Hall.”
This comprehensive package, available as a 3-CD plus Blu-ray and 4-LP plus Blu-ray, showcases Adams’ three-date residency in London.
The artist’s post-pandemic euphoria resonates as he performs entire albums each night, infusing fresh energy into hits like “Cuts Like A Knife” and “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.”
Thrills dismisses preconceptions about Adams’ music, highlighting the joyous atmosphere of his Royal Albert Hall residency.
The artist’s diverse setlists and passionate performances demonstrate the enduring appeal of his music, captivating audiences with a sense of post-pandemic celebration.
Fleetwood Mac: Rumours Live (Warner)
The release of “Rumours Live” by Fleetwood Mac provides a glimpse into a 1977 performance, showcasing the band’s iconic album in a live setting.
Recorded after the turbulent creation of “Rumours,” the live versions offer a wilder, more unrestrained take on classics like “Rhiannon” and “Dreams,” proving the enduring power of these songs over 46 years.
Thrills delves into the historical context of Fleetwood Mac’s decision not to document “Rumours” live in 1977, highlighting the intensified emotions and extended musical explorations in this retrospective release.
The live renditions add a layer of intensity to timeless tracks, inviting both nostalgia and newfound appreciation.
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis: Australian Carnage (Goliath)
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis present “Australian Carnage,” a live album capturing their triumphant performance at the Sydney Opera House.
Juxtaposing unsettling and uplifting moments, the album features a lineup including Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood and U2’s Larry Mullen.
Cave’s humor and the inclusion of the pandemic-inspired song “Balcony Man” contribute to a unique musical journey.
Thrills emphasizes the range of emotions in “Australian Carnage,” praising Nick Cave’s engaging banter and the standout track “Balcony Man.”
The live setting, enriched by collaborations, creates a memorable homecoming experience, offering a unique perspective on Cave and Ellis’ musical prowess.
Raye: My 21st Century Symphony (Human Re Sources)
Raye, also known as Rachel Keen, concludes her breakthrough year with “My 21st Century Symphony,” a live album recorded during her Royal Albert Hall headline show.
Blending her debut album, “My 21st Century Blues,” with bold new arrangements, Raye’s live performance, available for download and streaming, resonates emotionally, hinting at potential BRITs recognition in 2024.
Thrills acknowledges Raye’s impactful live performance at the Royal Albert Hall, noting the emotional resonance despite some orchestral interludes.
The artist’s potential for future recognition reflects the culmination of a successful year and sets the stage for continued growth in the industry.
Puccini, Rachmaninov, Mahler Tully Potter delves into classical offerings, highlighting noteworthy recordings of Puccini’s “Turandot,” Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos, and Mahler’s Symphony No.2.
The reviews touch upon the restoration of Puccini’s original ending, Daniil Trifonov’s exceptional understanding of Rachmaninov, and the triumph of Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic in Mahler’s Second Symphony.
The classical section, curated by Tully Potter, adds depth to the musical exploration, providing insights into the nuances of each recording.
From Puccini’s poignant opera to Trifonov’s masterful performances and Bychkov’s orchestral triumph, the classical treats offer a diverse and enriching listening experience.
Adrian Thrills and Tully Potter collectively present a comprehensive overview of the diverse and vibrant music scene, ranging from rock and pop to classical treasures.
As live albums make a notable comeback, these selections promise an engaging musical journey for listeners seeking both familiarity and exploration.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn