6 of the Best Live Albums

*Written and produced for AUX

Those that were there remember, but for everyone else, the albums that followed are all we have to soak up what actually happened that night. From an all out riot atmosphere to a funeral, to a band in its prime playing in their hometown to one of the most notorious biblical references in music history, concerts make time seem to stand still. In that moment it’s just you, the band playing in front of you or through your headphones and the crowd you so desperately wish you were apart of. Here is a list of gigs we laud and are thankful took place.

The Ramones – Palladium, New York City, 1978

This gig happened only seven days after the concert in London that was captured for the It’s Alive album. Although the set list is exactly the same as the show in England, this performance is a little more edgy and raw. After all, the band was playing in their hometown.

Bob Dylan – Free Trade Hall, Manchester, 1966

Labeled incorrectly and released as being at the Royal Albert Hall in London, this performance took place in Manchester, however everything else that happened is true. Dylan played alone to a dead silent audience and was jeered, booed and called “Judas” when playing with his backing group for the second half of the show. He replied with, “play it fucking loud.”

Nirvana – Sony Music Studios, New York City, 1993

Surrounded by Lilies, candles and an overall funeral atmosphere, the band, accompanied by guitarist Pat Smear and cellist Lori Goldston, played a set of lesser known songs and covers. Guests the Meat Puppets also joined the band on stage for covers of their own songs. Other artists covered included The Vaselines and David Bowie. An emotional performance capped off with Kurt howling on the traditional American folk song “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”

Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison, Folsom, 1968

Cash played two shows at Folsom and the album that came out of it contained 15 songs from the first set and two from the second. Cash opened both shows with “Folsom Prison Blues” to thunderous applause and shouts from the chain gang.

The Band – Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, 1976

Joined by more than a dozens guests including Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Ringo Starr, Paul Butterfield and Muddy Waters, the performance was filmed by Martin Scorsese and made into a documentary. Since it was thanksgiving, the audience of approximately 5000 was served turkey dinners and treated to ballroom dancing before The Band even came onstage.

MC5 – Grande Ballroom, Detroit, 1968

A performance that shook things up with their record company Elektra and led to the album being pulled from department stores, the MC5 performed on Devil’s Night and Halloween in 1968. Gripping, energetic and in your face, ‘kick out the jams motherfucker’ says it all.

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