Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Live Albums

There is a blog site I follow called Thunder Bay Arena Rock, run by the well informed hard rock and metal guru known as Deke.

Just recently, Deke had a list of his Top 10 live albums ever, with the rule being only one release is allowed from each artist.

You can read Deke’s post here.

And in the comments I mentioned a few releases that I would include in a list and suddenly I had a list ready in my mind.

So thanks to Deke for getting this list out of me.

Iron Maiden – Live After Death

It was my first exposure to Maiden and I became a fan for life. And the set list is a “best of” selection from the first five albums.

Ozzy Osbourne – Randy Rhoads Tribute

How Randy Rhoads crafted his triple tracked guitars from the albums into a single cohesive live track is worthy of a listen.

And the tempo is upped just a notch, which makes each track blistering.

Add to that a few Black Sabbath songs and the best version of “Children Of The Grave” I have heard, makes this album a keeper. Plus when I was learning how to play guitar, this album was my bible.

Evergrey – A Night To Remember

From Sweden.

I love their melancholic, depressing and yet hopeful style of themes.

On occasions their music borders between progressive metal, heavy metal and hard rock.

There is even a Maiden “Live After Death” reference here, when Tom Englund gets the crowd involved for the song “The Masterplan” the same way Bruce Dickinson gets the crowd involved for “Running Free”.

Bruce Springstreen Live 1975-85

It was my first box set.

So much music and unbelievable live performances. No wonder Springsteen is called “The Boss”.

Even when I typed “Boss” in my Spotify search, Bruce Springsteen came up, however I was actually looking for the Aussie hard rock band called “Boss”.

Dream Theater – Live At Budokan

John Petrucci’s solo on “Hollow Years”.

You know how guitarists have a guitar solo spotlight during a concert with just them and no music. Well on this occasion, Petrucci’s solo is part of an extended solo in the song.

And its brilliant.

Dokken – Beast From The East

As a George Lynch fan, this has to be included and the band overall are in top form, regardless of their love and hate towards each other.

John Sykes – Bad Boy Live

He released two live albums.

One under Blue Murder called “Screaming Blue Murder” in 1994 to fulfill his Geffen contract and “Bad Boy Live” in 2004 under a Japanese label. While the Blue Murder live release focused more on his Blue Murder songs, “Bad Boy Live” is a career best of.

He kicks the show off with “Bad Boys” from the mega selling Whitesnake 1987 album. The second song is the excellent “We All Fall Down” from the second Blue Murder album “Nothin But Trouble”. Then its “Cold Sweat” from the last Thin Lizzy album, “Thunder and Lightning”.

So far, it’s a blistering set.

Sykes is back to the 1987 Whitesnake album and his take on “Crying in the Rain”. “Jelly Roll” from the debut Blue Murder album is next and “Is This Love?” from the 87 Whitesnake album makes it a perfect set so far.

Next up are a few tracks from his solo career, in “Look in His Eyes” from the very underrated “20th Century” album released in 1998, the punk rock pop of “I Don’t Wanna Live My Life Like You” from the self-titled solo debut in 1995 and his first ever solo single,   “Please Don’t Leave Me”, released in the early 80’s.

To round out the set, there is an 8 minute version of “Still of the Night” and a blistering version of “Thunder and Lightning”.

And tying it all together is the band.

John Sykes does all the vocals and guitar, Marco Mendoza is on bass and backing vocals, Tommy Aldridge is on drums and Derek Sherinian is on keyboards and backing vocals.

Twisted Sister – Live At San Bernardino 1984

It was released as part of the “Stay Hungry” album and I watched this VHS tape every day.

Dee Snider as a front man rules the stage.

His banter between songs and how people can’t even look at the camera man is hilarious, bordering on SNL comedy.

Plus the band is in top form, delivering the goods.

Alice Cooper – Trashes The World

I don’t think it was ever released as a CD, but it did come out on VHS and I was all in.

Plus I got to experience all the classic Cooper cuts with a modern sound.

And his backing band is top notch, with Al Pitrelli and Pete Freisin on guitars, Tommy Caradonna on bass and Jonathan Mover on drums, with Derek Sherinian on keys.

Yngwie Malmsteen – Trial By Fire – Live In Leningrad

This concert sums up Malmsteen’s prime, with Joe Lynn Turner as his vocalist.

If Jeff Scott Soto stayed around, it would have been his name mentioned as well.

Anything else that came after for Malmsteen couldn’t repeat the success of the Odyssey album and tour.

Kiss – Alive III

I have a mate who is a mad Kiss fan, and he reckons it’s sacrilege that I can even think “Alive III” is better than the previous “Alive” releases.

Well to me, it is, because of the set list.

I like those 80’s songs more than some of the 70’s songs that appeared on the first two “Alive” albums.

Give me, “Creatures Of The Night”, “Unholy”, “Heavens On Fire”, “Lick It Up”, “I Still Love You” and “I Love It Loud” any day.

If they added “War Machine” and “Exciter” to the list, I wouldn’t have complained.

Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More For the Road

It was my first exposure to Lynyrd Skynrd and the 13 minute version of “Free Bird” was enough to get me hooked.

Plus there are so many other good songs like “Searchin”, “Tuesdays Gone”, “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Saturday Night Special”

Metallica – Live Shit: Binge And Purge

This one cemented to me how good James Hetfield is as a front man. He has the crowd in the grasp of his hand and commands them to get crazy and they respond.

Vote James for President.

And all the songs are sped up, the energy is intense and the set is blistering.

Well that’s it folks.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Live After Death

It’s the best live album out there.

It’s also my first exposure to Iron Maiden and a pretty good reason why I didn’t feel the need to buy the first four albums until very much later on.

At the time I didn’t know, but the tempo of the songs is just a bit quicker on the live album compared to the recorded versions and the tempo of the live versions is basically how I’ve grown to know the songs. If you don’t believe me, compare the two “Hallowed Be Thy Name” versions.

And I heard Bruce Dickinson sing the DiAnno era songs first, and because of this I can’t get into the DiAnno versions. I still play the DiAnno Maiden records but I guess Bruce has my heart.

It’s also the reason why I purchased a ticket for each of the two Sydney shows on the “Somewhere Back In Time” tour of 2008.

I also got it on cassette and it was my first cassette that had a multiple fold out sleeve in the layout. Plus Derek Riggs delivered another masterclass cover design. I drawed that cover quite a few times.

Vinyl was also hard to get because it was people’s first preference when it came to buying recorded music. And my town only got a small amount of vinyl. You had to travel to Sydney via a 90 minute train trip one way and maybe even then, the record store wouldn’t have it. It’s a risk us music lovers would take.

It was exciting to read the cities they played in the cassette fold out sleeve. And I was bummed to see that they played Shellharbour Workers which is 15 minutes away from where I lived.

I never went because I didn’t know about the show (yeah I know, how could have that happened, but it did). Many years later and I swear it was purely subconscious, I had my wedding reception at the venue and years after that I had my kids christenings at the same venue. I didn’t think about it at the time however it was pointed out to me recently that I’ve had most of my functions at the venue Maiden played on the “Live After Death” tour.

And the venue is more like a theatre so Maiden would have had a cut down version of the stage show.

As far as live albums go, we (the fans) hold it in high regard with the vinyl and video formats receiving certifications all around the world.

Scream for me Long Beach…

P.S.

Kiss “Alive II” was also released on October 14, in 1977. Both pretty influential albums.

P.S.S

Maiden did find gold again with the “Rock In Rio” release. Especially the DVD. And on this album, Bruce brought to life songs from the Blaze fronted era.

P.S.S.S

I also purchased the DVD for “Flight 666” which I rank as Maiden’s third best live album and a great memento for the two nights I watched em perform the same set.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music

Live Albums

Live albums are coming out thick and fast these days. People tell me it’s because bands need to get product out on a regular basis because there is not much money made from recorded music sales. So getting new product out yearly instead of every two to three years is the new option. But it still doesn’t solve the problem of people not buying albums.

My answer always is, there never was much money made from recorded music sales.

The difference between the glory years of recorded music sales and now, is the ADVANCE. Once upon a time, the labels paid it, and now not so much.

Yes, that sweet million a band would get before the recording process even started. You see, the ADVANCE would be used to fund the demos (studio time), recording (Producer, Studio Time, Engineer, Mixer, Mastering), their lifestyles (rent, mortgage payments, addictions) and all other expenses like manager, lawyer and whoever else makes a claim.

The ADVANCE would be given on the basis that the record label would recoup those monies from the sales of the album. However, the fine print is the recouping monies would come from the bands 2% royalty percentage payments.

So if a band moves a million CD’s at $10 a CD, the gross income earned by the label is $10 million. However, the bands royalty percentage is taken from the Net income. So the label adds CD manufacturing, transportation, marketing, pizza deliveries, carpet cleaning, hairdresser bills and whatever else they could think off, in order to reduce gross to the final net income.

Let’s be generous and say the net income is $1 million.

And the band gets 2% of that. Which is $20,000. And from that $20K, the manager gets their 30%, the Producer the band wanted and the label agreed to, as long as the payment comes from the bands percentage gets 20%, the lawyer another 20%, which leaves 30% for the band.

It comes to $6,000. And from that $6K, the band needs to repay the $1 million advance. For the band to repay that advance, they would need to sell a lot of recorded albums, otherwise they would be listed as un-recouped by the label.

Not bad for the label. Invest a million and make 9 million profits. Of course, this is contingent that the band moves product. In other cases, it will be a bad loss for the label.

Don Dokken’s “Up From The Ashes” was a big loss for Geffen commercially, while Whitesnake’s “87” and Guns N Roses “Appetite For Destruction” was a big win. Lynch Mob’s “Wicked Sensation” cost Elektra a lot of money with all the advances paid to get Lynch to sign and it didn’t do great  commercially as the label wanted, while “Dr Feelgood” and the soon to be released “Black” album from Metallica would be a great win.

“Crazy World” from Scorpions and “Heartbreak Station” from Cinderella got Mercury/Vertigo what they wanted, while others disappointed. White Lion’s “Mane Attraction” cost Atlantic a cool million and it disappointed commercially, while “Pride” was done cheap and it was a win.

Everyone knows about the Motley Crue period with John Corabi. Nikki Sixx has developed amnesia to it, Tommy Lee doesn’t talk about it, Vince Neil wasn’t involved with it, so for him it doesn’t exist and the only two people who talk about it are John Corabi and Mick Mars. The album cost a lot.

Musically, it’s one hell of an album. Mick Mars has gone on record to say the album has some of his best guitar work, and god damn it, the man is right. So it’s good to see the vocalist behind it, paying tribute to it.

John Corabi does a fantastic job giving his Motley Crue recorded output some overdue respect in “Live 94 (One Night In Nashville)”. And to be honest, songs that I thought were overproduced on the guitar side, sound massive, heavy and melodic live. It’s all raw, no crap rock and roll.

There are mistakes, there are voices hitting the pavement, but it’s totally worth it. “Power To The Music”, “Hooligan’s Holiday”, “Hammered” (love the story about the Crue audition and how this song came to be), “Till Death Do Us Part”, “Smoke The Sky” and “Droppin Like Flies” are still my favourites.

And I have a new found respect for “Poison Apples”. I always thought the original version was too over-produced, and after hearing it live, the song is a deadest killer. “Welcome To The Numb” live could have come from an Aerosmith album.

This is what music has always been about. Getting out on the road and doing it sweaty.

Whitesnake is a band which keeps firing out live recordings year after year. “Made In Japan”, “Made In England”, “Bad To The Bone 84”, “Castle Donnington 90”, “Live In The Heart Of The City” and “The Purple Tour” have been released as stand-alone albums over the last 10 years.

Of course with each album release there is a chance to cash in via the pockets of the super fans who pay for everything their heroes produce. David Coverdale knows it.

But “The Purple Album” is good. Really good. I reckon it’s because Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra are a perfect fit for the band. Veterans of the scene, they know how to deliver the goods. If you don’t believe me, check out Reb Beach’s solo on “Mistreated”. He burns and the song sounds so fresh and modern, but it was released in 1974 or 5.

There has been a lot of talk on social media about the upcoming Whitesnake release and how songs are being written by Coverdale and Beach, Coverdale and Hoekstra and with all three of the guys contributing  together.

With the talent there, it should make for an interesting listen.

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