I'm no one to judge the "best of" anything...I just know what I like, and I've always been a fan of "live" albums...The reason for the list?...an ad I saw on Facebook. This band claimed they recorded the best live album ever...More on that later.
Of course, over the years, the line has been blurred as to what exactly constitutes a "live" album, since most of them are "sweetened up" in the studio with bunches of overdubs. And this list only includes "official" releases...and my "favorite 5," because as I said previously...I'm no judge.
#5: Joe Jackson-Live 1980/86- It might be because I saw the "rehearsal" show for this recording. It was great...I get a call from a club owner, Joe Jackson, who was red-hot at the time, is going to play a show at Baystreet in Sag Harbor, NY, but we can't announce his name...We can only run commercials with the date of the show, the location, and Joe's music...Needless to say the show was packed. Joe was brilliant, and the album has always been a favorite.
#4: Renaissance-Live at Carnegie Hall- Yeah....I'm a big Prog Rock guy...Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, love 'em all. No one cared about Renaissance outside of the Northeast, but Annie Haslam had one of the purest singing voices in Rock history, and the band was pretty impressive instrumentally. This album features all their early material, in all it's somewhat self-indulgent glory, but if you want to hear a vocalist tear the house down at Carnegie Hall, listen to "Ashes Are Burning" from this album. It will bring you to tears.
(Photo by Pinterest)
#3: Queen-Live at Wembley- There's a lot of Live Queen material out there. Some of it awful (Live Killers) and some of it amazing (Live at Wembley.) Queen at the top of their game, and no one could touch 'em.
#2: Ramones-It's Alive-Good Lord. The energy it must have taken to perform this show. The Ramones, New Years Eve, 1977 in front of a drunken, rabid crowd in London at the height of the punk movement. It's an album that will make you believe in the power of Rock n' Roll.
#1: The Who-Live At Leeds -Speaking of which. If you don't own this album, we can't be friends...seriously...Let's remember...one guitar...one bass....one drummer...one vocalist making all this glorious racket. It's raw...it's imperfect...yet it's perfect too.
Extra bonus if you own the original expanded edition with all the merch inside. I didn't get to see The Who until a few years later. Thank God they archived this show. Oh, by the way...this is the band that had the Facebook ad for "Best Live Album Of All Time"...NO HYPE THERE...THE WHO DELIVERED!!
Honorable Mention: The Rolling Stones-Get Yer Ya Ya's Out