We have talked many, many times in these pages about my love for live music and my obsession with recordings of concerts. I'll allow you to go back to those pages if you like and catch up instead of treading the same water again here. What I will say is that its a darn fine week to be a fan of officially released live recordings.
In 1974 Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young lit out for 30 gigs in American arenas and stadiums then jumped over to London for one show at Wembley Stadium. Each night they played up to 30 songs for around four hours. It was an ambitious and legendary tour. For the tours 40th anniversary the band has put together a nice boxed set of some of the best performances from those shows.
Nine of the nights were recorded on multi-track tapes and thats where the bulk of these songs come from. Graham Nash and Joel Bernstein produced the thing taking what they considered the best performances of each song (including some very rare, hardly ever performed track from Neil Young) and put it together like one long concert.
It comes in a variety of formats including a 3 CD/DVD set, a Pure Audio Blu-ray and a 16-track single CD. The biggest set includes a 188-page booklet and there is a limited edition set of 1,000 copies featuring a coffee table-sized book and six 180-gram vinyl records.
That's a lot of awesome right there and of course it is my Pick of the Week.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Performs Trouble No More Live at Town Hall - John Mellencamp: In 2003 Mellencamp performed his then brand new record Trouble No More in front of an intimate audience in New York. That album was a critically acclaimed collection of old blues classics and folk masterpieces.
Live in Nashville - Steve Earle: Earle is the real deal - a folk singer with a rock and roll heart, a songwriter who has lived it all and learned how to make great music of it. I've got a couple of bootlegs by him and his performances are always top shelf.
Genesis Revisited: Live at the Royal Albert Hall - Steve Hackett: Before Genesis became a silly pop band they were arty prog rock masters. Steve Hacket was a big part of that sound and he's periodically revisited those old compositions in a live setting. Recently he launched a very successful tour playing those old songs with a new band. This is obviously a recording of one of those shows at the Royal Albert Hall. Interestingly he released a very similar recording of an earlier night at the Hammersmith Odeon just a few months back. That one has more disks and presumably a better value, so I'm guessing this ones only for die hards.
Live in Sweden 1971 - Iron Butterfly: I can't think of these early hard rock pioneers without thinking of that Simpsons episode where Bart slips In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida into the church song list.
Live Evolution - 13th Floor Elevators: I know very little about these guys but its another live album for this week and thats worth mentioning.
You Asked For It... Live - Rick Estrin & The Nightcats: Another live album for our list, this one from one of the baddest harmonica players in the land. Rick Estrin is one of those rare virtuosos who can dazzle both with parlor tricks and technique as well as grit and feel. As the title implies, they have finally provided their audience with a document of their live show.
Cover Version - Steven Wilson: From 2003-2010 multi talented Wilson has released limited edition singles featuring interesting covers of songs by artists like Prince, Alanis Morrisette, and The Cure. This albums pulls all of those songs, plus a few new originals into one whole.
Late For the Sky (Remastered 40th Anniversary Edition) - Jackson Browne: To celebrate the anniversary they've remastered this classic. Unfortunately there aren't any other bonuses.
Bridges - Mary Sarah: I got no idea who this girl is but she talked folks like Dolly parton, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Vince Gill and others to sing with her on this album and that's got me interested.
Dharma Blues - Peter Rowan: Master folkies newest album includes appearances by Jack Casady and Gillian Welch.