As the introduction to Rolling Stone’s 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time says, it’s impossible to capture the frenzy (and I would add joy) of a great live show on record. But as the list shows, there have been some awesome live recordings.
Confession: in general, I have always preferred studio albums, because the sound quality is better, there’s less self-indulgence from the band, and the mistakes land on the cutting room floor. But I still enjoy a good performance, and I love going to concerts.
The list has something to satisfy just about every musical taste, and it includes some career-establishing performances. But for me, its main virtue is that it serves as a healthy reminder that music is meant to be enjoyed live.