With live music currently on hold, what better time to listen back to some classic performances from the vault. In no particular order, here is our list of 20 great live albums that you need to listen to.
In 1994 Nirvana put on the most iconic display of their short but glittering career. The live album spawned the highest first week sales of any of Nirvana’s releases.
Under A Blood Red Sky helped U2 establish themselves as superstars in the US and garnered them huge respect and reverence globally as a live act. The album includes a raucous rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday.
This critically acclaimed album, consisting of two separate performances at California’s Folsom Prison was a seminal moment in Cash’s career and helped to further enhance his fabled legacy.
Widely regarded as one of the best live performers of all time, Freddie Mercury and indeed Queen as a unit were at their mesmerising best at London’s Wembley Stadium in 1986. The album includes performances of all of Queens biggest hits.
Recorded during her headline set at 2017’s Coachella festival, Beyoncé proved once again that she’s one of the most accomplished live acts in music today. The acclaimed album went on to win Outstanding Album NAACP Image Awards.
Appearing in several ‘greatest live albums of all time’ lists, this double album consists of the Irish Rock legends best archival performances from a number of cities around the globe.
To celebrate 40 years on the road, The Dubliners fittingly reunited at Dublin’s iconic Gaiety Theatre, the live performance spawned a double album and an accompanying DVD.
The follow up to The Who’s 1969 album Tommy, Live At Leeds set the bar for live albums and has been described by many as the best live rock album of all time.
Rap royalty was in the building when Jay-Z visited MTV studios in his native New York City. Accompanied by legendary hip hop band The Roots, he performed a slew of his greatest hits and fan favourites.
Recorded on the second night of their sold out shows at London’s Lyceum Theatre in the Summer of 1975, the soulful grittiness of Live! went on to transcend music and includes the definitive live version of No Woman No Cry.
R.E.M could have been anywhere in the world but they chose the historical Olympia Theatre in the heart of Dublin city to play an unprecedented 5 nights of open rehearsals to fans. Performing new unfinished raw cuts and a number of their classic songs from previous albums, footage of the performance was also included in the documentary This Is Not A Show.
Featuring live recordings of songs from Kanye’s critically revered debut and sophomore albums (The College Dropout & Late Registration). This was a truly intimate affair at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London, with a crowd of only 300 invitees in attendance.
An album that truly makes you feel like you’re in the room while the songs were being recorded, Live At Carnegie Hall displays exactly how to masterfully control a crowd and shows why the late, great Bill Withers will forever be held in such high esteem.
Released by rock pioneers KISS in September of 1975, Alive! was seen as a game changer in the music industry and broke new ground for live recordings. Alive! fully captured the bands rambunctious energy and charisma and is seen by some as KISS’ finest album to date.
Rory Gallagher was an artist who wasn’t too fond of recording music in-studio and much preferred to be out there in front of a live audience. This is evident when you listen back to the brilliant live recordings of his Irish tour in January of 1974. Including performances from Dublin’s Carlton Cinema, Cork City Hall and Belfast’s Ulster Hall, Gallagher was commended for visiting the latter during the height of the troubles.
Recorded at La Cigale during the band’s sold out international tour in 2015, Live in Paris includes songs from almost every previous Sleater-Kinney album with each rendition bringing a whole new life and purpose to each song.
Recorded as an album, a film and televised on HBO as part of his Born at the Right Time tour, Paul Simon’s legendary concert that took place in New York’s Central Park was attended by thousands of people and was astonishingly free of charge.
Recorded as part of their Black Holes and Revelations Tour in 2007, Muse became the first band to ever sell out Wembley Stadium and did so two nights in a row, further solidifying themselves as rock juggernauts.
This Grammy nominated album was surprisingly the first official live recording ever released by the German Electronic pioneers but was well worth the wait. Including recordings from performances all around the world, Minimum-Maximum was another milestone moment in the ensembles celebrated career.
With such pristine sound and fantastic tracks performed so wonderfully, the only complaint some have about I Might Be Wrong is that it’s too short. Which tells you all you need to know about the quality of this compact album.
Looking for more great albums ? Check out our list of 10 modern albums that you need to listen to.