Concert Classics Retrospective

by Jason Warburg


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Once upon a time, the live album ruled -- the time being the 1970s.  Oh sure, there had been a few successful live albums before that, notably the Beach Boys’ Beach Boys Concert, which went to #1 in 1964 – but the real heyday of the live album was the 70s, when both global superstar bands like The Who and the Rolling Stones and next-tier acts like Bob Seger and AC/DC issued live albums that captured not just the music but the full character and commitment of the artist.

In the 80s, 90s and beyond the live album’s star has faded a bit, but MTV’s unplugged series and acts like Pearl Jam and the Dave Matthews band have helped to keep it alive.  Even in the age of pristine digital studio recording, there is a place for the raw energy and in-your-face immediacy of an album that captures your favorite act working without a net in front of a live audience of fans.

And so the Daily Vault’s November 2008 retrospective will focus not on a single artist but on the theme of Concert Classics, those historic live albums that capture not just a set of songs or a complete concert, but a distinct moment in an artist’s career.

While the entire decade of the 1970s was kind to the live album, the veritable “big one” hit in 1976 when theretofore relatively unknown British singer-songwriter Peter Frampton, late of Humble Pie, hit the platinum jackpot with his #1 album Frampton Comes Alive, an album that thoroughly changed his life and career.  Other great live albums followed from artists as diverse as Simon & Garfunkel and the Clash, Neil Young and Talking Heads.

This November the Daily Vault celebrates the live album with 30 reviews in 30 days of artists ranging from the Allman Brothers to Green Day to Johnny Cash to Marvin Gaye in a retrospective that begins Saturday, November 1 and runs every day through Sunday, November 30. Many of these reviews will be appearing on the Vault for the first time.

Founded in January 1997, the Daily Vault has featured more than 5,700 reviews of more than 2,700 artists from all across the musical spectrum, written by a volunteer staff from around the world. Previous Artist Of The Month retrospectives have spotlighted the work of artists from Tori Amos to Frank Zappa, including the Beatles, David Bowie, Garth Brooks, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Metallica, Pearl Jam and many others. Themed retrospectives have included punk, hip-hop, classic soul, classic jazz, Broadway musicals and Christian Contemporary Music.

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