Going to live shows is neither easy nor inexpensive nowadays. Between the collective cost of tickets — which is itself oftentimes bank-breaking — transportation, food, potential lodging and souvenirs, and of course planning around work and family schedules, getting out to live shows is not easy for anyone.
Those barriers make the availability of live recordings something critical for audiences everywhere, regardless of genre. To that end, live CDs deserve their own consideration just as much as studio recordings, each year. Keeping that in mind, Phil’s Picks has developed once again a list of the year’s Top 10 new live CDs.
This year has been an interesting one for live CDs. Some notable live CDs were featured as part of bigger bundles (E.G. The Rolling Stones’ San Jose ’99 and Voodoo Lounge ’94 shows) while others, such as Alice Cooper’s A Paranormal Night @ The Olympia Paris and Marty Friedman’s One Bad M.F. Live were standalone offerings.
Some were standout offerings for all of the best reasons. Others had some problems to note. Keeping all of this in mind, this year’s crop of live CDs deserves just as much attention as the vast sea of studio recordings released throughout the year.
Topping this year’s list is yet another live CD from the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment in the form of Charles Mingus’ classic 1975 Montreux Jazz Festival show. This recording presents Mingus at one of his finest moments, and why his live performances were — and still are today — such powerful presentations.
Coming in second in this year’s list is the new Jimi Hendrix live CD, Live at the Hollywood Bowl. This CD was released as part of the bigger Electric Ladyland box set, and stands out so strongly because of its set list, Hendrix and company’s performance and the production values.
Third place in this year’s list of the year’s best new live CDs goes to veteran viking metal outfit Amon Amarth. The 30-song set list spans two nights and quite an expansive portion of the band’s catalog. That set list is directly mirrored on its DVD and BD presentation, and sounds just as good. Though because of the intensity of the show, it is still better appreciated being seen and heard and not just heard. That’s not to say the CD presentation is bad, but audiences will agree that hearing it makes for far more appreciation for the concerts’ DVD and BD presentations.
Also featured in this year’s list of top new live CDs are those noted new offerings from Marty Friedman, Alice Cooper and The Rolling Stones alongside new offerings from Opeth, Devin Townsend and John 5 to name just a few more titles. As always, this critic’s list features 10 of the year’s top new offerings plus five honorable mentions, which follow, for a total count of 15. Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 new Live CDs.
PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW LIVE CDs
- Charles Mingus — Live at Montreux 1975
- Jimi Hendrix — Live at the Hollywood Bowl: Aug. 14, 1968
- Amon Amarth — The Pursuit of Vikings: 25 Years in the Eye of the Storm
- Devin Townsend Project — Ocean Machine: Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv
- Opeth — Garden of the Titans: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
- The Rolling Stones — No Security; San Jose ’99
- The Rolling Stones — Voodoo Lounge Uncut
- John Mclaughlin & The 4th Dimension and Jimmy Herring & The Invisible Whip — Live in San Francisco
- Marty Friedman — One Bad M.F. Live
- Accept — Symphonic Terror: Live at Wacken 2017
- Alice Cooper — A Paranormal Night at The Olympia Paris
- Fates Warning — Live Over Europe
- Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow — Memories in Rock II
- John 5 and The Creatures — It’s Alive
- Overkill — Live in Overhausen