One of the paradoxes of such a supposedly spontaneous art form as rock & roll is that it has produced no great live albums. And even very few good ones. It doesn't make sense, but it's true. For example, if you accept the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Who, Bob Dylan and Rod Stewart as artists who are at least representative of this music's best, you won't find any of them definitively defined by Got LIVE If You Want It!, Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!, The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl. Live at Leeds, Before the Flood, Hard Rain or Coast to... Read More
Coast. Overture and Beginners. Granted that I'd hate to be without many of those LPs, I really wouldn't think twice about trading in the whole lot for, say, Exile on Main Street, Rubber Soul, Who's Next, Blonde on Blonde
and Every Picture Tells a Story.
Somehow, studio albums almost always seem to work out better, although there's nothing duller than sitting through a series of recording sessions and nothing more exciting than experiencing a landmark concert.
Why don't we have great live LPs? Probably for the same reason that automatic writing and cinema verite usually don't manage to provide unified, well-rounded works of art: ultimately, because of a lack of control over too many important elements. Instead, we have to settle for local color and mood, and, in return for some brilliant bits and pieces, put up with long stretches during which absolutely nothing of interest happens. Technically, it's more difficult to record a rock & roll band onstage than in a studiothat's practically a given. Onstage, the musicians must entertain as well as play, can't always bear themselves or each other and have only one shotindividually and collectively, in the heat of the momentat getting everything right. Naturally, there aren't any overdubs for texture or finesse.
That said, Love You Liveespecially sides three and fouris probably as good a live album as I've yet heard. Perhaps we can't always get what we want, but here, according to Rolling Stones Records at least, we get what we need: "Love You Live is the full measure of the Stones' power and represents the band's definitive statement for what's left of this decade. The songs circumscribe the Stones' entire career, in a none-too-random fashion, either." Well, yes and nomostly no. More importantly, this double set provides us with what is really our first extensive opportunity to hear how relative newcomer Ron Wood is interacting with the rest of the group (except for a few rough spots, quite well) and what changes his guitar playing has wrought. Further, we now have in-concert records from all three chapters of the Rolling Stones: Brian Jones was on Got LIVE If You Want It!, Mick Taylor on Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!
Basically, the guitar team of Keith Richard and Ron Wood sounds more like Richard/Jones than Richard/Taylor. On Love You Live,