Live shows or studio albums?

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Which one do you prefer?

Seeing a (prog) band live
Listening to their albums
Total votes: 11

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Live shows or studio albums?

Postby batmura » Sun Oct 29, 2006 6:23 am

I've seen most of my all-time favourite bands live, from Opeth to Pain of Salvation to Evergrey to Dream Theater, etc, and while I waited for years to see some of them on stage, I feel I always prefer listening to them on tape. That way, I can enjoy them a lot more for some reason.

Speaking of which, I'm not much of live album and DVD person either. I'll buy a DVD and watch it a couple of times and even if it's one of the best (e.g. DT's Budokan) I won't feel the need to revisit it. I'll just throw in Scenes from a Memory or Six Degrees or crank out Awake. The studio albums impact me a lot more compared to live shows.

What's your take? If you had to make a choice, what would it be?
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Postby Sparky » Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:23 am

Generally, I prefer studio stuff. Unless it's jazz. Then it's the opposite.

Having said that, I'd really like to have my preference challenged by Pain of Salvation. Wish they'd release a 'real' live disc/DVD...

I'll be the judge of what's good and what isn't, thank you... ;)

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Postby SJM » Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:27 am

I would rather hear the band via their album as many times I find myself disappointed after seeing the live concert and it isn't because of the band either. In general it is the venue or the sound guy at the venue that messed things up. All you could hear was the drums or the vocalist was singing out of a tin can, the list goes on. I have found that I enjoy the outdoor venues better than the indoor ones, ie, the blues festival as the sound is great no matter where you are in the park.

At a few shows (Rik Emmett comes to mind) where the background noise from the drunks in the bar was so loud that you couldn't hear over them and you can't move as there are no other seats available. It was if they only came to socialize and they had no clue who the artist was. When I do find a great venue the show is on Thursday, 2 tickets end up costing $130 bucks plus the trip expenses (Eric Clapton last month), so you end up not wanting to spend the cash to go.

All I can say is grab the CD, put the head sets on, mix up a pitcher of margaritas....there's no place like home!
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Postby MJ Brady » Sun Oct 29, 2006 11:24 am

Giving the ambiguous answer....."it depends" , my feelings are that it depends on the band/artist. Todays' music allows average musicians to create decent if not fantastic studio productions, these recordings are stellar works of art that sound excellent on a state of the art sound system, yet these same artists might be a terrible live experience, seeing as their sound might depend a lot on the ears and talents of the producers, engineers that helped with their studio efforts.

Led Zepplin comes to mind for me that way. Never thought they had a great stage presence, but their studio material is ageless. I could list 100's of other examples of this as well.

On the contrary, there are artists that are the complete opposite, studio material is interesting, yet seldom compares to the live energy that possess. I think of a band like Umphrey's McGee, who if i were to just use their studio material to explain them, would be an injustice to what they can do live.

And again, their are the true professionals, the ones that put it all together either way, Chick Corea's Elektric Band, The Dregs, John McLaughlin, I really like what they do in the studio, but it sure enhances the effect to see these players actually pull the music off to perfection in a live setting. I think for progmetal bands, DreamTheater is in this category, as they seem to have both things going for them based on the live gigs and dvds I have seen by them, very professional band.

I do recall seeing both Blind Guardian and Symphony X in a double billing, I do like SX, not BG too much, but I did make sure to give BG some listens to their studio stuff prior to seeing them, they were the frontline band on the billing, their cds have a huge sound to them, i will admit, but they were not very exciting to watch, especially after seeing SX do a fantastic show, SX lived up to their studio work in a live setting, whereas, BG seemed to expose their musical shortcomings live, compared to their big sound in the studio.


Postby BenMech » Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:22 pm

I'll quote Robert Fripp's answer about King Crimson here.

Robert Fripp wrote:A Studio album is a love letter to that metaphorical significant other. A concert performance is a hot date. We aspire to be that hot date.

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Postby Captain Harlock » Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:39 pm

To hack the Robert Fripp quote to my opinion:

A studio album is a love letter to that metaphorical significant other. A concert performance is a hot date that screams directly in your ear very loudly distorting everything you hear.

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Postby Echo Us » Sun Oct 29, 2006 6:03 pm

For what I like and often listen too studio albums are the way to go. These days esspecially they let the music be heard in the way it was intentioned. This holds true for me unless you're talking about jazz or other improvisational music. For me the excitment is in the music, not the spectacle (live setting) most cases...


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The Shrike
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Re: Live shows or studio albums?

Postby The Shrike » Sun Oct 29, 2006 6:22 pm

batmura wrote:What's your take? If you had to make a choice, what would it be?

This is a tough question. But in general I prefer studio albums... they are only an iPOD click away. :wink:

I see lots of live shows, about one per week, even more when I am travelling. There are some bands that I prefer live over studio. For example, In Flames and Hypocrisy. I love their live shows way more than their albums.

And some jazz or folk acts are better on stage than on record. And The California Guitar Trio is so great in person that their albums pale by comparison.

Some bands put on great shows that are consistently excellent. For example, Dream Theater has been much better live than on their last few studio albums. They just fit the stage. I have yet to be disappointed in all the 12 times I have seen them.

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Postby Debbie Schnell » Mon Oct 30, 2006 2:44 am



A live show may not always be the best sound quality or whatever you want to nitpick about, but, how many times did you go to that live show and get totally blown away...have the experience of a lifetime...see something that was so totally amazing that you think could never be people who share in your love of music and develop a lifelong camaraderie...get your ass kicked up and down and scream for more...leave a place with ringing in your ears, a slight case of whiplash, laryngitis, a mysterious bruise on your arm, beer spilled in your hair, and a smile on your face that lasts for a week.

I don't care what your argument is for the other side, I was there at PPI in Chicago and I know what a concert really is. There's nothing like a live show.
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