24. “NIRVANA: MTV UNPLUGGED IN NEW YORK,” NIRVANA (1994)
While the acoustic (mostly) set aired in December 1993, the album did not come out until November ’94 — seven months after Kurt Cobain’s death. This performance has might be the gold standard amid the Nirvana legacy, especially when it comes to Cobain. At times, the viewer can feel his pain, but also his passion for music. It’s actually an album of deep cuts (at the time), though “All Apologies” would become a hit. In Utero‘s “Pennyroyal Tea is a hidden gem.
14. “ONE MORE FROM THE ROAD,” LYNYRD SKYNYRD (1976)
Recorded at Atlanta’s famed Fox Theatre. The classic Skynyrd lineup produced just only this one live album, but it’s truly a something special. Ever after the tragic plane crash in 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd remain a stellar live band. But back in the day it did not get much better than this with such southern rock staples “Free Bird,” “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Tuesday’s Gone.”
15. “LIVE: YOU GET WHAT YOU PLAY FOR,” REO SPEEDWAGON (1977)
Before REO became a pop band fueled by those Kevin Cronin-penned ballads during the 1980s, it was a full-fledged rock outfit and great live band. Bar none, this is a special piece of the Speedwagon experience. While the version “Ridin’ the Storm Out” might be best known from this album, the true gem is late guitarists Gary Richrath’s work on “Golden Country.”
16. “IF YOU WANT BLOOD YOU’VE GOT IT,” AC/DC (1978)
For those who never caught a live AC/DC with Bon Scott on vocals, then this is a must own. Early fans of the band (we’re talking pre-Highway to Hell, obviously) tout this record often for the its raw, raunchy sound on the only live recording it put out with Scott. We recommend “Whole Lotta Rosie,” “Let There Be Rock” and the underrated “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be.”
17. “CHEAP TRICK AT BUDOKAN,” CHEAP TRICK (1979)
Cheap Trick was a relatively popular band during during the 1970s, but it really blew up with this live staple. When rock fans think live albums, this usually comes quickly to mind. Recorded at Tokyo’s famed venue, we really experience the “magnetism of Robin Zander” and “charisma of Rick Nielsen,” especially on smash “I Want You to Want Me” and also “Surrender.”
18. “IT’S ALIVE,” RAMONES (1979)
Early Ramones at its finest. Recorded in late 1977 in London, this is an essential live album for any punk fan. Ramones shows were high-energy, straight-forward. All killer, no filler, especially when it came to the classic lineup of Joey, Johnny, Tommy and Dee Dee. All the early classics are here: “Rockaway Beach,” “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “Teenage Lobotomy” — for starters.
19. “UNDER A BLOOD RED SKY,” U2 (1983)
Only eight songs, but a whole lot of musical power and passion. This was back when Bono and Co. were still young and hungry. Their musical message was genuine, and that added a special dynamic element to their live shows. “I Will Follow,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day” still stand out to this day. This offers longtime fans a bit of nostalgia to revisit.
20. “STOP MAKING SENSE,” TALKING HEADS (1984)
It would go on to serve as the soundtrack for the film version of what is considered one of the best concert movies ever produced. An eclectic bunch, Talking Heads is truly one of a kind, led by frontman David Byrne. We see that all on display with this album, but also just how truly talented musicians and performers the band is as a collective. Highlights include “Psycho Killer” and “Take Me to the River.”
21. “LIVE AFTER DEATH,” IRON MAIDEN (1985)
It has all the hits – “Run to the Hills,” “Number of the Beast,” “Aces High,” and the list goes on. Recorded during the band’s World Slavery Tour, this is the perfect starting off point for any fan looking to get into Maiden. Or, following in their parents’ footsteps and becoming a next generation fan of the band. The accompanying video is also pretty sweet, and showcases just how theatrical a Maiden performance can be.
22. “LIVE AT THE HARLEM SQUARE CLUB, 1963,” SAM COOKE (1985)
The recording happened in 1963, but it obviously took some time to finally be released. The hold up for its release back in the 1960s reportedly stemmed from the idea that the performance was too raw and rough, and a departure from the pop image that the legendary singer-songwriter conveyed at the time. Arguably, this is Cook at his best. Especially on cuts such as “Chain Gang” and “Bring It on Home to Me.”
23. “LIVE 1975–85,” BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & THE E STREET BAND (1986)
A must for any fan of The Boss. It encapsulates the classic Springsteen years, and features some of his most memorable live recordings. The extensive box set also showcases Springsteen the storyteller. Particularly on gripping songs like “Growin’ Up” and “The River.” However, the highlight might be his haunting version of the underrated “Nebraska.”
25. “THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL. 4: BOB DYLAN LIVE 1966, THE ‘ROYAL ALBERT HALL’ CONCERT,” BOB DYLAN (1998)
For some, it might be hard to pick the best among the bunch of Dylan’s Bootleg Series. Yet, this record shines relatively bright. Recorded in England in 1966, it’s broken down into two parts – Dylan at his acoustic best and also with his backing band The Hawks. On the former, Dylan delivers the goods on “Mr. Tambourine Man,” while “Like a Rolling Stone” serves as the highlight of the latter.”