Mix Six: Live At Last!

Listen to Mix Six “Live At Last” HERE

I have this funny feeling that I’m going to see a lot of live shows this year. Two of my favorite bands are touring and I’m ready to drop some cash to enjoy the live experience. So this week’s mix is about live performances from bands who are just simply classic in stature.

“Can’t Stand Losing You” The Police A rockin’ performance from 1980 in Boston. Truth be told, I was going to put a crappy-mp3-dub-from-a-cassette-recording-off-the-radio-from-a-1982-broadcast-of-the “King Biscuit Flour Hour”-that-ran-on-KSFX-in-San Francisco (Man, I’m a dork!) …but it was so horrible, that I couldn’t do it to you. So, I found this one instead. It’s lacks some of the raw energy of the 1979 concert I have a cassette copy of, but Stewart’s drum work is much more interesting than it was a year earlier.

“The Electric Co.” U2 Forget all that “Rattle and Hum” stuff, this is the live U2 recording you have to own. The band was tight, the singing was passionate (but not too preachy), and the songs just rocked. Nowadays, it seems the first two U2 albums get overlooked, so I thought it was fitting to feature this great song from their first album, Boy.

“Psycho Killer” Talking Heads The original was quite good, but what David Byrne did with this song using a boombox (with a cassette dub of a drum machine) and an acoustic guitar was just glorious. If you haven’t seen this film, you really ought to rent it because it’ll change your view of the Talking Heads as just some quirky art-rock band that made weird videos.

“Once Upon a Time in the West” Dire Straits Sometime it’s amazing to hear how a band can improve on the original recording in a live setting. This song was off their first album, but it was a kind of “sleeper” song that really (to borrow, and slightly alter, a phrase from a Peter Frampton album) “came alive” when performed in front of an audience. Why can’t Mark Knopfler do stuff like this nowadays?

“Driven” Rush I’ve seen Rush a number of times, I am always amazed how they can, for the most part, duplicate what they created in the studio on the stage. However, this version of “Driven” has so much more energy and fury than the studio version that it’s become a favorite of mine. The extended bass breakdown section was a surprise to hear when I saw the band during their Test for Echo tour in San Jose, CA — mostly because Rush is not known for improvisation on stage. I think it was the first time I had seen them infuse their set with some unexpected spice, and the audience loved it!

“Magic Bus” The Who One of my least favorite Who songs became a favorite because of this blistering and punishing rendition that took the song in a direction that, let’s just get it out there, kicked some serious ass.

Now I feel like I could use a drink and some “chill” tunes. Have a great weekend!

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