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The great live albums of 1978-1985 that changed the history of...

Concert recordings have become something of a relic of the past. However, today's selection proves: despite fashion and fleeting trends, real quality can live forever...

8 live albums from 1978-1985 that changed the history of...

While the dawn of the '70s saw the beginning of the popularity of live albums thanks to rock maestros such as Cream, The Who, Rolling Stones and Deep Purple - towards the end of the decade, AC/DC, Iron Maiden and others ruled the scene...

Unfortunately, by the mid-80s, the live album had already died as a commercial force... Concert recordings had become something of a relic of the past. However, today's selection proves: despite fashion and fleeting trends, real quality can live forever...

So: between 1978 and 1985, live rock band performances reached their limit: animal energy, much better sound, well thought out theatrical side of the show... All this, of course, cannot be seen... But it can be felt through music!

Thin Lizzy - Live And Dangerous (1978)

Thin Lizzy - Live And Dangerous (1978)
Thin Lizzy - Live And Dangerous (1978)

And although music producer Tony Visconti later claimed that 75% of what is heard on Live And Dangerous was recreated in the studio... most fans attending Thin Lizzy concerts in person are willing to argue with that statement!

This album perfectly conveys the feeling of solemnity, excitement, drive... You can hardly recreate such a feeling in a boring studio room! When listening to Live And Dangerous you can hear the fun of the audience, feel the passion on stage... A real classic for all times! It seems that this was the time when Thin Lizzy were at the peak of their powers...

Cheap Trick - At Budokan (1978)

Cheap Trick - At Budokan (1978)
Cheap Trick - At Budokan (1978)

At Budokan is a landmark example of how a great live album can breathe life into a band's slightly waning state of...

Rumour has it that this album was actually recorded in Osaka, on the eve of the legendary Budokan performance. But... does it really matter? At Budokan is the documented peak of Cheap Trick's absolute heyday... The band reach deep into the listener's brain, shredding bass and rocking drum sound, while Robin Zander's vocals glide effortlessly to stunning heights....

Rick Nielsen, guitarist for Cheap Trick:

"In 1978, we performed in Japan more often than we did in America! The idea was to record a good live album for the Japanese market. Remember when the Beatles said they couldn't hear themselves in Shi Stadium because the hysteria was just unreal? So: now we know how they felt then... The noise was terrible!"

 

"...We didn't expect this album to be released in America! Well: it turned us from virtual and unknown musicians in our own country into big stars... Thank you, Japan!"

AC/DC - If You Want Blood You've Got It (1978)

AC/DC - If You Want Blood You've Got It (1978)
AC/DC - If You Want Blood You've Got It (1978)

This concert summarised everything that made AC/DC so special: frenzied energy, understanding with the crowd, absolute sincerity... In If You Want Blood You've Got It all the main classic songs of the band seemed to find another life!

If You Want Blood You've Got It is a great reminder of how great the band and their fans were that night... According to the recollection of Tom Russell, who was present at the gig, the atmosphere that night was incredible:

"I loved these guys from the first minute! They were the same on stage as they were off stage! That was a big part of the band's charm... That's what the concert goers recognised. When Glasgow takes an artist close to its heart, concerts become magical..."

UFO - Strangers In The Night (1979)

UFO - Strangers In The Night (1979)
UFO - Strangers In The Night (1979)

Strangers In The Night is one of the greatest live albums of the late 70s! And Steve Harris from Iron Maiden sincerely confirms it!

"UFO is one of my favourite bands!" he says. "And Strangers In The Night is my favourite live album! Some albums get boring quickly, but that still doesn't apply to Strangers In The Night..."

Released in 1979, Strangers In The Night was the final act of UFO's golden years... All band members were at the peak of their powers... And that makes this release a great historical recording for all time!

Whitesnake - Live... In The Heart Of The City (1980)

Whitesnake - Live... In The Heart Of The City (1980)
Whitesnake - Live... In The Heart Of The City (1980)

Compared to modern Whitesnake, the live Live... In the Heart Of The City is shocking. It's not a record, it's all about elegant, submissive grace....

And indeed! The early Whitesnake shows were almost religious... And Live... In The Heart Of The City captures the intimate atmosphere of the "classic" line-up, when Coverdale's voice was at its best. This record is a kind of reminder of the simpler, more subdued times of the band...

Motörhead - No Sleep 'til Hammersmith (1981)

Motorhead - No Sleep 'til Hammersmith (1981)
Motorhead - No Sleep 'til Hammersmith (1981)

Curiously enough, Lemmy himself disliked this album, calling it an "albatross around his neck". It's a pity, because, in fact, it's a very significant album for the band.

Recorded in March 1981, it quickly reached its peak! It also reached the peak of the NWOBHM movement, even though it had quite a lot to do with the punk scene... No Sleep 'til Hammersmith found loyal listeners wherever people liked to smash things: nightclubs, bars... But more importantly, it proved to the public: you don't have to be a Motörhead fan or even a rock fan to find a common ground! All this made No Sleep 'til Hammersmith more than just a great live album. It made it a cultural highlight even for those who had never heard of the band itself....

U2 - Under A Blood Red Sky (1983)

U2 - Under A Blood Red Sky (1983)
U2 - Under A Blood Red Sky (1983)

Compiled from stops on the 1983 War tour, Under A Blood Red Sky was a good example of the live album format! Unfortunately, already during this period, the golden age of live recordings was beginning to decline...

But for now, the live album was still the hallmark of the rock giants! And it worked: Under A Blood Red Sky was a huge success! Its staggering sales woke up America and brought back the live album as a commercial promotion...

Under A Blood Red Sky is the sincere sound of a live band that didn't need any special tricks to bring an entire stadium to the boiling point!

Iron Maiden - Live After Death (1985)

Iron Maiden - Live After Death (1985)
Iron Maiden - Live After Death (1985)

By the time the World Slavery tour reached the Long Beach Arena in Los Angeles in the spring of 1985, the band's focused attempts to conquer the world had turned into a veritable victory march! Not even five years had passed since Iron Maiden played London's Ruskin Arms... However, the confidence in their abilities and the scope and ambition of the band's live shows had grown exponentially!

Live After Death could be called a "playing snapshot" of a young band at the height of their popularity... The advent of compact discs is just around the corner... Which means that Live After Death has become the last great live album of the vinyl era.

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