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Rewinding 2019 | The Livest Wires

The best and the rest of the year's concert recordings.

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Back when I was reviewing concerts and going to festivals as part of my job, I used to see up to 500 bands a year. These days, I would rather put my feet up at home, enjoy a beer that costs less than $12 and listen to a great live album. Here are the liveliest ones I heard in 2019:


TINNITIST’S PICKS

David Byrne
American Utopia on Broadway: Original Cast

WHO IS HE? The former Talking Heads frontman. The most iconoclastic icon this side of Frank Zappa. The quirkiest man in show biz. The singer-songwriter behind hits like Psycho Killer, Life During Wartime, Once in a Lifetime and Burning Down the House. And the onetime owner of a very large white suit.

WHAT IS THIS? The expansive and energetic two-disc soundtrack to his recent Broadway show American Utopia, which combines songs from his optimistic 2018 studio album with reworked Talking Heads favourites.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? An updated version of Stop Making Sense — with more appropriately sized clothes and with a large international cast of barefoot singers, dancers and musicians instead of his old bandmates.

READ THE FULL REVIEW AND HEAR THE ALBUM HERE


Various Artists
Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1969
Vol. 1 & 2

WHO ARE THEY? A who’s who of great bluesmen (and women) — including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Son House, T-Bone Walker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Big Mama Thornton, Junior Walker, Otis Rush and plenty more.

WHAT IS THIS? A two-volume collection of insanely great (and previously unreleased) live recordings from the landmark event, lovingly refurbished for the 50th anniversary and released by Jack White’s Third Man Records.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? The blues, the whole blues, and nothing but the blues. On a more practical technical and sonic level, it sounds pretty incredible for a mono recording made on 1/4″ tape half a century ago.

READ THE FULL REVIEW AND HEAR THE ALBUM HERE


HONOURABLE MENTIONS

The Allman Brothers Band | Fillmore West ’71
Beyonce | Homecoming: The Live Album
Big Star | Live on WLIR
James Brown | Live at Home With His Bad Self
Marc Cohn & Blind Boys of Alabama | Work To Do
Down By Law | Quick Hits Live In Studio
Jimi Hendrix | Songs for Groovy Children: The Fillmore East Concerts
The Kernal | KERN! LIVE!
LCD Soundsystem | Electric Lady Sessions
NRBQ | Turn On, Tune In
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band | Capitol Theatre, Passaic, N.J. | September 19, 1978
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band | Winterland 12/15/78 & Winterland 12/16/78
Bruce Springsteen | Asbury Park ’96
Bruce Springsteen | Western Stars: Songs From The Film
Mavis Staples | Live in London
Various Artists | Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Ronnie Wood With His Wild Five | Mad Lad: A Live Tribute to Chuck Berry
Neil Young & Stray Gators | Tuscaloosa
Frank Zappa | Halloween ’73
Frank Zappa | Zappa in New York 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

TO FIND REVIEWS OF THESE ALBUMS, PLEASE USE THE SEARCH WINDOW AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE