The “live” album has always been a way for a band to truly showcase to their fans and the general public just what they are about as a band.  In many cases, a band’s true essence, excitement, and electricity is lost on studio albums.  This can be due to many things.  Maybe said band just feels confined in the studio and unable to break free from the restraints of the paneled walls and isolation booths.  Regardless, when a band puts out a live album, they are saying, “This is what we’re about” or maybe even, “This is what you’re missing by not coming to our shows.”

Live albums are always debated as to just how “live” they might be.  It’s no secret that bands “doctor” these albums up and pretty them up but at the end of the day, there’s still this level of excitement that manages to get captured.  Here I have listed 10 of my favorite live albums.  Did your favorites make the list?  If not, what are your favorites and why?  I’d love to hear about it but in the time being, here are mine!  Maybe you’ll find something here that you didn’t have before.  Maybe you’ll discover your next favorite live album.  If so, you’re welcome.


Iron Maiden – Live After Death

This was Iron Maiden’s first full length live album and in all honesty they couldn’t have picked a better tour to capture than 1984’s World Slavery Tour. I mean, what a bombastic fucking show. While this tour was visually amazing, Iron Maiden truly was at their musical peak at this point and they sounded fucking monstrous. The opening intro of “Churchill’s Speech” still gives me goose bumps and songs like “Revelations”, “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, and “Hallowed By Thy Name” are performed flawlessly and even better than their own studio versions.

Live After Death is still such and exciting album to listen to this day and every Iron Maiden fan will attest to that fact. It’s perfect in every way and I would even consider it to be a great starting point for any new Iron Maiden fan. Live After Death is Iron Maiden at their peak (at this point) and it still never ceases to amaze me that at this point these guys were only in their 20’s. They sound like such a refined band that had been around twice as long as they actually were. It’s a really fantastic listening experience and if you can find it on vinyl I HIGHLY recommend it for the packaging alone.


Black Sabbath = Live at Hammersmith

Dio era Black Sabbath saw a very surprising and much deserved comeback when Heaven and Hell emerged in 2006 blowing people’s minds playing nothing but Dio era Sabbath songs. In the wake of their success, Rhino Records released “Live at Hammersmith” which was pretty much a superior live album to the 80’s issued Live Evil. Now I fucking love Live Evil but Live at Hammersmith just sounds so much better production wise and also has the band playing with some serious fire.

The actual performances on Live at Hammersmith are damn near perfect and the band plays with so much fire and gusto. “Children of the Sea” alone is worth the price of owning this one and this also proves what an amazingly strong and powerful entity Black Sabbath with Dio was. OzzyShmozzy. Dio owned shit big time as did the rest of Sabbath and I’m so glad they had the smarts to capture it in all its glory.


Twisted Sister – Live at Hammersmith

Twisted Sister really shows what a powerful monster of a live band they were capable of being in their prime. Opening with “What You Don’t Know Sure Can Hurt You” is a like a freight train coming right at you full speed and then kicking right into “The Kids are Back” has my face on the floor every fucking time. “Stay Hungry”, “You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll”, “Destroyer”, and even “I Wanna Rock” are so fucking heavy that it will blow your mind if you ever doubted what a juggernaut this band was. Anyone who was ever just a casual fan of this band needs to hear this album in order to truly get what Twisted Fucking Sister was all about.

Anybody who thinks that Twisted Sister is a joke band or a friendly pop metal band will shut the fuck up the minute they hear this album. Any REAL fan of Twisted Sister will scream from the mountains just what a great, heavy fucking band they were. Yeah, they were great on album but live was a whole other monster. Live at Hammersmith totally captures Twisted Sister at their peak just before Stay Hungry was released.


Sabaton – Swedish Empire Live

Very few (if any) modern metal bands can pull off having a live album these days. The reason for that is that there are very few modern metal bands who are actually any fucking good at being a true LIVE band. After hearing (seeing) Sabaton live a few times, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Sabaton is pretty much the closest thing to Iron Maiden this generation will ever see. They are a visually stunning band with an amazing live performance that is interractive and full of energy. They are also a band that delivers the goods musically with a catalog of songs that is fucking amazingly mind-blowing.

I could easily listen to this version of “Ghost Division” 20 times and never get tired of it but the rest of this album is chockfull of amazing performances of some of their best material such as “Got Mit Arms”, “40:1”, “Carolus Rex”, and “Primo Victoria.” If someone asks where they should start as far as giving Sabaton a listen, this is where I would direct them as this truly does offer up the best of Sabaton as a great live band with amazing material.


Ozzy Osbourne – Tribute

Even though it’s been pretty proven that this album was doctored in the studio before its release, Tribute still proves to be one of my all-time favorite live albums. As a young lad, I was a huge Randy Rhoads fan so you can only imagine the excitement when it was announced that amazing quality live archival recordings of an Ozzy show with Randy had surfaced.

Listening to it today it still sounds every bit as magical as it did when I was a kid. The solo in “Mr. Crowley” still gives me chills and this particular version of “Goodbye to Romance” still brings a tear to me eye. If you ever want to hear the REAL live version of this show, go here ( and download it and love it for all its warts and imperfections.


Hanoi Rocks – All Those Wasted Years Live

Hanoi Rocks is a band that without a doubt put out one of my all time favorite live albums. I never had the chance to see these guys live ever but this live album recorded on NYE of 1983-84 captured the raw energy and sleaze that would later be ripped off in full by Guns N’ Roses to the “t”. The opening of “Pipeline” and “Back to Mystery City” totally sets the pace for this album but it’s on songs like “Tragedy”, “Malibu Beach Nightmare”, and “Lost in the City” that has the band really turning it out and owning some fucking faces. If you really want to hear something fun, listen to the intro for “Don’t Never Leave Me” and it’s Guns N’ Roses’ “Don’t Cry” almost verbatim. I hope they fucking sued Paxil Rose.

All of that aside, All Those Wasted Years is a solid fucking live record and I probably spin this one at least once a month. That closing combo of “Under My Wheels”, “I Feel Alright” and “Train Kept A-Rollin” is probably one of the best moments in live rock n’ roll without a doubt. This is just a great fucking listen and it’s a great way to be reminded just what a fucking monster of a band Hanoi Rocks was and could have been.


Jorn Lande – Live in America

Recorded in Atlanta in 2007, Live in America is everything that Jorn Lande is about. This is one of the greatest voices in heavy metal and it’s sad that more people don’t truly recognize the greatness of this guy. On this live release, this is where I truly felt like the power and intensity of Jorn was captured in its true essence. Not only does it feature such stellar original songs like “We Brought the Angels Down”, “Duke of Love”, and “Out to Every Nation” but it also has Jorn paying his respects to legends such as Thin Lizzy (Are You Ready/Cold Sweat), Ronnie James Dio (Straight Through the Heart), and Deep Purple (Perfect Strangers). The two disc offering complete with over indulgent guitar/drum solos closes with a facemelting Whitesnake medley of “Come On”, “Sweet Talker”, “Crying in the Rain”, “Here I Go Again”, “Give Me All Your Love.” Jorn does a better David Coverdale than David Coverdale himself can do.

This is such a great, fun live album to listen to and why this album didn’t make Jorn a fucking massive star in the US is beyond me. Everything about this album just rules. The production, the track listing, and the performances are flawless and this is an album that gets many repeat spins from me. Want to see what Jorn Lande is about? Get Live in America and then go from there and get everything else. Hearing this guy live will blow your face off.


Deep Purple – Made in Europe

Deep Purple is one of those bands that I never really dug for some reason. I always thought “Smoke on the Water” was a lame fucking song and I just never liked the “hits” that I heard all the time. A good buddy of mine convinced me that I needed to look below the surface and once I did I discovered a band that I sadly ignored all these years. Well, just to sweeten the deal I dove headfirst into the David Coverdale era of Deep Purple and found that I fucking loved this shit so much. I mean, this was pretty much early Whitesnake with Richie Blackmore on guitar. How could that possibly suck?

Made In Europe is a goddamn facemelt supreme that is nothing but a big ass platter of win. Hearing Coverdale and Glenn Hughes battle trying to outdo each other as to who can hold a note longer on “Burn” is fucking awesome and the version of “Mistreated” has to be easily one of the greatest moments in rock n’ roll without a doubt. The nearly 17 minute “You Fool No One” has Jon Lord commanding like a fucking classical god but its “Stormbringer” that totally owns this set. This is a live album that sadly gets much mention in the world yet I find it to be one of the greatest live offerings around.


Iron Maiden – En Vivo

I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably saying, “But Brainfart, you already picked an Iron Maiden live album. Well, this is my fucking site and I can do what I want and besides, it’s IRON FUCKING MAIDEN. These guys are pretty much right alongside KISS for being the kings of releasing live albums. Iron Maiden has released 10 full length live albums and one live EP (Maiden Japan) and while Live After Death will always be considered their greatest live release, I have to say that I was absolutely blown away by En Vivo which captured Maiden on their Final Frontier Tour.

This live set proves that even in their 50’s that Iron Maiden are still capable of delivering an untouchable live performance as well as still putting out top quality new material. This live set really captured some facemelting versions of songs like the title track, “The Talisman”, “Coming Home”, and a version of “When the Wild Wind Blows” which sent a chill up my spine and had the hairs on my neck standing at full attention. Let’s not forget some other outstanding deliveries of classics like “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, “The Trooper”, and “2 Minutes to Midnight.” I even didn’t mind the usually annoying “Running Free” album closer. For someone who wasn’t lucky enough to see one of the handful of American shows on this leg of the tour, this is a great testament to what we missed and stands very tall, in my opinion, as Maiden’s second greatest live release to date.


KISS – Alive

How can I NOT include Kiss Alive? I mean, ok, I know what you’re going to say. “It’s not REALLY a live album” yadda yadda yadda. Get off my fucking lawn! I don’t care what you say but this is a classic live album from start to finish. Anytime I feel like I need to be reminded just why I feel in love with Kiss in the first place I put this one on and the minute “Deuce” kicks in I am reminded right away. There are so many songs on here that never fail to blow my face off. “Got To Choose”, “She”, “Firehouse” and “C’mon and Love Me” just kill me every time I hear them but the older I get, the more I find myself really gravitating towards the meat of the album with songs like “Watchin’ You”, “100,000 Years” and “Rock Bottom.” “Black Diamond.” Holy shit I must listen to this version 2-3 times every time I find myself listening to this album.

There’s a reason that this album has become such an iconic and legendary album. If someone was to ask me, “I’ve never heard KISS, where should I start?” I would gladly give them a copy of Alive I and say, “You’re welcome.” This is a live album that never gets old and without a doubt captures KISS doing what they do best: ripping some fucking faces off with some raw, gritty, and loud rock n’ roll. Call it live, call it doctored, call it whatever the fuck you want. I call it an amazing album start to finish that everyone should own.


About Don de Leaumont

Don (aka. The Brainfart) has been a heavy metal fan since hearing it for the first time in 1983. Don is also repsonsible for all of the typos, shitty grammar, and kick ass content on this site. Don likes cheap beer, whiskey, Coca Cola Icees, going to shows, and hanging with his kick ass wife, two cats and dog. He originally wanted to name his dog Shandi but his wife said, "No fucking way."

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