I have probably over 500 CDs, and one of my favorites is Invocations (1981 – 1989) by
Christian Death. It is nothing but live recordings in bars and clubs, all before they were well known. The sound quality is just awful, but I absolutely love listening to this CD.

 

Some groups or performers really improve with age and experience (which is true in all aspects of life), but one of the negative consequences of fame and fortune is that once a group achieves them, their creativity and daring takes a dramatic decline.

 

Before the fame and fortune and contracts and fan base, they could do what they wanted to do without any fear or consequences. This tends to be their best work, the most creative, and quite honestly, the most enjoyable to listen to. But once they make it big, it seems to me that they stop being creative and simply resort to self-imitation out of fear of losing what they’ve achieved. Ironically, the consequence is that they become outdated and do lose what they’ve achieved. Artists who can reinvent themselves seem to be the only ones who survive many decades, such as David Bowie I suppose.

 

Anyway, my point is that this particular CD, in spite of having poor sound quality, is just so much fun to listen to because the band is clearly just doing what they enjoy: making music and singing—and that is what is enjoyable about it for me, too. Raw, uninhibited, unselfconscious performances unencumbered by concerns over profit margins, producers, and corporate contracts.

I am attaching three tracks from this CD.

 

Do you have a favorite live CDs?


Can you think of any artists/bands who have doomed themselves to failure because of self-imitation?


What about artists/bands who survived because they were able to constantly adapt and remain creative?

Tags: Christian Death, Rozz Williams, bands, goth, live music, music, rock

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Replies to This Discussion

I'm not usually a fan of live recordings, as I prefer to have been to the show and actually witness it. However, there are some exceptions, such as Billy Joel's Russian tour album, KOHUEPT (Live in Leningrad), or Black Flag's "Who's Got the 10½?".
One album which immediately comes to mind is Oregon - Live at Yoshi's. It is a compilation from the 2-3 days they played at Yoshi's, a jazz club in Oakland, CA in August of 2001 and is clearly among the best of their recent offerings.
I guess the live album that gets the most emotion out of me would be Nirvana: Unplugged. The death of Kurt Cobain was emotional for me, and I can't help but to notice his tone and demeanor during this recording. I guess the fact that it is captured on video helps with that, but you can just hear the anguish in his voice when you listen to the recording.
Paul McCartney - Back in the U.S.
Nick Cave - Live Seeds
The White Stripes - Under Blackpool Lights (DVD)
Johnny Cash - Live at Folsom Prison
The Pixies - Live @ The BBC
Nirvana - MTV Unplugged in New York
Radiohead - I Might Be Wrong
Oasis - Definitely Maybe
Bill Withers - Live at Carnegie Hall
My first LP ever: Johnny Cash. Live at San Quinten
The unique Who: View From a Backstage Pass (Live in the 70's)
The newest: Rammstein. Vølkerball. CD & DVD

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