U2 was in the middle of touring in support of their third studio album War when they found themselves performing at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater 35 years ago today (June 5.)
It was at this tour stop where the then up-and-coming band recorded material which eventually became part of their 1983 live album Under a Blood Red Sky, a major fan favorite.
While it may not rank as one of the greatest live LPs of all time, it’s still a fantastic listen, and so are these other underrated live albums.
Recorded during their War tour at three different shows (Denver, Boston and Sankt Goarshausen, Germany), this live release may not have broke U2 like live albums of the past, but if you’re looking for the perfect time capsule of a band that’s on the cusp of becoming the biggest act in the world, this is it.
This live LP gets mixed reviews, but honestly, picking up One For The Road is worth it if only for the live version of “Lola,” which is better than the studio version. (Yeah…I said it!)
The Runaways weren’t a massive success in their native United State, despite being the launchpad for Joan Jett and Lita Ford, but they were HUGE in Japan. If you want to experience their rawness and the mania around them in the Land of the Rising Sun, just listen to Live in Japan.
Released a little more than a year before the tragic plane crash that would take the lives of Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines, One More From The Road features the “classic” Skynyrd lineup tearing up some of their best songs, from “Tuesday’s Gone” to “Gimme Three Steps” to an epic 13:40 version of “Free Bird.” It serves as a devastating, but beautiful reminder of how great this lineup was.
Coming off the success of Jailbreak, Johnny the Fox and Bad Reputation, Thin Lizzy’s Live And Dangerous showcases the band at its prime. Perhaps this album doesn’t get the credit it deserves, because Thin Lizzy wasn’t as big in the U.S. as it was in Europe, but Phil Lynott’s vocals are stellar, and the dual guitars of Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham are some of the best in rock history.
While recorded at a July 12, 1986 gig, Queen’s Live At Wembley ’86 was released on May 26, 1992, which was about six months after the passing of Freddie Mercury. The band was plagued with breakup rumors around this time, which Mercury addressed to the Wembley crowd by stating, “We’re gonna stay together until we f*cking well die, I’m sure of it.” When it comes to honoring the memory of a frontman like Mercury, there’s really no better way than remembering just what a force he was live.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.