Some of the best Hard Rock/Metal albums have been LIVE. I guess it all comes down to ENERGY; Some of the greatest bands in the world have put out less than inspired studio releases,but then seem to take the songs to another level in a live setting! Adrenalin kicks in and an otherwise ordinary song,well,comes ALIVE! Compare Deep Purples` "Machine Head" w/ the live"Made in Japan" disc,for example.Of course,the OPPOSITE is also true [ Led Zeppelins`"The Song Remains the Same" is a perfect example of this!] Some of the following discs are recent,some vintage,but they`re all DAMN GOOD! But don`t take MY word for it; check `em out for yourself!

Jimi Hendrix-"Band of Gypsys"

To be honest,the ONLY reason to get this is for the 12 min.+ Rock guitar dictionary,"Machine Gun"; this anti-war opus should be considered required listening for ANY guitar player worth his/her salt! The other tracks just sort of meander along. But don`t let that dim the fact that this is one of the most IMPORTANT albums ever made! Amen.

Deep Purple-"Made in Japan"

George Harrisons` guitar may have gently wept, but Ritchie Blackmores` Fender Strat howls like some poor, lost soul suffering all the torments of the damned! DP Mark 2 assured their place in Rock history with this `72 release, but a year later it was all over for this line-up [they re-united 10 years later]. Choice cuts: "Space Truckin`", "Child in Time","Lazy", "Highway Star", and of course, "Smoke on the Water".

Rainbow-"On Stage"

After putting out two classic Hard Rock albums,Ritchie Blackmores` Rainbow [w/ the great Ronnie James Dio on vocals and the now sadly deceased Cozy Powell on drums!] released this 2 record set in `76, culled from their European tour. With all that talent,you KNOW you`re in for a treat! Cuts like,"Kll the King", "Catch the Rainbow" , "Mistreated", and "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" are some of the high points of the above named musicians careers! Unfortunately,a little over a year later, this line-up too would be history! [do we see a pattern here?]


Some might think of this album [and the band,for that matter] as a joke; Fair enough,but the truth is this album kicks ASS! At the height of the disco era, we had four guys in clown make-up and leather, spitting blood onstage and playing songs like "Strutter","Firehouse","Hotter than Hell" and "Black Diamond" through VERY loud Marshall stacks! How could you miss?

Scorpions-'Tokyo Tapes"

The German Hard Rock vets released this 2 record set in `78, taken from that years` Japanese tour. This was also guitar GOD Ulrich Roths` swan song with the band, as he left soon after to pursue a solo career [ending the groups BEST years,in my opinion]. Why is Roth so revered by todays` Metal musicians? Give a listen to "We`ll Burn the Sky","Fly to the Rainbow","Top of the Bill", and "Robot Man"; Roths`playing is totally RUTHLESS! Low points: So-so production, Roths`HIDEOUS attempts at singing,and two lousy renditions of the R & R oldies "Hound Dog" and "Long Tall Sally" !

UFO-"Strangers in the Night"

One of the BEST live albums EVER! Another Scorpions alumnus [Michael Schenker] plays the living HELL out of his Flying "V"as the rest of this great band [fronted by vocalist Phil Mogg] tear through a fast paced set of Hard Rock classics like there`s no tomorrow! Trying to point out the best tracks is impossible; They`re ALL great! Schenker left the band just after this was released [what IS it about live albums,anyway?!]

Judas Priest-"Unleashed in the East"

Can`t forget THIS one! Another CD where ALL the tracks are good, so it`s hard to single out ONE. This album put Priest over the top; their cover of the Joan Baez [!] tune "Diamonds and Rust" assured them Metal Godhood for years to come, and helped pave the way for the early `80s metal "revival". A must!!

Thin Lizzy-"Live and Dangerous"/"Life Live

Great guitar playing, great songs, great performances, great albums, great band!!!

Motorhead-"No Sleep`til Hammersmith"

Lemmy, Philthy, Fast Eddie Clark, Hammersmith, "Ace of Spades", "Overkill", "Bomber","We are the RoadCrew": Need I say more?

"Screaming Blue Murder-Dedicated to Phil Lynot"

Another great[and unfortunately overlooked] disc by MR. John Sykes. This Japanese only release is dedicated to Johns` mentor in Lizzy,and a fitting tribute it is! All of Sykes best,plus a couple of Lizzy tunes["Dancin` in the Moonlight",'Cold Sweat"] and a surprise from his Whitesnake days,"Still of the Night"! [Blows the original away!]


The German War Machine rolls right over everyone on this 23 track live masterpiece! The Ripper & crew were captured live on their 10th anniversary tour,and every cut on this disc shows WHY they have outlasted the competition! Listening to this is like hooking your speakers up to a Panzer tank!!!

Gary Moore-"Rockin` Every Night-Live in Japan"[1983]

Gary Moore could clear an entire forest with his guitar tone on this album! Culled from his then recent tour of Japan, this blistering live set shows WHY Moore is held in such high regard the world over. As for the band? Ian Paice on drums, Neil Murray on bass, Don Ariey on keyboards. Need I say more? Vocalist John Slowman is pretty much just another faceless Hard Rock singer [Moore handles most of the vox.] but that doesn`t diminish the fact that this CD kicks holy ASS!! Cuts like"Rockin` Every Night", a SCORCHING cover of the Free classic,`"Wishing Well","Nuclear Attack", which barrel-rolls into the infamous "White Knuckles", a guitar extravaganza that makes Van Halens` pathetic six-string noodlings sound like "Twinkle,Twinkle,Little Star"! The disc closes with a moving tribute to fallen guitar hero Randy Rhoads,the instrumental"Sunset". To all beginning guitar-players:YOU NEED THIS DISC!!

West Side Dave`s Metal Site