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Customer Discussions > Music forum

Do You Feel That Artists Are More "Definitive" Live Or On Their Studio Material?

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Showing 1-25 of 37 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 16, 2013, 3:44:52 PM PST
I think this topic has been touched on before but I thought it might make for an enlightening thread topic.

As much as I love the live albums of my favorite artists, I think the studio is where an artist is most "definitive". I think the ART of music is meant for the recorded medium (layering, sound effects, overdubs).

Of course, some artists are "definitive" both ways (Led Zeppelin, for instance). Still, whenever I think of them, I think of their studio catalogue not their live show. But this is just my opinion and a result of how I've been conditioned to their music.

Posted on Feb 16, 2013, 4:07:50 PM PST
It depends on the artist, of course. The Who were way more definitive live than in the studio. The Beatles, not so much (although they were still a great live act). You could go on and on, listing hundreds of bands and saying whether they were more definitive at one or the other, and I think you would have plenty for each category.

Posted on Feb 16, 2013, 4:48:22 PM PST
If you cant bring it live youre not really a real band. Anybody can make something sound good in the studio but, delivering it live onstage in front of a crowd is where you either prove yourself or your exposed as a fraud.

Posted on Feb 16, 2013, 5:06:00 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 16, 2013, 5:06:38 PM PST
I guess my question though is, "does it really matter if a band isn't good live?"

If the artist is merely using the studio as their canvas and it gives the listener happiness, are they any less of an "artist"?

Posted on Feb 16, 2013, 5:15:08 PM PST
So many bands just cant perfrom their music live for whatever reasons but some like Genesis,Dream Theater,Porcupine Tree,Marillion and especially Transatlantic can do it flawlessly.

Posted on Feb 16, 2013, 5:51:11 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 16, 2013, 5:55:03 PM PST
I guess one reason I'm a "studio guy" is you can paint in all sorts of water colors, if you will. There are no limitations. Creating the music is the art form.

And, in some cases, playing it live wouldn't do the songs justice. I'm thinking of an album such as "Sgt Peppers". I wouldn't want to hear that album on a live stage. The art lies in the making of the music as it was sequenced and put on tape.

Of course, the irony is that the album plays like a "show" but hopefully I'm making sense...:)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2013, 5:55:14 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 15, 2016, 3:42:48 PM PDT]

Posted on Feb 16, 2013, 5:57:54 PM PST
D. Mok says:
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Posted on Feb 16, 2013, 6:27:21 PM PST
I think that some bands are suited better for one or the other depending on the band. However I almost always perfer studio recordings as opposed to live recordings. I do like some live stuff and their are always exceptions but I'm a studio guy.

Posted on Feb 16, 2013, 6:42:59 PM PST
Captain Ogre says:
When it comes to recordings, studio wins, no question in my mind.

But when I'm on the fence about a band or artist, seeing them live is the best way to decide which side of the fence

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2013, 7:49:06 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 16, 2013, 7:51:01 PM PST
Working Man says:
Artists can definitely get more creative in a studio with so many tools available. As you mentioned layering, sound effects and overdubs are where the music gets polished, however, the heart and soul of an artist and their song is often best experienced live without the bells and whistles.

It also depends on the artists and/or the songs. There are songs that I've loved in the studio but didn't move me live and others that didn't move me until saw and heard them performed lived.

You mentioned Zeppelin who are one of my favorite bands. I love all of their studio albums (some more than others, of course) and I've seen them live a couple of times. I think it's a totally different experience seeing a band like Zeppelin live.

If you're talking live albums as opposed to actually seeing a band live, then I might give a slight nod to studio albums over live albums. I love many live albums but they often don't capture the true live experience of seeing a band live. Some live albums are really great and others get better after you've actually seen the band perform live because you've experienced their show first hand.

Posted on Feb 16, 2013, 8:07:57 PM PST
D. Mok says:
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Posted on Feb 17, 2013, 10:45:28 AM PST
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Posted on Feb 17, 2013, 11:13:07 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 18, 2013, 9:56:55 PM PST
B-Jak says:
Not that I particularly care for them, but the Grateful Dead were absolutely defined by their live performances. Not to say their recordings were bad, but they barely hinted at what a Grateful Dead show was about. And theirs is more a complete experience , aural and visual. Of course, there's always the joke about what one deadhead said to the other when the drugs ran out.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2013, 1:34:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 17, 2013, 1:34:54 PM PST
@ED S: "We are talking about the aural medium and not a visual presentation like the Who's stage performance."

While visuals were obviously a big attraction of the The Who's live performance, I also believe that strictly aurally speaking, they were also superior live. Compare the studio "Tommy" album to the live performance of it in 69/70 (just the recordings, like Leeds or Hull, not any video footage)--the live "Tommy" ripped the studio version to shreds.

Posted on Feb 17, 2013, 6:55:13 PM PST
Working Man says:
I may be missing something here, but there seems to be a lot of votes for studio. While I admit that studio recordings usually sound better than live recordings and it's often due to the tools available in the studio and multiple takes to get it just right and mixing and whatever other magic is performed in the studio, I think studio recordings are often missing something that you cannot get from seeing a band live.

Don't get me wrong, I think that most of the time I am going to prefer the studio version, however, there are often live versions and improvisation and spontaneity (sp. ?) that often makes a live recording stand out.

I don't think it's necessary to see a band live to know you like them, however, it's live performances often add that heart and soul that you might not get from a studio. Many bands often say it's really about performing live and not recording that they enjoy most and that enjoyment often comes out in the live performance.

Since the original question what is the definitive version, then I guess I have to say most of the time it's the studio version. However, I never dismiss a live album because it's live and the reason I attend concerts is to hear and see my favorite songs performed live which is an experience that you cannot receive from a recording, either studio or live. This has nothing to do with MTV, it's about live music and not videos, especially scripted or concept videos. Personally, I prefer concert DVDs to music videos where I can see the musicians actually perform.

Posted on Feb 17, 2013, 7:03:14 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 17, 2013, 7:33:28 PM PST
@Working Man: also, a lot of bands like to significantly alter, extend, or re-arrange songs for live performance, and many times these variations are superior to the original version. Although some fans go to a show wanting and expecting to hear exact, or as close to exact, reproductions of the studio albums as possible, others (like myself) prefer the band to vary it up a bit: acoustic arrangements of songs, extended solos, added verses, etc. If I want to hear replicas of the studio versions, I'll just put on the actual album!

Posted on Feb 17, 2013, 7:15:25 PM PST
Hinch says:
>If I want to hear replicas of the studio versions, I'll just put on the actual album! <

That's exactly how I feel. I like bands who improvise a little or at least don't try to recreate the studio recordings in concert.

Posted on Feb 18, 2013, 12:14:07 AM PST
The meat of a musician is how they deliver it live. Good, bad and ugly. I love Johnny Thunders solo record but his live stuff with The Heartbreakers is just sloppy, violent and amazing.

Any artist i dig i always wanna know what they sound like live. The ultra smooth Bill Whithers has amazing perfect studio sides but his live record is so cool and alive with his personality. Same with Townes Van Zandt live at the Old Quarter, the personality is there.

Hank Williams Just him and a guitar record is absolutly riviting. Magic Sam has a record with him on the porch with an amp and a guitar , died way too young, just amazing.

Genesis The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway live is like a whole nother band. The studio stuff pales too me. The live offf the hook intencity.

James Brown Live At The Apollo!!!!!!

Posted on Feb 18, 2013, 3:11:24 AM PST
Grandpa Tom says:
Don't artists play pre-recorded portions at their "Live" performances? My wife and I attended Boz Scaggs' performance in Minneapolis a couple years ago, and the many Silk Degrees songs, (and others also), had portions that sounded EXACTLY like the albums.

If it is indeed the case that artists play along with recorded parts, might as well save the hundreds of dollars and play the concert DVD or listen to the studio versions.

In reality, Boz's Boz Scaggs - Greatest Hits Live is MUCH more enjoyable watching at home than the totally uninspired live performance at the old, smelly, dirty State Theater.

Posted on Feb 18, 2013, 11:41:16 AM PST
Mikal says:
I like dance music & pop music artists (you can crucify me!) so for me the studio album is the best in terms of sound quality.
I'm a big fan of Madonna (well prior to 2012!), and in her case its a mixed bag. Madonna has put on some Amazing Live concerts 'Blond Ambition 90', "The Girlie Show 93", "The Confessions Tour 2006" were especially great, however Madonna does use a lot of 'bells & whistles' in her tours & sometimes she lip-syncs (when Madonna's voice sounds note perfect & like its from the studio you know she's faking it!) & at other times she sings for real (With varied results- Madonna sounds best live when she's really singing & standing still!).

Posted on Feb 18, 2013, 12:40:25 PM PST
Chazzzbo says:
It really is subjective to the artist's intentions. Some want to be known strictly for their songwriting, some for their ability to connect to an audience, some wish to create aural landscapes that transport the listener to somewhere else. There really isn't a one size fits all answer...

Posted on Feb 18, 2013, 3:49:44 PM PST
scoutyjones says:
If they can't bring it live, then I won't go to see them and will think lesser of them as an artist/musician. With all the electronic foolery, if you can't sing it or play it without these PED's, you aren't a very good artist/musician. Enough with the lip syncing live, Milli Vanilli, studio artists. Anyone can enhance their sound to be good enough on a record, but when they can't bring it live with spirit and feeling and solid musicianship, then they go down a huge peg or two in my book...It's the music, not the showmanship or the enhancements. It's the feeling they bring to the stage and in the moment...not the overproduced studio stuff

Posted on Feb 18, 2013, 5:25:15 PM PST
Chazzzbo says:
For many bands I would agree, but I can't say that the Beatles were "lesser" simply because they couldn't pull off "I Am The Walrus" or "...Mr. Kite" in a live setting. Nor does that make these songs a lesser art. I'm not talking about auto-tune or enhancements that correct poor performance, but legitimate studio artistic effort that produces something that's virtually impossible to recreate live.

Posted on Feb 18, 2013, 7:42:22 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Apr 18, 2014, 8:48:38 PM PDT]
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Discussion in:  Music forum
Participants:  24
Total posts:  37
Initial post:  Feb 16, 2013
Latest post:  Mar 16, 2013

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