Top 10 Live Recordings

Watch hours of awesome live footage here, thanks to YouTube and an awesome set of nominations from UG readers. Do you agree with the list? Let us know right here.

Ultimate Guitar

On Wednesday we asked you to nominate and vote for the best live recordings ever.

Rock is awesome on record, but it really shines onstage. Never has there been a genre that inspired so much awe in an audience.

We didn't mind if your nominations were for an album recording, live video footage or even a bootleg. Thanks to your votes, we've got a pretty darn solid list of live recordings to share today.

And better yet, YouTube has a full version of most of them. Perfect to listen to over the weekend. Enjoy!

10. Talking Heads "Stop Making Sense" (1984)

This concert recording was shot over three nights at Hollywood's Pantages Theater during the tour cycle for their "Speaking In Tongues" album, and was the first movie ever to use digital audio techniques.

9. Deep Purple "Made in Japan" (1972)

This was a double live album recording in you guessed it Japan. Again, this was recorded over three nights. Most of the band didn't like it, but late keyboardist Jon Lord said it was his favorite release of theirs.

8. Ozzy Osbourne "Randy Rhoads Tribute" (1987)

Five years after the tragic passing of guitarist Randy Rhoads in a plane crash, Ozzy decided to pay tribute to his talented friend with a special live tribute album.

7. RHCP "Live at Slane Castle" (2003)

This outdoor venue is a hotspot for epic live shows, and has seen dozens of the world's biggest acts grace its grounds.

6. Nirvana "Unplugged" (1994)

We all knew this would make the list. Cobain and co made their mark on TV history by performing this magical acoustic set at the peak of their fame, and surprised audiences with a set mostly full of covers from obscure artists. They found time to play a few of their own tracks, of course.

5. Pink Floyd "Pulse" (1994)

This double-disc live album was recorded in 1994 during the "Division Bell" tour. It includes a complete live version of "The Dark Side of The Moon", which is awesome enough, let alone all the other great performances.

4. Alice In Chains "Unplugged" (1996)

Just as their fellow grunge titans Nirvana did two years earlier, Alice In Chains hit the MTV stage for an acoustic set of their own. At the time it was their first concert in over two years, and the resulting album ended up going double platinum.

3. Queen "Live At Wembley" (1986)

Freddie Mercury's iconic yellow jacket was on show at this renown performance. At one point, Freddie addresses rumors that the band would break up. "Forget those rumors, we're gonna stay together until we fking die," he said.

2. Metallica "Seattle" 1989

Metallica performing at their peak. What more do you want?

1. Led Zeppelin Royal Albert Hall 1970

A deserving winner. This concert is probably their best known performance, particularly after being released on DVD in 2003. The whole set is incredible, with one highlight being John Bonham's historic "Moby Dick" drum solo. Essential viewing.

Top work from UG commenters there!

Can you think of other live recordings that have been criminally underrated by your fellow readers? Do you agree with the list, or would you swap a few entries round? Let us know in the comments.

315 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I think we would have to put all of Phish's performances up there. I think the Boise AC/DC Bag could make it onto this list so as it is.
    Glad too see Alice above Nirvana. I mean, not that Nirvana isn't good, just way heavily over-rated. (Come on people, Green River invented grunge) Also good to see Metallica not getting bashed. I do think this list needs some serious Maiden and Rush though.
    YET another terrible list. Some of these recordings are $#!T! great bands, but the recordings are horrible in comparison to many today.
    I'd Switch out "Royal Albert Hall" for 1973 MSG for Zeppelin. Also, Woodstock 69' ??? Maybe a G N' R concert like Paris 92" or The Ritz 88'.
    Ok, but where is the Hendrix's Woodstock performance? This website has a guitar in it's name, right?
    Diamond Dave
    I'm a massive Zep fan but I've always thought the royal albert hall gig is massively overrated. The recording is B-grade even by 70's standards. This list needs some Rush, Judas Priest and Maiden. Other than that Queen should have been top out of those 10 and Metallica should have been bottom 2 if included at all.
    No Iron Maiden or Jimi Hendrix's Woodstock performance...that makes sense...
    I'm surprised Clapton's Unplugged album didn't make it. That album is a master piece and is one of the best selling Unplugged album of all time. (If not the best.)
    Generally i don't like too much the top 10. But this one, I think that is awesome.
    Good to see that Alice In Chains came before Nirvana for once, Nirvana manage to overshadow them at everything else. Both amazing bands and good to see them both on the list.
    Can't believe Alive! didn't make it, but it's not cool to like Kiss, I guess.
    I like KISS but apparently Alive! was essentially a studio album with a track added for an audience.
    I know that everyone says that, but Gene Simmons brought up an excellent point: Casablanca was nearly broke at the time, so they wouldn't even have had the money to do extensive overdubs like that. Watch the concert on the Kissology DVD for proof.
    Read Ace's autobiog and even better, KISS Behind the Mask, all players involved (except Gene) admit to extensive overdubbing.
    Huh. I'll have to take your word for it on that one. Still one of the greatest albums ever - live or otherwise - if you ask me.
    Yeah, I'm in the middle of Peter Criss' book, and he said that it was just the drums and the song introductions that weren't overdubbed
    Yeah Alive is awesome, but the only things live on that album is the drums and Paul Stanley's song introductions
    Theres a disturbing amount of Thin Lizzy: Live and Dangerous missing. Not to mention KISS alive, ****ing Frampton Comes Alive, Opeth Royal Albert Hall.....must I continue??
    Alice In Chains Unplugged above Nirvana Unplugged? No ****ing way. Pulse should be #1. I also would have nominated Primus - Hallucino-Genetics.
    I'd have to put The Who live at leeds number one. Unfortunately it wasn't filmed. The Isle of Wight concert is really sweet too.
    Good list, but where the hell is Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival??? The dude literally set his guitar on fire!
    UFO - Strangers in the Night. My favorite live album of all time.
    Talking Heads instead of Iron Maiden? Y'all must be trippin'...
    Watch it first, its a great concert changed my opinion of the band they put on a great show, the list cant be all rock and medal. Alman bros live at fillimore east and Rory Gallagher live 1972 are worth a look also
    I could also have said the same thing about ''Hell Freezes Over'' about The Eagles. It's not about being all rock and metal, it's about iconic live recordings, and I do believe that Live After Death is more iconic than Talking Heads in this case.
    I have AiC Unplugged on cassette. Even that is better quality than this YouTube video...still glad to see it on this list though!
    Rainbow - Live in Munich is as awesome as "Live and Dangerous" from Thin Lizzy, who deserve to ba in this list too !
    Hell yeah tribute. That was one of the first albums I bought with my own money. I was 8 or 9, listened to it every single day.
    Yessongs!! And Phish should be on there but I guess its too hard to choose a 'best' show
    Great list but could use Live at Budokan from Dream Theater... my favorite live performance of all time
    No Live And Dangerous, Unleashed In The East, Strangers In The Night or If You Want Blood? Disgraceful.
    Best comment ever. I was JUST about to write and complain that SITN wasn't on here. One of the best live albums of all time.
    Psychedellic Sexfunk Liv From Heaven-RHCP Pearl Jam Unplugged Later...with Jools Holland in general deserves a mention.
    Johnny Cash - Live at Folsom Prison Lynyrd Skynyrd - One More From The Road (undubbed) The Who - Live At Leeds Thin Lizzy - Live and Dangerous Judas Priest - Unleashed in the east AC/DC - If You Want Blood Iron Maiden - Live after Death Motorhead - No Sleep til Hammersmith Status Quo - Quo Live Led Zeppelin - How The West Was Won And for a guitar site how on earth you can not have either of Rory Gallgher's Live Albums (Irish tour 74 or Live in Europe) is beyond me. Hell Judy Garland Live at Carnagie Hall is better than some of these I love Queen but Live at Wembley is not one of the greatest live recordings...end of.
    Dead Eye Dick
    Bro, let it go. it's a voters list, the internet doesn't revolve around your opinions, just embrace it for what it is.
    Lol it's all about opinions. You just gave one yourself. It's all just light hearted fun. Lists are meant to be silly.
    My son tells me that I forgot: Allman Bros - Live at Fillmore East UFO - Strangers in the Night and how could I forget Neil Young - Weld or Live Rust