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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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2. Metallica "Seattle" 1989

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

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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.

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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

    Good list. But it is missing Iron Maiden.
    Yeah, I miss Maiden - Live After Death too. And Scorpions - World Wide Live And AC/DC - Live in Donigton
    This was also the first performance of a band like Led Zeppelin that in a place like the Royal Albert Hall. So, imagine the excitement in that time of playing in a place like that, it represents the beginning of a new era in music :')
    Sorry for the gramamar... but you get my point
    i like chicken nuggets
    I like chicken Mcnuggets. And I like to get a spercial toy in every happy meal!
    Sometimes when I'm bored I lay on the floor and imagine I'm a cookie crumb.
    How'd I get a downvote on my last comment?
    because youre trying too hard... enough about chicken nuggets, the first comment was funny enough
    Franko 316
    I gave you a down-vote for replying to get yourself posted at the top of the comment section.
    the only reason youre mad at that is because you were about to do the same thing and somebody else beat you to the punch.
    Dream Theater:Score. They had a FREAKING ORCHESTRA WITH THEM.
    i was walking by a venue where dream theater was playing idk how many months ago but the line consisted of fat guys with ponytails and cheeto stains
    Mr Winters
    Well if it was in America that's to be expected. When I saw DT in Barcelona most of the crowd was normal, respectable people, even parents with their kids.
    I love Dream Theater, but if having an orchestra with you automatically puts you on the list, then S&M would have to be on there, and would be in front of Score anyway.
    And it's missing the could a live recordings list not feature the Ramones?!
    This, so much this.. I'd put London on New Year's Eve on over Alice in Chains/Deep Purple. That show had such an impact on music and really helped the punk rock scene explode in England. Not to mention it was a ****ing amazing show with everyone playing their best.
    I love this DVD. DTS EPICNESS! lol sry if i get a lil to exited about it
    Why does every freakin UG list have to have Iron Maiden? Why are they so damn good?
    because maiden are easily the most energetic and exciting live band around? they're all over 50 and still more energetic than any band half their age. the fact that their music can make grown men orgasm also helps.
    Let me re-phrase. I don't understand why every list has to have Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, and Led Zeppelin. Seriously, every list includes most of those bands, and it's not because they're "the best." What ever happened to bands like AC/DC? Their Live at Donington recording is phenomenal. I think you're right in the fact that Iron Maiden is energetic. But there's a lot of other great bands out there too than Metallica, Megadeth, Maiden, Rage, Nirvana, and Zeppelin.
    When those other bands beside Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Megadeth, Scorpions, Black Sabbath etc., etc. give the world monumental live recordings and stuff, they'll be in these lists, that simple!
    wow, i kinda thought the who live at leeds was a guarentee. oh well, different strokes for different folks
    No Iron Maiden? I know I'm gonna get labeled a metal elitist by some of you idiots, but what the ****?! They have enough awesome shows to occupy half of this whole list ffs!
    Seattle '89 was one of the best setlists, especially in that time period...they really picked the best songs possible even though orion didnt make it, but understandable..great show!!
    Pretty good list, but Muse live at Wembley 2007 (HAARP) is still the first one in my heart, made my begin guitar !
    Likewise! When I watched Stockholm Syndrome and all the outro riffs they did it blew my mind and made me pick up the guitar.
    Also, even with the possibility of post-processing, HAARP was incredibly well-mixed.
    Same with me. Knights of Cydonia's intro was the first riff I ever played. I played that and I haven't stopped since.
    It's alright... I guess. This list desperately needs Live at Pompeii by Pink Floyd though.
    and a personal favourite of mine, Yanni: Live at the Acropolis
    As you can see, I love atmosphere more than anything else in music.
    Whenever a Top 10 article is posted it's always the same people voting for the same bands. owell.
    I go to this site a LOT, and I know for a FACT the Talking Heads did not get more votes/comments than Iron Maiden. Nothing against the Talking Heads, of course. I'm just saying.
    I mean, it's Iron ****ing Maiden.
    Honestly, they should have at least got 2nd place.
    gotten* Okay I'll stop replying to myself now.
    its ok bro, i upvoted all of your comments
    Yeah, well, I downvoted them. This shit is annoying.
    If you ask me, Stop Making Sense should be #1. Also, I know they wouldn't have put it on here but Primus "Halucinogenetics Live in Chicago" is probably one of the best concerts ever.
    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
    Rainbow - Live in Munich is as awesome as "Live and Dangerous" from Thin Lizzy, who deserve to ba in this list too !
    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.
    No mention of At Fillmore East? Live at Leeds? Two of the best live albums of all time, and they don't even get a mention. Well then.
    Never heard Live at Leeds, but no question At Fillmore East ought to be on there.
    Radiohead Glastonbury 2003 is my favourite live recording of all time, another that I think are missing are Coheed and Cambria Neverender and Sigur Rs Heima, also if you want muse on the list Hullabaloo is way better than HAARP, just saying.
    Radiohead never cease to put on an amazing show. One of my favourite live sets of theirs is the Live At The Le Reservoir. The acoustic one with I'm pretty sure just Jonny and Thom. Maybe Colin was there too. I can't remember. The acoustic version of I Might Be Wrong though. So good.
    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.
    Bullet in a Bible should have been there
    The chop-chop-chop editing of that DVD is almost sickening. It was indeed a great show, but not being able to hold any frame for more than 2-3 seconds was a bad decision. I know attention spans are shorter nowadays, but come the **** on!
    Between the buried and me: Colors Live? i know its not Mainstream but that is the best live show i have ever seen. sound and image wise.
    Colors Live is one of my favourite live DVD's I own. Their musicianship is just truly incredible.
    I know it's all subjective, and it's only my opinion, but Muse's "H.A.A.R.P." show at Wembley was one hell of a rockin show... Also NIN's "Beside You In Time"... I wonder when will Tool ever release a concert video...???