Live vs. Album Versions: Pleasant Surprises

I get very excited when I come across a video of a live performance that’s almost as good, as good, or maybe even better than the album version of a song. Particularly when it’s a favorite song of mine.

A lot of the time I’m afraid to even click on live videos on YouTube, lest I be totally disappointed by how the band sounds live. And sadly, I’ve not heard the vast majority of my favorite bands live.

But I was brave enough to click on these and I’m totally glad I did. These are amazing live versions of songs that are positively fantastic on albums, too. In no particular order and just as they come to mind:

  • She Wants Revenge, “These Things“. Here’s the radio edit, and the album version. I really regret not getting the chance to see Adam and Justin perform live before SWR split. (Justin is also beautiful.) Bonus: “Take the World“. Album version with a video most guys and some gals are gonna appreciate.
  • The Presets, “This Boy’s in Love“. Stunning performance. Here’s the album version. HUGE Bonus: “Talk Like That“. Oh my God. Here’s the album version. Someday I must see them live. It looks like a thrill. (Julian? Beautiful too.)
  • Lisa Gerrard, “Sacrifice“. My vocal goddess. I have worshiped her since I was a young teen. Album version. (Guess what? Lisa is also beautiful.)
  • Loreena McKennitt, “Santiago“. Pure magic – and that fiddle! Sadly I can’t access the live performance on YouTube in my country so that link is just to audio. Try the video in your country, though. Album version. (You know what, pretty much everybody on this list is beautiful.)
  • Mandy Patinkin, “Brother Can You Spare a Dime“. An old favorite song of mine and one of my favorite performers. I have seen Mandy live, and he’s phenomenal. Unfortunately I can’t find the album version on YouTube (the album on which it’s featured is very old) so you’ll just have to take my word for it that his albums are quality, but his live performances are truly outstanding. Bonus: Casey medley. (Also cannot find the album version of this.)
  • Beecake, “Drunk“. Now, I have also seen Beecake live, and this is a cover of World Without Sundays. In fact, at the show I went to, one of the guys from World Without Sundays was there watching Beecake perform the song (and seemed pleased). Beecake owns this song, in my opinion, and Billy’s vocals are so incredibly powerful that I think I held my breath through the whole thing. There is a video floating around of the exact performance I saw but it is punctuated by the sound of the camera’s shutter as the photographer was taking stills at the same time. So this is a much clearer version, and just about as good. To me, Billy’s version oozes the sensuality of the song. (And yes, that is Billy Boyd, aka Pippin the hobbit.) Album version by World Without Sundays.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t add this, as well. Lady Gaga’s performance of “Dope” at the YouTube Music Awards completely blew me away – like made me cry ugly tears. It’s very worth seeing that live performance. Album version.

There are plenty others that I’ve been happily surprised to hear are truly excellent live, I just can’t think of them off the top of my head in the limited time I have to jot down this post. Perhaps I’ll do a follow-up. 🙂

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