As we noted a while back in our roundup of albums you really should hear in November, Sigur Rós have a live album out this week. It’s called Inni, and if it’s anything like the other live recordings of the band we’ve heard (like the transcendent Live at the Icelandic Opera House from 1999), it’ll be worth laying your hands on. And it got us thinking: releasing a live album is something that bands do less and less these days. In some ways, this makes sense — it’s so easy to bootleg and distribute live recordings and videos these days that the market for official live releases just isn’t what it used to be. This means that pretty much every list of definitive live recordings you ever read relies on the same old ’60s and ’70s records. In an attempt to prove the genre’s not entirely dead and buried just yet, we’ve put together a selection of the best live albums of the past 15 years or so. What are your nominations?
Spiritualized — Live at the Royal Albert Hall
Jason Pierce has been a man out of time in the 1990s and 2000s as far as his ongoing support of the concept of the live album goes — he’s been responsible for several fantastic live releases, but although we’re definitely fans of Spacemen 3’s Performance and Spiritualized’s Fucked Up Inside, we can’t go past the Royal Albert Hall album for this feature. The opening trio of “Oh, Happy Day,” a sublime version of “Shine a Light,” and the synth-led wigout of “Electric Mainline” are worth the price of admission alone; the fact that you get another 80 minutes of wonderful music thereafter is pretty much the icing on the cake.