Friday, April 10, 2009

Live music mix

I've been tinkering with my mix of live music for a couple weeks now, and I think I finally have settled on a lineup that works. There's so much good music in my DVD library that I haven't even heard yet that I'm sure this will be a double CD someday, but here's my first disc track listing:

1. Here Comes The Flood by Peter Gabriel (from Growing Up Live DVD)
2. Secret World by Peter Gabriel (from Growing Up Live DVD)
3. Lavender by Marillion (from Strange Bedfellows and Assorted Embarrassments 2)
4. Shadow Of The Day by Linkin Park (from Road to Revolution)
5. Jigga What / Faint by Linkin Park & Jay Z (from Road to Revolution)
6. Head Like A Hole by Nine Inch Nails (from And All That Could Have Been)
7. Open Car by Porcupine Tree (from Arriving Somewhere DVD)
8. Halo by Porcupine Tree (from Arriving Somewhere DVD)
9. One by U2 (from U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle DVD)
10. Hallelujah by Paramore (from The Final RIOT!)
11. Misery Business by Paramore (from The Final RIOT!)
12. Disintegration by The Cure (from Pictures of You CD single)
13. Time Is Running Out by Muse (from Absolution Tour DVD)
14. Take A Bow by Muse (from H.A.A.R.P.)

All of these are live tracks by the artists performing them in concert - some of them were taken from CDs, others from DVDs using the setup I described recently ("Dreams, job hunting and poker" - March 25, 2009). Mostly my criteria was picking music where the artist added something special or significant to the performance that wasn't there on the original studio track, which is the hallmark of a good performer. Here are some comments about each one:

1 and 2 - Peter Gabriel puts on rock concerts that resemble Broadway blockbuster shows. His two DVD concerts, Secret World Live and Growing Up Live, are among the best concert videos in my collection. The first song, Here Comes The Flood, opens the later concert with a heartfelt solo voice and piano, while Secret World is my favorite track, with its pulse-pounding dynamics.

3 - This is the only version of this song I've ever heard, and it's one of Marillion's most beautiful ballads which happens to be a live recording. It's a song Tara shared with me when I was still in Houston and more than any other song here, it reminds me of when we were falling in love.

4 and 5 - The Linkin Park CD/DVD is one of the most exciting, visceral concerts I've seen in a while, with a killer set list. Every song is worth hearing, and they even include three hidden bonus tracks that unlock if you watch the whole DVD. Shadow Of The Day is the first song I heard from them that I liked, maybe because it has a cool U2 vibe, and Jigga What / Faint is an encore with rapper Jay Z that has great energy to wrap up the show.

6 - This song I threw in at the last minute. It's an old song from 1989, on an album I used to own, Pretty Hate Machine, the debut album of Nine Inch Nails. But this live version of this classic song hits so much harder than the studio version.

7 and 8 - Taken from Porcupine Tree's only available concert DVD, Open Car includes an extra bridge verse that Tara says makes the album version unlistenable to her now. The live version of Halo showcases more of Gavin Harrison, two-time winner of Modern Drummer's Drummer of the Year award.

9 - The story goes that while recording the album Achtung Baby, Bono and the Edge wanted to go for a more electronic sound, while Adam and Larry wanted to stick to their rock roots. Edge came up with a riff that turned into this song, which saved the band from breaking up. U2's concert filmed at Slane Castle in Ireland is my favorite of the half-dozen U2 concerts in my collection, and with this song they added additional verses at the end that improve on the already-stellar studio version.

10 and 11 - Compared to the other artists on this list Paramore is definitely a lightweight act being so young and inexperienced, but I liked the way they covered Leonard Cohen's classic Hallelujah as an intro to their own song of the same name. But of course, Jeff Buckley's version still reigns supreme. While Misery Business is not one of my favorite tunes, it was one of their better performances, and both songs have not appeared on any of my previous mixes, so I made space for them.

12 - Disintegration is one of my all-time favorite albums, and this title track was taken from a CD single of Pictures of You, a song that reminds me of Agnieszka Prime. By stepping up the tempo and intensity, the band dramatically improves on the album version of this song.

13 and 14 - Time Is Running Out was the first song I ever heard from Muse, and I didn't like it right away, but it grew on me. This was the version I heard, taken from the special edition of the Black Holes and Revelations CD which included a concert DVD filmed in Glastonbury. For this one song, I liked their performance on this DVD, but in every other way, the H.A.A.R.P. concert DVD from Wembley Stadium blows it away. Take A Bow was the show's closing number, and I love the way it crescendos to such a tremendous climax at the end. You've probably heard the song recently used in movie trailers for the film Watchmen, which I thought was very appropriate.