#792: The Summer of ’93 – Live Album Explosion

GETTING MORE TALE #792: The Summer of ’93 – Live Album Explosion

Keeping up with new releases is challenging for anyone.  Today, every band is releasing a box set, live album, compilation, EP, or even (gasp) new material!  This is not a new phenomenon.  As a young collector in an earlier time, 1993 was particularly challenging.  I was suffering from “live album burnout” due to a number of double lives that year.  I dutifully picked up the most important ones to me, as much as I could afford.

I plotted things out.  The first batch of live albums on my radar that year were as follows:

Four of my favourite bands in one brief chunk of time, with two of the four being doubles.  I had to budget this out somehow.

I’m not sure when I bought Van Halen’s album, but I most likely bought it first.  The dual CD set was at Costco for thirty-something bucks so I put it in the cart.  I know it was early in the year because I remember listening to it in the car while driving to school for final exams, which occur in April.  Specifically I remember listening to the live version of “Cabo Wabo” on my way there.

I found the Van Halen album underwhelming.  Too much stuff from For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and some clattering solos made it a struggle to finish in one sitting.  Sammy Hagar would later comment that the album sucked because too much of it was re-recorded in the studio.  I just thought it was a drag.

Kiss were (and are) my #1 band, so I dutifully bought it as quickly as I could.  I didn’t get it on the day of release (May 18), but I do know the exact date that I purchased it:  May 20.  I know this because I remember that we had to get home from the mall (Fairway Park Mall’s HMV store) in time to catch the series finale of Cheers.  I got the free poster with my cassette copy.  I chose cassette for strategic reasons.  Double live albums were a bigger investment, so I liked to get those on CD.  I was already starting to distrust the cassette tape format.  I’d hate to buy a double cassette set and have one of the tapes go bad.  Alive III was a single tape, so I went for that and stayed with that until I got a double vinyl reissue a couple years later.

The Ozzy was a limited edition package.  I needed that special grille cover with the two “tattoos” inside.  I couldn’t afford it so I put it on my birthday list.  I accompanied my mom to HMV to make sure she got the right one.  Killed the surprise, but also the anxiety of not getting the exact version I “needed” for my collection!

Ozzy Osbourne had already supersaturated the market with live albums, and his was tedious to listen to.  I gave it more it than a fair shot, as I wanted to really hear how Zakk approached the live versions differently than Randy or Tony had.  It was an exercize that paid minimal dividends, wading through minute after minute of numbing “extra extra crazy” Ozzy monologues.

I decided to hold off on Iron Maiden as long as I could.  The idea of a single disc live Maiden album was a little off-kilter for me.  An album of tracks from 1986-1992 didn’t sound all that appealing to me.  Maybe I should wait until the second disc, due in October, came out so I could listen to both equally.  Maybe I should skip A Real Live One entirely.  The album seemed a hasty entity, being released so Maiden could tour to support new product.  The cover art was also lo-fi sketchy, compared to predecessor Live After Death.

Good or bad, I decided to hold off on Maiden for the time being.  I had enough live metal to digest anyway.

Kiss was the only album I was happy with, though it was clearly an inferior offering to Alive I and II.  Unlike Osbourne, it wasn’t too long, and kept the filler to a minimum.

When the next batch of live albums rolled out, I was weary.

The Bon Jovi live disc came with a pricey special reissue of Keep the Faith, a limited edition.  I immediately put that one on my Christmas list and did my best to pester my mom into buying it.  I had to make a decision about the others.  I scratched Satriani and Testament off my list.  They weren’t going to be priorities this time.

As for the final call on Iron Maiden?  The decision was made for me when I found Live at Donington, once again at HMV.  What was this?  It looked like a bootleg, but wasn’t.  It had no liner notes.  Absolutely bare minimum packaging.  Nary an Eddie in sight.  It was a “limited edition“, and a double CD with a complete concert.  The easy choice was to buy this instead of the other two albums.  For the time being, at least.  I finally did get all three albums, when I was working at the Record Store, in 1996.  The Boxing Day sale enabled me to get both live Maidens and the recent Tesla greatest hits for a reduced price.  It took me three years to get ’em!

That busy 1993 list doesn’t include live home videos released that year (Ozzy, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Kiss) or the albums that I didn’t even know about (Live Cult).  I had to draw the line and audio has always been my priority over video.

Too much is too much, and in 1993 we just had too much.

Do you remember what live albums you bought in 1993?  Comment below!

 

38 comments

  1. This summer was recently reincarnated. November 17th 2017 saw the release of Black Sabbath’s “The End: Live in Birmingham”, Iron Maiden’s “The Book of Souls: Live Chapter” and ELO’s “Wembley or Bust”. I currently only own the latter 2.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Excellent post-Mikey!
    Being that I was already working fulltime in 93 I scored all of these as they came out. By that, I mean KISS/MAIDEN/OZZY/VH/JOVI.

    I got hosed on the VH not only the CD but I bought the crappy live video as well so they duped me out of a ton of cash. That album was a letdown man. Sterile sounding.

    Maiden what can you say run the well dry with the soon to be x singer at the time(Air Raid Siren ) I bought em all I like the tracklisting on A Real Dead One. People griped about the sound on them but man it’s live and dry. I was ok with it.

    Alive 3 I bought when it came out right away than a month or so later me and Tbone were in Winnipeg(to see McCartney) and at one of the record shops in the mall they had a deal if you bought ALive 3 you would get a poster of the cover.
    I made Tbone buy it so I could get the poster haha.

    Ozzy was a tough slug through. I was really looking forward to Live and loud as this was the tour I caught live in 92. It’s muddy sounding and I get tired off Ozzy going on and on about getting fucking crazy. Cool to hear it live in person but tiring after repeatedly on my CD player.

    Jovi I bought just the studio portion. I recalled seeing the live disc as well but it was more pricey.

    I basically purchased all of these twice as my brother was 10 years younger than me(Todd was 14 in 1993) so I would send him( since I was working) to the record store after he got out of school and get me the CD’s and I would pay for him to have the cassette version as that’s what he was into.
    Todd was my mule hahaha. It would be great to get home after work and there was a new release waiting for me!

    Man, this was a post in itself…haha

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jeez Deke you SHOULD post that. Why not?

      Shit if you don’t, I should! LOL!

      That Van Halen video…sucked. It just sucked. It was badly edited, Sammy wearing one shirt in one shot, and another shirt in the very same shot. I hated it and I do not own it.

      A Real Dead One still doesn’t really turn me on much, but also thanks to later live albums like Rock In Rio.

      Cheers Deke, you should make this a post.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. How many bands is Chad Smith in?? He and Glenn Hughes are constants, too. They love working together. Chad Smith gets to work with some of the best bassists in rock (though I know people who like to shit all over Flea, and Michael Anthony.)

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Well you know, some people always like to talk about what players they think suck, so they can talk themselves up. One guy was my customer, jesus…he hated Steve Morse. Thought he was just living in the shadow of Blackmore.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post… hadn’t really thought about all this stuff coming out at in that one year.

    I got Ozzy on cassette with the grille and tattoos… don’t have it any more though. I probably watched the VHS of that more than I listened to it though. Fucking muffins!

    KISS Alive III I got on cassette too, pretty disappointing. Something just not convincing about that album. I really didn’t like the whole Revenge era much.

    Maiden, I got the Real Live One (cassette again…) and it was just complete shite! Tried really hard to like it but it just wasn’t any good. So I didn’t bother with the other two until the remastered/Eddie Box came out. Still don’t listen to them hardly ever. Real Dead One is quite good for having some lesser played tracks though.

    Think that was it for me!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Right! I wasn’t interested in Metallica at that time. 1993 is correct. I got into them thanks to T-Rev, when Load came out. He got me to listen to the Black album, which I enjoyed, but I prefer Puppets and Lightning. And Load!

        Today I have Live Shit on VHS and DVD. The original VHS box, mint, perfect condition…you can’t let that slide out of your collection once you have it.

        Like

        1. Wow, so Europe never got the full-on Metallica box set? That’s unfortunate. It’s a really special set, because it was going to be the centerpiece of your collection back then. To find one with all the stuff intact was so rare.

          Peter the Rocker used the stencil and spray painted the Metallica skull on his car.

          Like

    1. I remember the Ozzy came in a cassette version as well, I appreciated that the special packaging was in all the formats. My buddy Peter had the VHS. I loved the grille cover. It was really good on cassette and VHS, when you could actually remove it.

      I know you and I have vastly different experiences with Revenge era Kiss!

      I will tell you that the SINGLES from A Real Live and Dead One are worth getting, just for the rare songs that didn’t make the albums. But you know that already.

      Like

  4. Great read Mike! That is ton of live albums. In ’93, I was working full time and on the road a lot with it so my music purchases were really limited…especially live albums. I didn’t get any of these (no, not even Kiss). However, even if I did, that would have been too many live albums for me to digest.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not even Kiss! Well I sure am glad you caught up.

      It WAS a lot of live albums to digest. I was trying to really explore the Ozzy and Sabbath stuff and I was comparing ALL the different live versions. I was really sinking myself into it that summer.

      Liked by 1 person

Rock a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s