Social Question

john65pennington's avatar

Can a live performance be better than the original studio recording of a song?

Asked by john65pennington (29187points) May 27th, 2011

I have discovered a live performance that is actually better than the original recording. It’s on YouTube by handsmlake’s version of this live performance of the song “December, 1963 Oh What A Night”. Do not know where it was recorded, but the lead singer is Tim Stone on piano. Most live performances have at least one mistake and the arrangements, of a song, are different. The change of arrangements in this song has made it new again. That night was magic for these artists. Everything was perfect in recording this song live on stage. You will see what I mean. when you hear it. Question: Can you find one mistake in this live performance of the song “December, 1963, Oh What A Night”?

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7 Answers

_zen_'s avatar

100% for sure.

Cruiser's avatar

Sometimes….more often than not they are mere shadows and sometimes just awful compared to the recordings. Nowadays digital recording “fixes” and adds so much doing it live or even good is next to impossible.

Neurotic_David's avatar

In the classical world, I think the answer to this question is both no and yes.

From an audio standpoint, the studio recordings are so much superior to live performances, because they work hard to balance out the orchestra so you hear nuances you wouldn’t pick up on when listening live. While there are some legendary live performances that were put out on cassette/CD, you have to overlook the occasional crash, stumble, audience cough, whatever, that takes away from the music.

From an artistic standpoint, a live performance will often beat out a recording because with a good conductor, you get emotionally wrapped up in the performance. In the old days, we would attend performances with Leonard Bernstein conducting NY or Boston and he just drew you right in. You’d leave with a deeper connection to the music you heard than when you arrived—the kind of connection with music you can’t just get from a recording. I have vivid memories of watching Yuri Timirkanov conduct Boston in Tchaikovsky’s 6th symphony (Pathetique) at Tanglewood. He was so into it—so effusive and evocative—that you couldn’t help be swept away in his avalance of emotion. This performance was 20 years ago now. I remember it like it was yesterday :)

Mamradpivo's avatar

Almost always, in my experience.

GladysMensch's avatar

I’ve seen tons of shows where the band was amazing live, but their albums for some reason just couldn’t reproduce the energy and power of their live shows.

Hibernate's avatar

Depends on the quality of the sound AND the way the singer/s perform live.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Most cuts on the Metallica S&M CD with the SF philharmonic orchestra.
The live version of Pink Floyd’s “Money” from _A Delicate Sound of Thunder album.
Those are a few that come to mind right off the bat.

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