Six live albums from the 1980s you should avoid

Some live albums just don’t work, even if they come from top artists. Some people may disagree with this list but these six are best avoided.
Tom Petty
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Bob Dylan/The Grateful Dead – Dylan & The Dead

Opinions are very mixed on seeing Bob Dylan live, some will rave about his appearances, and others will tell you how disappointing he was. It often depends upon his mood either at the stage in his career when you see him or at times his mood on the particular night. With that in mind, it's no surprise that he has some duds among the many live albums he has released. 

Dylan & the Dead was a six-gig-long arena tour in the US bringing two legendary acts together on one night, with the album to follow. The Grateful Dead would kick things off with their own songs followed afterwards by them backing Dylan for his set and songs. The collaboration sounds exciting, The Grateful Dead being renowned for their live shows, even if there was that question mark over Dylan at times. But it perhaps promised too much.

Dylan wasn’t in a good space musically at the time, with his career at a low point. If the tour and album were intended to rejuvenate all that, it didn't work. His performance on the seven songs on the album is pretty flat. His top-notch backing band doesn’t sound that inspired either. The album has the feel of a couple of acts going through the motions to a great extent.

The album was heavily savaged by critics. They don’t always know best, but they do get more right than wrong. They’ve called this one right by my reckoning. If you want to hear Dylan or the Dead live there are far better albums than this collaboration.

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