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
Tom Petty / George Rose/GettyImages
6 of 6

Public Image Limited - Live In Tokyo

This 1983 live album does have a decent claim to fame. It’s reported to be the first-ever digitally recorded live album. This is one of the reasons it's Live In Tokyo, making use of the most up-to-date recording technology of the time. It’s a shame the tech couldn’t rescue what is a pretty dire performance from the band.

When it says Public Image Limited, this is one of those scenarios where you have to look to see who is still in the band. From the original line up only John Lydon remains and even he is half-hearted on the disc. The band definitely lacks the guitar sounds of Keith Levene and Jan Wobble on bass. 

Songs from the 1960s that have no business being great but are. dark. Next. Songs from the 1960s that have no business being great but are

Lydon led this version of PIL on a tour of Japan back in 1983. The drive for a live album was purely about the new technology more than a compelling musical reason. Their first live release Paris au Printemps had only been released three years earlier. 

The sound quality from the album is excellent, but sadly just enhances the basic level of performance put in by PIL. The stand-ins or replacements for Levein and Wobble are competent, but add nothing of any note. Perhaps if Lydon had been more vexed, angry, or even his usual irritated self, there might have been more spark. Instead, it’s largely bland churned-out songs and not even the best ones in the PIL catalogue. It's not an album to waste your time or money on.

More music news and analysis: