Six outstanding live hard rock albums from the 1990s

It’s another great decade for live albums. Here are six that will rock your world, with a couple extra that you might want to miss out.
AC/DC's Angus Young
AC/DC's Angus Young / Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/GettyImages
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Metallica - Live S***: Binge and Purge (1993)

Metallics is another band that has been prolific as far as live albums are concerned. This 1993 release was the first of those and set a very high bar for the rest. Initially released as a box set with three CDs plus some videos. The albums have 24 songs and close to three hours of Metallica performing, that's quite a collection. 

It’s by no means quantity over quality. This album-set rocks from start to finish. The production quality is high and the band is tight and on top of their game. The multiple disc format has perhaps allowed more than the usual, levels of extended chat and crowd participation plus some extensive soloing. That’s a plus or minus based on your preferences, but it does bring the atmosphere alive on the albums. Across their many live releases, this is the one to head for first. 

Phish - A Live One (1995)

This was the first official live album from Phish when it was released in 1995. Like many bands, there had been plenty of bootlegs around but the band hadn’t got as far as releasing their own live set. That’s despite many fans asking the question about when they would get ‘a live one’, which is where the title apparently comes from.

Phish is a bit of an odd band though for a live album, maybe that’s why it took so long to come. They are renowned for being amazing live, but each gig is quite individual. Each song seems to be played differently every night as extended solos, improvisation, and jamming sessions take varying directions. You don’t quite know what you’ll get until it happens on the night.

So that’s great in some ways as this album gives a snapshot of a range of songs the way they sounded at the various gigs they recorded. Or you may not like that particular version of a song as much as others. Such is life! The album went platinum and is one of their biggest sellers, so plenty of people reckoned it worked for them.  And for those fans who have particular favourite versions from Phish gigs, there is the amazing LivePhish online with every show since 2002.

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