We're huge fans of live archival releases as we love to hear classic, previously
unreleased recordings of our favorite bands. While 2013 hasn't been a great year for bands
opening up their vaults in terms of quantity, many of the releases that did come out were
With that in mind I've put together a list of my favorite 10 live archival releases of
2013. Now bear in mind each of these releases were available for purchase by themselves as
opposed to the many "bonus" live recordings that were included in re-issues such as The
Who's Tommy box set or the Allman Brothers Band's Brothers And Sisters
deluxe set. Also, bear in mind "live archival" is different from "live." I didn't feature
albums that contained shows which took place in the last few years. Let's get down to it
and be sure to share your favorites in the comments
10. Widespread Panic - Oak Mountain 2001 - Night Two
This year Panic has released the first two nights of a three-show stand at Oak Mountain
Amphitheatre in Pelham, AL. While both releases are worth purchasing, Night Two's setlist
and performance is just ridiculous. The late Michael Houser was on fire throughout,
reminding us just what a force he brought to Panic's music. Miss ya, Mikey.
9. Jimi Hendrix - Miami Pop Festival
The Hendrix estate continues to mine the legendary guitarist's vault with varying success.
Some of the live releases haven't been all that impressive, but I've really enjoyed my
time with this recording of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's performance at the 1968 Miami
Pop Festival. Many of the hits are here as well as debut live takes on "Hear My Train a
Comin'" and "Tax Free."
8. Grateful Dead - May 1977
There were many GD vault releases in 2013 between the four Dave's Picks
installments and a pair of multi-track sets. May 1977 is a 14-disc boxed set
containing five complete shows from a marvelous year in the band's history. The shows have
never sounded better than they do on this release.
7. Phish - Niagara Falls
The most recent Phish archival release comes from the legendary month of December 1995.
Niagara Falls has one of my all-time favorite "Slave To The Traffic Light's" and
otherworldly "Mike's" > "Weekapaug" sequence, among other highlights.
6. Legion Of Mary - Garcia Live Volume 3
The GarciaLive archival series had a phenomenal year in 2013 and we look forward
hearing Long Island Sound featuring both the JGB and Weir/Wasserman. My favorite
release so far was Volume 3 which contains highlights of two Legion Of Mary
one of Garcia's best projects.
5. Neil Young - Live At The Cellar Door
The latest Neil Young archival release, Live At The Cellar Door, comes out on Tuesday and
contains recordings from Neil's six-show solo run at Washington, D.C.'s famed The Cellar
Door venue between November 30 and December 2, 1970. The release sees Young mix songs from
his tenure in Buffalo Springfield with tunes off his solo albums along with a pair of
debuts including the first-ever "Old Man." There's also a rare solo piano take on
4. Phish - Ventura
Earlier this year Phish released Ventura featuring pristine recordings of their
outstanding performances in Ventura, CA from their famed Summer '97 and '98 tours. This is
one of the best sounding Phish releases yet and contains one highlight after another
including a transcendent "David Bowie" -> "Cities" -> "David Bowie" segment.
3. Frank Zappa - Road Tapes, Volume 2
This year the Zappa Family Trust has started a new live archival series called Road
Tapes and each of the first two releases have been winners. We're particularly fond
the just-released Volume 2 featuring one of FZ's best bands ever (Jean-Luc
performing in Helsinki in 1973.
2. The Band - Live At The Academy Of Music 1971
At the end of 1971 The Band booked a residency at NYC's Academy Of Music that ran from
December 28 through 31. The Band employed New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint to compose
horn charts for their most beloved songs that added new life to these tunes. A recently
released box set pulls highlights from the run lovingly remastered by a team that included
The Band guitarist Robbie Robertson as well as a complete recording of the group's New
Year's Eve performance complete with a DVD and 48-page hardbound book with previously
1. Grateful Dead - Sunshine Daydream
After more than 40 years the Grateful Dead have officially released a documentary about
their famed August 27, 1972 show at Springfield Creamery in Veneta, OR that also includes
all-new stereo and 5.1 audio mixes of the audio from the show. This set has been a
longtime coming as a bootleg version has made the rounds for years, yet it's never looked
or sounded better as it does in this release.
Written By: Scott Bernstein