> Eh, no matter how well-rehearsed, a live band's sound can never
Plus IMO you're not actually listening to the music, you're listening to
the production. Terrapin Station, the Studio album is overproduced and
two dimensional IMO. Yes, I know it's a technical masterpiece. I know
the vocals are mostly in tune and the arrangements are correct, but,
compared to the live performances of the early '80's, the recordings are
rather flat and anodyne.
I do understand what you are talking about. Most musicians prefer the
recordings of their own material produced under sterile conditions. An
awful lot of bands kill the live dynamic and sound this way,
particularly if conned into using a click-track and painstakingly
building the piece track by track. Before long the whole thing is dead
in the water.
One of the worst crimes to my ear, is the idea that the band should be
able to play a studio track live and have it sound exactly like it did
on the album and that the studio recording should be limited to being a
representation of the live version. These are actually two very
different mediums, with very different creative possibilities.
Live, the Dead did avoid playing numbers like 'Box of Rain', largely
because they were not good enough singers, preferring to play numbers
which had more room for improvisation and band interaction, stuff which
just doesn't happen on studio albums with all the best will in the world.
Suffice it to say that my playlist is full of live Dead recordings
rather than any of the studio albums. I don't think you're really
comparing like with like. There are artists for whom what you say is
true (The most extreme being XTC, naturally ;) but I think you chose a
particularly bad example there.