50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time

Rolling Stone ranks the 50 best live albums ever, from Jimi Hendrix at Monterey to Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison

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U2, 'Under a Blood Red Sky' (1983)
50
44/50

44. U2, 'Under a Blood Red Sky' (1983)

A live recording that features real danger. When U2 played Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside Denver on June 5, 1983, the weather was so terrible that less than half the sold out crowd showed up, and both opening acts (the Alarm and Divinyls) canceled over safety concerns. That did nothing to deter U2 and especially Bono. In 2004, guitarist The Edge told Rolling Stone that Bono "scared the shit out of me" by climbing a lighting rig to wave a white flag during "The Electric Co.," coming close to live wires. But the real lightning came from this live album, concert film and the fog-shrouded "Sunday Bloody Sunday" music video. Even though most of Under a Blood Red Sky's album tracks came from shows in Boston and Germany, the Red Rocks visuals stand as U2's last moment of young, ragged glory before mega-stardom set in. "It was a benchmark," said Adam Clayton. "We could say now: 'Right, we've got to a point where we're contenders. We're at the starting gate." David Menconi

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