Talking Heads at the Keystone, Berkeley, CA, December 9, 1977. Photo Hugh Brown /Smithsonian Books
Listening to an album from bands like Blondie, Iggy and the Stooges or The Clash simply cannot compare to seeing them live, because these bands put on a stage show that's even more exciting than their music.
And while seeing a photograph of a band performing live still doesn't compare to the real deal you can throw on one of their records and stare at the photos and pretend you're actually there seeing them live.
Blondie at CBGB, New York City, 1976. Photo Roberta Bayley /Smithsonian Books
This is what I used to call the "living room venue" experience whenever I couldn't afford to go to a show, and before we all had smartphones in our pockets we could use to record the show this somehow lessened the heartbreak.
Iggy Pop at the Whisky a Go Go, West Hollywood, CA, July 1974. Photo James Fortune /Smithsonian Books
So if you're a fellow living room venue enthusiast you're gonna dig the collection of rare concert photos found in the Smithsonian's new book Smithsonian Rock and Roll: Live and Unseen:
In December 2015, the Smithsonian Institution began an ambitious crowdsourced history of rock ’n’ roll photography, calling on music fans to contribute their amateur and pro photos, launching the web site rockandroll.si.edu as a one-stop for accepting and displaying shooters’ submissions.
The book is a pretty great cull of the best the collection had to offer, full of photos rarely or never seen by the public, chronologically arranged, and dating back to the dawn of the rock era. Some of them are real jaw-droppers, like the concert shot of Richie Valens taken hours before his death, Otis Redding drenched in sweat at the Whiskey a Go Go, Sly Stone looking like a goddamn superhero at the Aragon Ballroom in 1974.
Bill Lordan and Sly Stone at Balboa Stadium, San Diego, September 7, 1974. Photo Gary Kieth Morgan /Smithsonian Books
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