“Kicking Television” — the title of a live album by the band Wilco — doesn’t have the pop cultural resonance of, say, “At Budokan” or “Frampton Comes Alive.” But by any contemporary measure, it’s a success. Creatively, it’s a vibrant recording that touches on different eras in a notable band’s career. Commercially, it sold 135,000 copies, a strong number these days. And a pricey vinyl version released recently was snapped up by fans.
But compare that to the gold standard by Peter Frampton, who brings his live show to the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach on Tuesday, opening for Yes. “Frampton Comes Alive” has sold more than 6 million copies since 1976; Cheap Trick’s “At Budokan” has sold more than 3 million since in 1978.
The live album, once an obligatory component of a band’s discography and in some cases, a defining work, doesn’t seem as culturally prevalent as it did 35 years ago.