24. Ani DiFranco, Living In Clip (Righteous Babe, 1997)

Most critics argue that Ani's studio recordings don't even remotely capture the energy and presence of her live shows. So, go to this double-disc tour document, recorded, perhaps not-so-coincidentally, in support of her best studio album. Although most of the crowd noise and applause was edited out of the final mix, reactions like the *gasp* of surprise when she changes a significant song lyric in "Shameless" remind us that the very best performers know how to communicate with an audience. That rapport also allows Ani to open up her compositions to a degree that it seems like what was once in black and white in the studio now breathes with vivid, living color. With ample, fluid support from bassist Sara Lee and drummer Andy Stochansky (and, on two tracks, the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra with Doc Severinsen (!)), this captures the spontaneous, often-mesmeric vibe of being there like few other live albums in my collection.