Waiting for Columbus -- Live? Maybe Not. Comments?

As an avid Little Feat fan and one who has been looking for a pristine copy of the MFSL version of one of the greatest live rock albums of all time -- Waiting for Columbus, I was excited when a new remastered CD version was introduced last year. The new version has bonus tracks of live takes which were not included on the original LP or the terrible abridged original CD version.

Sonically, this CD rocks! It truly lives up to the claim as being one of the greatest live rock albums of all times, or so I thought, until I read the rather comprehensive liner notes. It seems that during the recording of the album at live shows, the recording engineer didn't get good vocals from Lowell George and many of the instruments didn't come through clearly. So, therefore, Lowell George's vocals and many of the instruments were re-recorded in a studio and added in the mix with appropriate levels of reverb. Now, this doesn't sound like a live album at all. It appears that one of my favorite albums is not a live album, but a studio recording with a live audience mixed in. So it gets me to thinking about the whole live music thing. Isn't a live album supposed to be a recording of a live performance, so that the listener gets an approximation of the sound of a performer's live show at a particular venue? And what about the audiophile's quest for the perfect reproduction of a live performance on a megabuck system. How many artists introduce so-called live albums that are studio recordings with "sound effects"? I have many live recordings -- jazz and rock, and I wonder how many are true to their promise of a live performance. I would guess that Jazz and classical are essentially honest performances. I would however suggest that because rock concerts tend to be filled with loud amplified sound with distortion inherent, re-recording vocals and certain instruments is probably an acceptable practice for live releases.

I guess I would like to hear from those of you in the recording industry who might shed some light on this practice. Also, i would like comments from fellow Little Feat fans on this recent CD remaster of Waiting for Columbus.

Studio overdubbing is a very common practice for doctoring live performances. It's used extensively in rock oriented performances to fix performers' mistake(s), to obtain a better recording of a specific instrument (typcially a vocal), or to add an instrument missing from the original live performance. When skillfully done, as in "Waiting For Columbus", it's essentially unhearable and is a positive addition to the final recording. Any multi-track recording, one where individual instruments are independently miked and assigned to a single recording channel, is fair game for this type of studio manipulation.
The original release of DUke Ellingotn's "Live at Newport" was essentially re-recorded in an NYC studio due to some recording problems. The most recent CD release of this album uses a recently discovered 2nd source tape in combination with the original live tape and, for the first time since 1956, re-creates the live show as it was originally recorded in Newport.