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Have you ever been nervous before a gig that you have attended? Sure, there’s always some nervous energy, or even some nervous form of excitement if you’re looking forward to the act(s)… But I’m talking genuine nerves here. Because it happened to me for the first time a week or so back. New York funk-metal quartet Living Colour have always been one of my favourite bands, and I unfortunately was not in a position to have seen them live during their ‘90s heyday. So I was never going to miss them on their first visit to Australia in well over a decade.

To put it bluntly, however, Living Colour are now old. Lead vocalist Corey Glover especially looks it; having transformed from the spandex-wearing, dreadlocked front-man of yesteryear into the grey-haired, grandpa cap wearer of today. The very little I had seen of them playing via YouTube and the like seemed to suggest an overly earnest show which lacked energy and relied on high – but faltering – technicality. Those around me didn’t help the predicament, with a higher than usual drunk factor and many a googling youngster asking “Who’s Living Colour”?


Well, I must have seen the wrong videos, because Living Colour thankfully blew my mind. And it didn’t take long for the nerves to be shaken out of me, with the earth-rattling low end of their set opener – Robert Johnson cover ‘Preachin’ Blues’. Talk about a band in sync! These four could all be respected solo artists in their own right, but when put together felt like one fully functioning unit. There was Doug Wimbish’s prominent bass-lines (best served on ‘Love Rears Its Ugly Head’), Will Calhoun’s frenetic drumming (especially on the near metal of ‘Go Away’ and ‘Time’s Up’), and of course guitar maestro Vernon Reid; who absolutely wowed the cynics with a performance that was a perfect balance of showmanship and understatement.


Out front, Glover may not run the floor like he used to, but has adopted an ominous prowl instead. Meanwhile, his voice borderline shocked me with the fact that he’s hardly lost any of his power or range. Sure, there’s the occasional missed high note, but from memory, that was the case back in the day as well. And that versatility – which isn’t confined to just Glover, by the way – is the icing on the cake. ‘Funny Vibe’ is borderline funky rap, ‘Preachin’ Blues’ brings the blues, and ‘Cult of Personality’… Well, that behemoth of a song brings absolutely everything. Bravo gentlemen. It’s been far too long since you came down under, but that performance was well worth the prolonged wait.


Oh, and have I mentioned that Living Colour were only the support act on this particular night? There was still 90 minutes of Alter Bridge to be heard. I had seen Myles + Creed once before and came away surprisingly impressed. That was in a festival setting, however, and while they matched the quality of performance here, the extra time on stage did result in a little bit too much sameness infiltrating their setlist. Personally, I would have preferred more than the 4 songs played off their excellent new album ‘Fortress’, but they did manage to include ‘Metalingus’ this time around – making for a double of sorts for those WWE fans in the audience. Undoubtedly highlighted by the always fantastic ‘Blackbird’ (as well as a guitar duel between Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy during the encore), Alter Bridge’s set was as solid as their albums are.

Nerves, what nerves?





DaveyBoy
03.08.14
LIVING COLOUR'S SETLIST

1. Preachin’ Blues (Robert Johnson cover)
2. Middle Man
3. Desperate People
4. Funny Vibe
5. Type
6. Love Rears Its Ugly Head
7. Go Away
8. Ignorance Is Bliss
9. Cult of Personality
10. Time’s Up
11. Get Up Sex Machine (James Brown cover)

RunOfTheMill
03.08.14
Sweet, sounds like it was an awesome show. I'd totally be down for Living Colour if they came around, even if I've only heard Vivid. It's rare to see a band age well.

DaveyBoy
03.08.14
They were actually playing 'Vivid' in full a few months back in celebration of its 25th anniversary.

HenchmanOfSanta
03.08.14
That's a great Living Colour setlist and I would have loved to see them play Vivid all the way through. That was one of my first albums ever and still one of the best hard rock records of all time.

Kalopsia
03.08.14
sounds like an awesome show.

inb4 all the AB haters

DaveyBoy
03.08.14
Agreed Henchman. Taking away the 2 bookend covers (which were good themselves), it's a really nice balance between their 1st 3 albums when you consider anything off 'Stain' would be tricky to play live.

Kalopsia, there's just as many AB lovers around here, as haters. You might be surprised.

greg84
03.09.14
Great post, Davey. I think both Blackbird and Fortress are excellent hard rock albums.

DaveyBoy
03.09.14
Thanks Greg. And yeah, those 2 are definitely their best albums. 'Blackbird' dominated their above setlist.

tempest--
03.09.14
Didn't see either of these bands at Soundwave due to clashes, which was kind of annoying. Would have really enjoyed Living Colour. Glad that they're still rocking hard these days.

DaveyBoy
03.09.14
Even before timetables had come out, I had a feeling that Living Colour would play last on one of the small-mid size stages... Hence why I snapped up a ticket to the sideshow as quick as I could.

As it turned out, seeing Alter Bridge here also allowed me to see The Story So Far at the festival.

WhiteNoise
03.09.14
My friend and I were busting to go to this show but neither of us are too keen on Alter bridge. Looked like we missed out on a treat!

Lucky they've said they'll be back next year...let's hope they keep their promise.

DaveyBoy
03.09.14
Too bad Croc. I actually never heard the "we'll be back next year" line, but fingers crossed that it comes true.

WhiteNoise
03.09.14
I saw it on one of their recent Facebook posts. They're releasing a new album and hoping to come back on a headline tour :)

SitarHero
03.09.14
Daaaammmnnnn. That sounds like an awesome show.

DaveyBoy
03.10.14
Great news Croc. Their latest LP was actually quite good, so if they can at least replicate that, another tour would be great.

I still can't believe how this tour came about. It was literally some guy on twitter asking AJ to throw them on Soundwave and including both parties in on the comment.

Jom
03.10.14
Sounds like an amazing gig. CULT OF PERSONALITY!!~

Davil667
03.10.14
Living Colour is one of the best live bands I ever had the opportunity to see. Pure fun and energy! I'm a bit jealous to be honest... Hope they'll tour Germany sometime again.

DaveyBoy
03.10.14
Definitely worth the extra money Jom... On top of attending the festival that they both played at as well.

Great to hear you enjoyed them as well Davil. They actually surprised me with how fun they were. They're not as energetic as they used to be, but still right up there.

Green Baron
03.10.14
WHOOOOOA ADDICTED TO PAIN

RunOfTheMill
03.10.14
Damn guys, I'm not even that crazy about Living Colour and you're making me REALLY want to see 'em live haha.

DaveyBoy
03.10.14
A2P actually worked really well as the set opener GB.

LOL ROTM. Watching Vernon Reid go to work on that gee-tar of his is worth the price of admission alone.

Speaking of, I was actually shocked that he didn't change guitar once during the whole set.

Irving
03.11.14
Wait wait wait I don't think you ever told us why you were nervous, DaveyBoy!

DaveyBoy
03.11.14
When you wait almost 20 years to see one of your favourite bands & they now look rather old, there's that feeling that they just might stink it up... or start playing folk music or something.

Arcade
03.12.14
No Solace of You!?

DaveyBoy
03.12.14
Nope. That would definitely be an interesting song to hear live, but if I had to have 1 of that or 'Love Rears Its Ugly Head', I'd prefer the latter.

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