Live in Concert (or, the fine art of preserving your musical credibility by keeping your shirt on)
I got to see Live in concert on Friday night in Denver, at the Paramount Theatre (which is a very cool venue, but I have to say the Paramount in Oakland will always be my first love!).
My sister and I were saying that we are kind of glad that many folks seem to have forgotten about Live (the venue was rather intimate, at only about 1500 people) because I still think they rock as hard as some of the bigger names from the '90s, like Pearl Jam, with some great quality songs and a unmistakable soaring voice from lead singer Ed Kowalcyzk.
Live has a new CD coming out in June (or already out for you non-USAers), Songs From Black Mountain. They performed several songs off of it, and overall it seems like a strong return to melodic/anthemic form from their albums past (my two favorite are Throwing Copper and The Distance To Here) after forays into the world of rap-rock with albums like V ("Deep Enough" was a debacle I never want to see repeated: "Does he run it deep enough - yeah - to take you there?" Thanks, Ed, for your compassion for my well-being.)
As they worked their way through some of their older songs, I was reminded of how much I love them and how much I listened to them in high school. Here were some of the highlights from the setlist:
Iris (off Throwing Copper, my sister rightly commented that this song is the audio equivalent of a heart attack)
Mirror Song (from Mental Jewelry, their 1991 debut)
Heaven (this is really a great song, the closest you'll get to church at a rock concert, with lyrics that I think are undeniably true. From 2003's Birds of Pray.)
They Stood Up For Love (This was one of the best songs off of The Distance To Here)
Run To The Water (they did NOT play this one, but we kept wishing they would, so I will throw it on here as wishful thinking. Also from The Distance To Here)
And new ones from Songs From Black Mountain:
Mystery (a striking song, which they will apparently be playing on the American Idol finale tomorrow night) and Wings
(to hear "The River," which I love, see this post)
Now about the title of this post. The most disturbing aspect of the show, for me, was lead singer Ed Kowalcyzk's over-the-top sexual posturing, swaggering, crotch-gesturing, and general badass-act. This is a far cry from the wispy, sensitive unibrow man who we first met in 1991. Yes, okay, you're fairly cut and sweaty. That does not mean I want to see your navel as you sing "Show me your love..." I found Ed to be a distraction from the music, ESPECIALLY at the end when he actually removed his fitted tank top and performed the last song and both encores shirtless, often while thrusting his crotch in my general direction.
Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about. My sister made the observation that his nipples were tiny, and looked like they were drawn on with a felt tip marker. So then I just couldn't stop looking at them and it was just all bad. Bad, bad, I tell you.
But the music itself was stellar.
Some pics thanks to Brian and Viki.