Living Colour – 24th July 2019 – Newcastle Riverside
1989 saw the release of Vivid the debut album from Living Colour. At that point 20+ year old me thought that he’d never hear as big a game-changing album as Van Halen 1 as that had turned rock guitar on its head and spawned a million finger tapping Eddie clones worldwide. However, that day when I took Vivid out of its cover I was absolutely floored the way this four-piece managed to mash up so many styles in one single album sometimes in just one song! I was once again excited by new music. Fast forward 30 years and the band are back in Newcastle for their second visit in two years to celebrate the three decades of this landmark!
Opening up though they chose a track from Stain their third album which was the first to feature the bass playing of Doug Wimbish (Sugar Hill Gang, Tackhead, on u sound and more) Ignorance Is Bliss is as fresh now as it was then and from the off both band and crowd are up for it!!!
Corey Glover then announces that for this celebration they are going to play the Vivid album in full in order much to everyone’s delight and without any further ado Vernon Reid cranks Out that all familiar riff of Cult Of Personality. It’s weird at first hearing this ( arguably their most famous song ) so early in the set as it’s normally the big set closer or encore but as it is side one track one they weren’t holding this one back! Corey’s voice is just incredible he can go from raw punk emotion to sweet soul in a heartbeat and shows no sign of weakening, in fact, it feels like it’s stronger than ever at the minute !! If you know the album you know the majority of the rest of the set, Middle Man still as huge a song as always, the light pop funk-rock of I Wanna Know and their take on Talking Heads Memories Can Wait highlight the bands genre-defying releases but as always it’s that anthem Open Letter To A Landlord that for me stands head and shoulders above many many bands attempts at writing powerful songs ! Corey holds the crowd spellbound as he sings those first few lines before they explode into the body of the song “you sent flowers to the family but your sympathy’s a lie” is still such a hard-hitting lyric aimed at those in power and their reaction to tragic events it gets me every time!!
They take the album through Broken Hearts & Glamour Boys to its frantic closer Which Way To America via the funktastic What’s Your Favourite Colour but we ain’t done yet
We head back to the Times Up album for a beautiful Love Rears It’s Ugly Head once again showcasing Corey’s vocal before smashing out a glorious Elvis Is Dead and Type (with a little snippet of Hound Dog in between) which has Will Calhoun absolutely beating the crap out of his drum kit proving throughout the night what a fantastic player he is!
No solo spots for anyone tonight just the songs in all their glory mixing punk rock rap soul-jazz hip hop funk in one big pot with no fear. Here’s to the next time gents!
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