Why the fuck Living Colour aren’t as big as they should be defies belief. But here they were, Mr Corey Glover & co right before my eyes, carving it up on stage, a musician or music fan’s ‘wet dream’.
If having an orgasm was like a maturing wine then tonight they peaked, sounding better with age.
Thirty years later, they are still playing with the kick-arse intensity & prowess that has seen their music & songs dominate music charts around the world. “Twenty ..it’s a fucking long time ago.”, mused singer Corey Glover re the last time in NZ, as they launched into Wall, before hitting the straight rocking Middle Man.
Glover was shrieking like a banshee, he gyrated and pulled grimaces that would give Laughton Kora from Fly My Pretties a run for his money.
Axe-meister Vernon Reid was equally animated with the flurry of arpeggios emanating from his axe, his dry but subtle commentaries were gold, even when the band got lost on the intro Mind Your Own Business, bassist Doug Wimbish remarked, “If you make a mistake twice, they call that Jazz.”
Funny enough, the notable absence of ‘softer’ less known hits Glamour Boys, Love Rears Its Ugly Head or the soulful Open Letter gave way to the more raucous numbers like Funny Vibe, Desperate People and a surprise version of rapper Notorious B.I.G’s penned Who Shot Ya, off their new e.p.. Its heavy guitar riff bringing delight to the moshers in the crowd.
I still remember hearing Cult Of Personality for the first in ’89 while working in a fruit shed in Upper Moutere, Nelson. I swear this song is still as sweet sounding as it did back then as twenty something year old, “This song could’ve been written about him,” said Wimbish regarding President Trump aka the ‘orange’ one, as the crowd went nuts on the chorus, Glover accommodating the crowd holding his mic to the crowd to sing.
The thing I liked about this band (and I’ve seen a few) is the excellent rapport with the audience, the spiels, high fiving the audience, this display felt genuine & heartfelt, almost like, dare I say it – family or ‘bros’.
What wasn’t cool was the drunken idiot up the front (lucky not to have had the biff) or the lack of lighting in the early part of the show which saw Glover in the dark most of the time. That and intermittent problems with his microphone levels were a niggle, however this improved and took the show to the next level.
Doug Wimbish was a ‘beast’ all night dancing around the stage, an exhibitionist bar none which excited the audience no-end giving them some great Instagram fodder, while drummer Will Calhoun was spot on, his beats on display as he did a solo before heading into crowd fave Elvis Is Dead, Times Up and the frenetic Type, its chorus, “We are the children of concrete and steel,” still engrained in my minds eye.
An excellent night ending with The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go which had the audience well & truly spent, while drummer Will Calhoun hinted they may return in September. Props to the guy next to me yelling out “Fuck yeah Will,” every time the drummer played (you get the drift).
Not many bands have the songs or the skill to play like Living Colour, lets hope they’re still around for a couple more decades before their times up