Getting up in the morning, I felt I got a bad flu coming my way or maybe worse. After considering for what must have been the better half of a second NOT to drive to cologne in the evenings and soigne myself at home, I got up and inhaled, drank and ate anything from apples to aspirins that is considered to hold an infection at bay.
I came to Cologne's E-Werk at about 2000 hours. The joint is situated amidst german television studios, in which such famous bedtimeshorteners as the Harald Schmidt Show are produced. This show is an imitation of the american David Letterman Show and about as blunt and stupid, but in german.
2035 hours. The lights go out and in an oldfashioned way an announcer takes the mike and welcomes the audience and calls LIVING COLOUR on stage. From the very first minutes of the concerts it becomes very clear that discussing wether the reunion was a good idea or not, is completely unnecessary. Corey Glover, Vernon Reid, Doug Wimbish and Will Calhoun act and sound as if they had never split. The most obvious change in style are quite a few arrangements that include sequencers and drum machines. I already know these from Vernon Reid's solo album Mistaken Identity, which is a complete disaster! But with Living Colour there is a big difference which goes by the name of Corey Glover. His vocals really make the difference to everything this metalfunkcrossover band does. The evening's setlist goes like this:
1) Leave It Alone
2) Sacred Ground ???
3) Middle Man
4) Time's Up
5) Trance ???
6) Ignorance Is Bliss
7) Elvis Is Dead
8) Type / Police And Thieves Medley
9) Glamour Boys (Reggae Version)
10) (Release The) Pressure ???
11) Drum Solo: Research&Development by Jungle Funk
13) Do You Feel Alright? ???
14) Angel/Lost Halo
15) Cult Of Personality
16) Love Rears It's Ugly Head
17) Crosstown Traffic
18) Papa Was A Rolling Stone
19) Crosstown Traffic Reprise
20) 41 Shots
The songs I indicated with ???, I think, I never have heard before. They featured the most electronica ingredients and I fear that the new Living Colour CD, if there is going to be one, will include this development. But live I loved everything they offered... A high point was "Elvis is dead" during which Glover played the role of having sense and Reid played the fool (Which LC song? "I know!" ), who believes Elvis is still around. Excerpt:
Glover: "Everybody who believes Elvis is dead say Yeah!"
Reid: "Everybody who believes that the King of R'n'R is still alive say Yo!"
Glover: "They do not really believe he's still alive. It's just the hype. Wait a second... now, everybody who has a kangaroo in his own backyard say Yeah!"
Glover: "I think I've proven the point!"
There was no way for them not to play GLAMOUR BOYS. But when they did so, they showed their contempt of the song (or of the fact that it is arguably their most succesfull piece) by playing a reggae version, which must have upset the die hard glamour boys in the audience and by ending the song with a little deviation from its standard lyrics... Glover: "Why do we play this fucking song?"
During the ZZ Top-La Grange-like blues number I called "DO YOU FEEL ALRIGHT?" a blonde lady hopped on stage and danced a little, mainly swinging her hips in order to show Doug Wimbish that she was especially fond of him. After taking off her jacket and shoes, she fortunately stopped taking off wearables. Since this was no Monster Magnet concert, a stripper would not have been the right thing here. Still she made a lasting impression! Wimbish: "It takes balls doing this!"
CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC was a great cover. Enough Hendrix to recognize, enough Living Colour to stand for itself.
41 SHOTS was the chill out song at the end. A very slow song telling the story of a man being innocently shot by the police. The vocal performance was outstandish and at the end of the song Glover started to cry, when Calhoun hit the snare 41 times in a staccato imitation of gunfire. It was overwhelming and I HAD TO CRY TOO for the very first time in a concert! It may have been show (Glover played in various Hollywood films including Platoon), but it seemed real enough to me. Of course there was nothing left to say and nobody dared yelling for a second encore. They came out signing at the merchandise shop after the show, but my lung called for a bed.
Going to the concert was of course the right decision! But my body seems to be of the opposite opinion and punishes me with what my doctor calls spastic bronchitis and features a lot of coughing, spitting and blowing...
All quotes are from memory and are not the exact same words the artists used!
Buy their album "stain" at amazon.de, on which Doug Wimbish replaced Muzz Skillings on bass for the first time.
Later addition: I found out that "Sacred Ground" and "Release The Pressure" are actually bonus tracks on the Best Of-album Pride, which was released before the breakup.
2nd addition: Thanks to Kenneth of Treiber, I corrected some errors! Shame on me!!! Also thanks for the info on song 11...