Live Is Back
'90s rock hit makers give back to their hometown with more than just music, and they are bringing that back too.
BY: Stephen Russ
Despite the apparent good the band hopes to do for its town, the announcement of a new lead singer won’t arrive without controversy in the communities who still follow Live. The departure of Ed Kowalczyk was controversial at best, but there was an air of sincerity that was unprecedented at such an event. “There’s no bad blood” said a clearly humbled Chris Shinn before one of the final songs, “I’m so blessed to be here.” It was a very real moment in the midst of a show that featured more rock bravado than you could shake a Les Paul at.
Speaking of the show, Live’s revamped sound featured a little synth and drum loops and the guitar stylings of Sean Hennesy (Candlebox, The Gracious Few), along with the brand new vocals. It was a risky move, but one that went a long way to make the show not feel like “Live and their new lead singer.” It felt new, it felt fresh, and by the way, the band’s biggest songs and their deepest back catalog are very, very safe in the hands of Chris Shinn. The show was extremely aggressive and energetic, channeling the spirit of hits like “I Alone” and “All Over You” as if they were in their twenties again. It was a sight to behold and one any rock fan could appreciate.
The only thing I can’t answer for are what the new Live songs will be like. What made Live unique was the collaboration of the four band members and the deep, and often dark, spirituality of the lyrics. Even though the band’s more recent releases lacked the depth that made them famous, Live always had a lot to say about the world. So with its core lyrical voice touring as a solo "Christian" artist, it will be interesting to see where the band ends up lyrically, but if last night’s show is any indication the band is most assuredly back on their feet creatively.
All that will have to wait for another day - what we know now is that the band millions fell in love with in the ‘90s is back with a new voice and a desire to give back to the people who helped them along the way. In an industry where greed, sexuality, and drug abuse often steal headlines, it is a true inspiration to see someone do something different.
Good show, guys, good show.