In their 10-year existence, the band known as Live has developed a seriously devoted legion of fans who are as diversified as the broad spectrum of radio friendly rock they play. Ever since their multi-hit, multi-platinum selling release, Throwing Copper [Radioactive], Live's music receives airplay on mainstream, alternative and just about all other points on the dial. And although not quite as in demand and on top of the charts as they were in the mid-90's, Live continues to be able to bring in the big retail sales, and fill venues to capacity levels.
Currently on an extensive North American tour before heading down under to Australia, Live graced St. Louis with their presence in early November at the recently acoustically-improved Pageant. While the band is still considered a 4-piece with all original members, they've added two additional members playing keyboards and second rhythm guitar, who lend their talents to the recording process as well. This fuller, thicker sound is quite noticeable on the band's latest release, V [UNI/Radioactive], their most adventurous and experimental effort, in addition to their live concert setting.
Live's set began with what is both the first song and first single off of V, "Simple Creed", which led immediately into the title track from their superb 1999 creation, "The Distance to Here". God-like lead singer/songwriter Ed Kowalczyk, who looked quite sexy in form-fitting black t-shirt and jeans, and a recently-grown back full head of wavy hair, shook his hips in a circular motion in time with the "shake it all around" chorus. As expected, a very high percentage of the sold-out crowd's female members acknowledged his actions with some high-decibel shrieking that could have made even Elvis Presley jealous.
For the most part, Live's 90-minute show consisted of the better portion of their many well-established hit songs, sprinkled with a small handful of new material, most of which have yet to receive airplay. High energy, heavier rockers such as "Lakini's Juice" and
"Heropsychodreamer" featured Kowalczyk strutting his stuff all over the stage, while slower paced numbers like "Lightning Crashes", "Run to the Water", and the eerie "Voodoo Lady" kept him mainly in the center of the stage, focusing his energy on his unique and broad-ranged vocals. His rapping abilities were displayed during parts of the new song "Deep Enough",and the awesome intensity of the song "Dolphin's Cry" was a definite crowd-pleaser and concert highlight. One of their biggest hits, "All Over You", which occurred during the encore portion of the show, was sang with the assistance of many of the audience members. Also, John Lennon's "Imagine", which the band has done before in previous tours as a show closer, was instead played this time in the middle of the evening.
Kowalczyk spoke to the crowd on a few occasions, including his explanation before the band played "White Discussion" of how fans over the internet requested that as the older song they wanted to hear the most on this tour. A very sincere and heartfelt introduction was given to the evening's final song, the stunningly beautiful new single, "Overcome", where he told the attentive audience how the tragic events of September 11th have unfortunately given that song a whole new meaning. People swayed side to side in unison with lighters held high in the air while lyrics such as "the world is bleeding but feeling fine, I wish something would break 'cause we're running out of time" were sang. A chillingly powerful yet appropriate ending to what was a strong contender for being one of the best concerts of the year, by what is arguably one of the finest modern rock bands to emerge in the last decade.