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    • jun

    Fan Review of Living Colour in Dallas, TX – 5/30/04

    Thanks Zack!

    Living Colour were 3rd on a 4 band bill, and in a slightly unusual

    setting: this was an anniversary party for Dallas radio station

    105.3, which is actually a talk radio station. It was an outdoor

    venue that could probably have held 20,000 or more if packed, but

    I would guess there were closer to 3,000 here to see Little

    Morphine Annie, Back In Black, Living Colour and former Motley

    Crue frontman, Vince Neil.

    Little Morphine Annie, a hard-rockin’, female-fronted 4-piece band

    were first, but did nothing to distinguish themselves in my book,

    so I’ll leave it at that.

    An AC/DC tribute band called “Back In Black? was next, and kicked

    off their set with the opening tolls of “Hell’s Bells?. The band

    did a solid job of replicating the AC/DC sound and their singer

    did a surprisingly good job of duplicating both Brian Johnson’s

    voice and Bon Scott’s as well through songs like “Highway To

    Hell,? “Shoot To Thrill,? “You Shook Me All Night Long,? “Whole

    Lotta Rosie? and more. The lead guitarist as Angus Young and

    lead vocalist as both Johnson and Scott even did their best to

    look the parts they played, so all in all I’d say if you need an

    AC/DC fix while they’re between tours, this is an act to see.

    After a short break, Will Calhoun led the Living Colour charge as

    he took to the stage to fine tune the settings on his relatively

    stripped-down white Sonor drum kit. Bassist Doug Wimbish joined

    him for a few minutes to check out his massive bass rig and make a

    few last minute adjustments.

    Moments later, the 105.3 staff took to the stage for some

    announcements, which were interrupted by cat-calls of “show us

    your t*ts!? to their female DJ (more on that later!). They

    eventually got around to introducing the return of Living Colour

    as guitarist Vernon Reid let loose the opening riff of “Middle

    Man?.

    Reid stood stage right dressed in fatigue-style pants, a green

    camouflage t-shirt and a straw cowboy hat with both the front and

    rear tucked down, which he used to virtually hide behind much of

    the night. As the drums kicked in, on charged Corey, dressed in a

    head-to-toe orange outfit that had him looking something like a

    cross between a state prisoner and a sanitation worker, but then,

    Living Colour is not about fashion…

    It’s hard to say whether it was the smallish crowd, most of which

    seemed to be there to see headliner Vince Neil, or if perhaps the

    Texas heat played a role, but “Middle Man? was the first of

    several songs to suffer at least a little from a slightly reduced

    tempo compared to the recorded version. Not to say it sounded

    bad, but the band chugged rather than ripped through this number.

    Next up was “Funny Vibe,? which saw the band picking up steam,

    fueled by the one-of a-kind power and precision of drummer Will

    Calhoun. Afterwards, Corey Glover welcomed the audience and

    announced, “By the way, I have great breasts,? a reference to the

    crowd’s catcalls to the 105.3 dj moments earlier. With that, a

    few dollar bills came his way, a couple of which were nabbed by

    security and delivered to Corey. With that, he dutifully lifted

    his shirt to give to give his admirers a peak of what they paid

    for as the band churned through “Memories Can’t Wait,? another

    song that sounded solid, but a bit off the tempo of the studio

    version.

    Next up was “Leave It Alone,? the lone song to feature from Living

    Colour’s 1993 album, “Stain?, and the best song of the night so

    far. More playful (or drunk?) fans continued throwing bills at

    Corey, a few of which did not appear to be $1’s, which Corey

    collected and even stopped mid-song to announce, “Shoot, I’m

    getting PAID at this gig!?, which gave the lyric, “I don’t plan to

    make this a career,? a whole new meaning…

    The middle portion of the set featured three songs in a row from

    the new album, “Collideoscope,? starting with “? Of When?. Corey

    Glover was clearly into the song and physically tried to pull

    Vernon Reid out of his statuesque pose off to stage right to get

    some interplay going, but only managed to get Reid two steps to

    the middle before Vernon broke free and wandered back to his

    comfortable position off to stage right. Corey strained to reach

    some of the higher notes during this song, which was another that

    was slower than the album version, but it was well-received and

    the band finished strong before launching into “In Your Name.?

    The drum and other effects of this song make it a difficult one to

    do live, but the band pulled it off and made this one of the best

    songs of the night. On this and the earlier “Leave It Alone,?

    bassist Doug Wimbish had ample opportunity to showcase not only

    his bass playing abilities, but his knack for creating other

    sounds that, well, you just do NOT hear from other bass players!

    All due respect to original bass-player Muzz Skillings, a very

    talented player in his own right, but Doug Wimbish proved himself

    an upgrade over and over on this night, which earned him his own

    cheering section off to his side of the stage.

    Next up was “Flying,? a definite standout cut from the new album,

    but another one that seemed a couple of notches slower than the

    recorded version on “Collideoscope?. This particular song didn’t

    suffer though as the reduced tempo only provided more space for

    Reid to showcase his tasteful solos and for the rhythm section of

    Calhoun and Wimbish to play with the groove, which they did plenty

    of.

    Next was more material from the debut album, starting with an

    extended and extra soulful “Open Letter (to a landlord? which

    seemed a welcome return to more familiar ground for some of the

    more casual fans. The more commercial sounds continued with the

    r&b flavored “Love Rears Its Ugly Head,? the only song to feature

    from 1990’s “Time’s Up? cd.

    At this point, Corey called out a thanks to the crowd and said

    they were going to do “one more and out!? which was followed by

    Reid’s lone comments of the evening, who addressed the crowd to

    remind everyone the purpose of the Memorial Day weekend, which was

    of course to remember both the living and dead war veterans. He

    closed by saying the last song was in particular for some friends

    of his, which I believe he said was the “61st airborne battalion,?

    but don’t quote me on that.

    With that, the opening riff of “Cult of Personality? sent even the

    Vince Neil faithful into a frenzy as the band showed no signs of

    being tired of this classic. Corey led the crowd on the call and

    response of the last chorus as the song wound down.

    Unfortunately, as promised, this was the last song, capping an

    abbreviated 10-song set without an encore. Nevertheless, this was

    a strong performance well worth my 3-hr drive from Austin.

    Despite a few of the songs sounding a bit slower than I’ve heard

    them in the past, let me just say that the beauty of Living Colour

    is that even on a slightly “off? night with an abbreviated set in

    front of fans mostly not familiar with anything other than their

    radio hits, Living Colour still delivered far more than most bands

    could even aspire to.

    As an added bonus, I wandered stage right immediately after the

    show and saw Vernon Reid backstage, seemingly with one woman on

    each knee as he soaked in the post-gig relaxation and took it

    easy. He never looked my way so I could get his attention (go

    figure!), but drummer Will Calhoun was gracious enough to let me

    interrupt the packing of his drum kit for a handshake and a brief

    chat during which he signed my cd copy of “Collideoscope?. Thanks

    Will, and also to the LC blog for alerting me to this gig!

    Posted by admin