Though it's hard to believe it's been 25 years since the release of Vivid, Living Colour is celebrating its anniversary by hitting the road to play the album from beginning to end. (I remember Joe Satriani doing the same for his Surfing with the Alien album.) Luckily, the tour passed through Chicago. Due to business travel, I've missed several of the band's Chicago performances. Most recently while working in Seattle I missed guitarist Vernon Reid performing the music of Jimi Hendrix at the EMP Museum. Attending the concert was a must.
The night started with local band Room 11 who did a nice job getting the crowd into their groove. Shortly thereafter, Living Colour took the stage to open with "Preachin' Blues" by Robert Johnson. From there the familiar voice of Malcolm X could be heard and the beautifully vicious riff of "Cult of Personality" filled the room (scroll down for video). "I Wanna Know" was next and I can honestly say the performance of it was so strong it outshone the original track. Other standout tracks were "Memories Can't Wait" and "Open Letter to a Landlord." Though the entire album was to be played in order, additional elements from James Brown, John Lee Hooker and an incredibly passionate Corey Glover performance of "Amazing Grace" simply added to the experience.
The entire night was simply an inspired clinic from a group of insanely gifted musicians. The songs held up and some were taken to new levels with subtle changes to arrangements. After the final album track, "Which Way to Your America," Living Colour included a few songs from albums Time's Up and Stain. This band really is like a fine wine--they keep getting better as the years go on.We're lucky to have them around and still making great music. By the way, their two most recent albums Collideoscope and The Chair in the Doorway are fantastic.
I've been lucky enough to see Living Colour several times. The first was in 1989 or 1990 in Chicago. Though he won't remember it, I met band founder and guitarist Vernon Reid after the show. Even though I was a young adult I was impressed with how down to earth and generous he was talking music with my bandmate and me. All these years later, Vernon (and the rest of the band) is just as generous. We know each other a bit due to the wonders of social media but it was great to connect face to face.
|Chatting with Living Colour's Vernon Reid. ~ Photo via Don Rescigno|
Tour dates for the 25th Anniversary Tour can be found here: http://www.livingcolour.com/tour/
Check out Living Colour playing "Cult of Personality" live at the Park West on 4.11.13
Video via Nunu Zomot YouTube channel.
Purchase Living Colour's Vivid on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/vivid/id192967260
View the Living Colour iTunes catalog here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/living-colour/id517236
Visit the Living Colour YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/LivingColourVEVO