Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Living Colour - Melbourne Tuesday 16/05/2006

Metro Melbourne

I will start with 'Oh my god!!!'

I will second that with 'Oh my god, oh my god!!!'

Last night in bed I couldn't sleep, I was excited about the up and coming Living Colour concert I was going to on Thursday night. For the past 16 years I have been waiting for this day, you see I missed out on their concert back in 1990 as I wasn’t really aware of them and just got onto them after that concert came and went.

In the 90's they broke up and my dream was gone....

Then a few years back Living Colour broke the separation and got it on... There was hope for me to see them once again. But realistically I had no hope, they were doing the US rounds, and the occasional European rounds but it seemed that Oz wasn’t on the radar.

That was until a couple of weeks back I saw, just by chance in the Herald Sun, the news I had been waiting for, Living Colour were coming to town. I do have to give credit where credit is due. A young and very handsome man by the name of GT was reading the gig guide when I saw the advert for Living Colour on that page. So I owe GT a huge thank you, thank you GT you are the king, thank you for opening the paper and making my life complete (you happy now buddy you got a mention, now you are famous!!! Whoop-de-doo) Now enough of the brown nosing, as mentioned when I saw the advert I was at work and proceeded to jump around the office like a mad man, so happy I couldn’t contain myself. The day was close.

I went scoping for mates to join me in what was to be one of the biggest events of my life. After a couple of poor excuses like I am washing my hair or I am out of the country (their loss) I managed to round up TB, Big Dan, Jo and a maybe from Little Pat and AM. I went and got tickets from Ticketmaster for the Thursday night show and I was set, the wait was over...or was it.......

I couldn’t wait, I was at the football on Sunday and saw Will Calhoun there, it got me pumped, I had to see Living Colour as soon as possible. Tuesday there was a show, I was going to be there. Arriving at the Metro Nightclub (where I hadn’t been for 10 years) around 7:15 I stood outside in the hope of getting a ticket with just 1 other fella, did I have the right place? Was there a show on tonight? Was my dream of seeing Living Colour just that, a dream? Then I heard the sound check, Sacred Ground was playing loud, I was in the right place indeed. The crowd out the front grew slowly and eventually reached a decent size, not huge but decent.

There was a slight delay in going in, the promoter came around and apologised stating that Doug Wimbish was not well and had food poisoning, hence the delay. He handed out some Vernon Reid 2006 Down Under Tour picks to the faithful. Awesome!! About 9pm we were let in, I was second in line so I had no issues getting to the counter for a ticket. But arriving at the desk I politely asked for 'One ticket please, can I pay by card?' To which I got the reply from the nice girl behind the counter, 'Nope cash only, sorry.' Arrrggghhh!!! I had to go and score some money. I only had $40 in my pocket and the ticket was $60. A guy I met in the queue, Sonay, who offered to fix me up, which I have to say was extremely generous of him, but I couldn’t accept his offer. If you do read this Sonay, cheers bud I do appreciate the offer. He was there with Claudia and both of them I found out are in a band by the name of Lucy's Crown. Check their website out at and go and see a show, if there music is half as cool as them well it sure would be awesome music.

Now back to Living Colour, I got some moolah and headed back to the show. I walked in, got a ticket, and headed to near the stage where I saw Claudia and Sonay again.

Gear, the support band, were on shortly after and they had some decent tunes. The fact I was so pumped to see Living Colour it made them sound better, but seriously they were not too bad. Couple of catchy numbers. Their set lasted around 40 minutes or so, then it was time.

Doug Wimbish, the bassist, came onto stage first to cheers from the crowd. Then Will Calhoun, the drummer, Vernon Reid the guitarist and finally Corey Glover hit the stage in a pair of bright orange overalls and a CBGB's t-shirt.

They kicked it off with a pumping version of 'Memories Cant Wait'. From that point on you could see and hear it was going to be a memorable night, especially for one little Living Colour fanatic just metres from his musical hero's, ME.

The band continued to rock and rock hard after that with the set list containing:
  • Memories Can't Wait
  • Type
  • Funny Vibe
  • In Your Name
  • Sacred Ground
  • Middleman
  • Glamour Boys
  • Open Letter To A Landlord
  • Go Away
  • Flying
  • Will Calhoun Drum Solo that was awesome
  • Love Rears It's Ugly Head
  • Times Up
  • Cult Of Personality
  • A bluesy interlude with Doug Wimbish doing some amazing things with that bass of his.
  • Ignorance Is Bliss

Their set list didn’t have Ignorance Is Bliss, they were supposed to play Crosstown Traffic which is one of my favourites but maybe at the other gigs they will mix it up a bit. They have hits galore so it wouldn't surprise me. Would love to hear Sunshine Of Your Love, Solace Of You, Desperate People, Information Overload, Talkin' Loud And Saying Nothing, oh the list could go on and on.......

Throughout the entire concert there was not one highlight for me, as it was all amazing. But some comments:

Doug Wimbish was unwell leading up to the concert with a stomach bug. Forcing what was a delay to the show, but once he hit the stage in his Bad Brains t-shirt and bass in hand he was just unbelievable. I am a fan of Flea from Red Hot Chilli Peppers but the way Doug worked that bass was something that words cant describe and that Flea can't match. I have never heard sounds come out of a bass like that, He was playing like a man in a trance at some stages, eyes shut and just 'in the zone'. Pretty much like making love to the sounds he was creating. Not sure if I was mistaking his 'in the zone' with I am about to chuck, but none the less he was awesome. One bass he had out there was a freaky looking long thing, I loved it. He also worked the stage and was a great showman with his craft. Sick or not he proved he is one of the worlds best bassmen and I have a completely new respect for the man. If you happen to stumble on this Doug, I hope your felling better, love your work man.

Will Calhoun was well what can I say but he was Will. I was so annoyed I didn’t stop him to say g'day at the football on the Sunday before. To be honest I saw him at half time and spent the rest of the game regretting not going for a chat, I searched the entire 2nd level for him with no luck. But on stage in his African style kit, he worked those drums like the energiser bunny, he just kept going and going and going. He had a couple of solo's where he proved too that he is one of the worlds best. He also had a couple of 'electric cymbals', there were two, a green one and an orange one which he could get a wide variety of sounds out of, never seen anyone with them before (maybe I should get out more) but the beats were kickin' and I want more. Bands out there if your not on them yet, grab some, they rock, but I guess you need the 'Skill of Will' to utilise them to their full potential.

Vernon Reid is a genius, no more needs to be said.

Ok I lie, not that he is a genius but the more needing to be said part. Vernon has such a relationship with his guitar I wouldn’t be surprised if the wedding ring on his finger was proof that he was married to it. How the hell can a man work his fingers that quickly and in such precision on some strings is beyond me. Any woman that have been with him must have been in heaven with those pin point accuracy fingers, for massaging their backs of course. :Þ Like Doug and Will before him, he is the best in the business, no exceptions. Various times in the show he, just out of nowhere, started drilling into his own world and working that axe like it was just an extension to his arm. In fact he didn’t even think about what he was doing, he just did let his mind play and it was bliss to the listener. He also did some laptop music with Will on drums that was kinda cool. Plus his little dance routines were funky.

Now where do we go with Corey Glover. As mentioned he walked out in a bright orange set of overalls, a CBGB's t-shirt underneath, and hair that looked like he was going to be starring alongside Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man 2. Now he looked like he had fully recovered from the gunshot wound to his foot that he sustained during Platoon, which we are all glad to hear I am sure. Corey let out some sounds that normal humans just cant make, he is a freak in the vocal sense. Now Corey if you read this I mean freak as a compliment, much like Michael Jordan is a freak, Corey you are the Jordan of singing. The range of notes you can reach surpasses any heights of a normal voice. One minute you hit one sound then you flip it to a new sound like Jordan did in the NBA finals against the Lakers where he went up with the left then flipped up and under to his right to score. Your energy on stage is much like Will, they should make new energiser adverts with you instead of the bunny, what’s the secret? You’re simply brilliant, plus like Vernon your little dance routines were funky too. Your the greatest front man in the business my man.

Now when four of the best get it together, it can only mean one thing. Musical supremacy. This was a concert not for showmanship (although it had it), it was a show for unsurpassed musical talent. Four of the worlds greatest in their craft coming together as one and showing Melbourne how to rock. You just had to stand back and enjoy, and enjoy I did.

As I left the concert I was walking to the car like a man who had just experienced the most intense night of bliss, I felt drunk although I was sober, I felt high although I had no drugs, I was high on the experience, I was high on life, I was high on the fact I have achieved one of my life long ambitions. One that I never thought I would ever achieve, to see THE LIVING
COLOUR live.

I will finish how I started, 'Oh my GOD!!!'.

Your comments are much appreciated....
PS. Living Colour are playing again Wednesday (17th May 2006) and Thursday (18th May 2006) at the Metro Melbourne. Friday 19th of May 2006 they are doing a signing at JB HiFi Melbourne, Bourke Street Mall from 12pm. Maybe I will see you at one of them.

What’s your favourite colour baby? LIVING COLOUR!!!


Anonymous said...

Great write up, you have made me excited about seeing them tomorrow

Daniel Muir said...

What a review. When do you start your career in jounalism?

Anonymous said...

When are Living Colour coming to Borneo?

Cool review Mr Walker ... was the song Memories Can't Wait a Talking Heads cover? (They were, afterall, one of CBGB's most famous residents). Sadly, the night I went to CBGB's, it just wasn't happening.

Let me know if Gomez anounce shows back in Oz and I'll cut short my trip ;)



Onski said...

Hey there fans,

It is Onski here. Just to let you know that the signing at JB HI FI in the city was cancelled for some reason. Sorry for those that made the special trip on my advise.

Mr Onski

Anonymous said...

Hey Onski,

Sonay and Claudia here from Lucy's Crown.
Thank you for the kind words. We did catch the wednesday night show also. Guess what? I managed to get Vernon's set list.
Great review mate. Catch up soon.

Lucy's Crown.

mambo said...

on a side note
what footy match was it?
and did Will look as though he enjoyed it?

i went to all three shows, absolutely stuffed, but worth the pain

thx for the great review

Onski said...


Will was at the Kangaroos Vs Adelaide match at Telstra Dome. I confirmed this with the promoter who said he was there with him.

When I saw Will he was walking past the food stall behind the stand on Level 2 at half time. As I spent the rest of the half looking for him on the entire 2nd Level with no luck.

I assume that he found it boring and left, and I wouldnt have blamed him.

(I am a Brisbane Lions fan and didnt care about the game myself but went along cause I had free tickets).

Cheers for the comment Mambo, love to hear from all the Living Colour family out there, spread the word.

mambo said...


I'm a lions fan too.

Good on Will for checking out the local game.


Jizzy said...

Man I can't believe I missed these guys coming out here. I was reading your nin review and noticed this mentioned. I looked at the setlist and I'm so sad now.

Onski said...

Here is an article from The Age

Hard rockers back for on-the-fly gigs


By Patrick Donovan
May 17, 2006

American hard rock band Living Colour broke onto the scene in the late '80s with the hit Cult of Personality, which attacked our fascination with celebrity and analysed the rise of political leaders.

The band will perform the Grammy award-winning song in Melbourne this week as part of its spontaneous whirlwind tour — at a time when the public's fascination with celebrity has reached saturation point.

"That song is not so much about the people, but the energy that creates the attraction, the fame and the popularity," says drummer Will Calhoun.

"The world right now is in the age of mediocrity … Imagine if singers like Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye had an opportunity like American Idol?" Calhoun says. "Great talent comes from breeding talent, but these days it's easier to buy a computer and become a producer than it is to go out and learn an instrument …"

The band, whose hard rock sound was styled on Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone and Santana, signed to Epic records after being discovered by Mick Jagger, but split in 1995 after four albums. It reformed for 2003's Collideoscope, which incorporated hip hop, drum 'n' bass, and indigenous sounds and addressed issues such as land rights, immigration and 9/11.

With only a week's notice, the band chose to play three consecutive nights at the Metro Nightclub. It is the first time a big-name artist has played a series of spontaneous shows in Melbourne since Prince's 2004 tour. And the band's old fans will be hard-pressed to find something more entertaining this week in Melbourne.

"It's good for both of us," says Calhoun. "For the artist, it's good to show up in front of an audience at short notice, on the fly. We can't take anything for granted — we don't have posters all over town, the radio's not playing our new record — so we've just got our live show to impress people.

Living Colour play the Metro tonight and tomorrow.

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Anonymous said...

wayne said...

Only just found this review.

I was lucky enough to be at this gig and yes... WOW!!!!!!!

Spoke to Vernon the other day on Twitter and he said another tour down under in 2010.

Finger's crossed.


Onski said...

Cheers Wayne.

It was a dream for me to see them, I saw it as a once in a lifetime oppourtunity here in Aus (even though i went to two of the shows), but I wouldnt say no if they decided to visit our fair shores again. Check out my blog I have a review of both concerts and also when Fishbone came to town.