Living Colour – Powerstation May 11, 2017


Celebrating their 30th anniversary, Living Colour rocked Auckland’s Powerstation with a performance that left ears ringing and hearts racing.

Yes, they’ve been at it since 1984, but 30-plus years later, Living Colour still play with the energy and passion of a group of upstarts. What sets them apart is the incredible level of musicianship found within the band.

Guitarist Vernon Reid is undoubtedly one of the greatest guitarists of the past 30 years and it was a pleasure just to watch and listen to him shred his way through the setlist.

Then there’s bassist Doug Wimbish, who, thanks to his tenure with The Sugarhill house band and Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound crew, is one of the most influential musicians of the past 40 years.

Rounding out the band is drummer Will Calhoun, who got his chance to show his skills during a late-set solo.

Then there is vocalist Corey Glover.

Although he plays no instrument, as the front man, it was Glover’s enthusiastic and intense performance that made the show such a success.

The band opened with a version of Robert Johnson’s Preachin’ Blues, featuring some fiery slide guitar work from Reid, but it was Glover who really made the song their own.

I believe it will appear on their upcoming album, Shade, which, according to Glover, will finally be released in September.

Despite the strong opening, the band faltered a bit at the beginning of the show, with two false starts occurring. This was the first stop on this tour, and they were still finding their footing.

“We are in jet lag mode”, admitted Wimbish, before launching into Ignorance Is Bliss.

Among the highlights were the band’s cover of Biggie Small’s Who Shot Ya?, sounding even more relevant than ever, and Elvis Is Dead, with its brief coda of Hound Dog…which I would have loved to have heard more of.

They also threw in a bit of Police & Thieves during Type and James Brown’s Sex Machine during set closer Time’s Up.

“It’s been 24 years since we’ve been here!” announced Glover as they returned to rock the house with The Clash’s Should I Stay Or Should I Go.

Just before they played the final tune, they quoted Joe Strummer…

“The future is unwritten”.

That may be, but let’s hope it includes more incendiary performances by Living Colour.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Michael Flynn:

Living Colour set list:

  1. Preachin’ Blues
  2. Wall
  3. Middle Man
  4. Desperate People
  5. Funny Vibe
  6. Mind Your Own Business
  7. Who Shot Ya?
  8. Ignorance Is Bliss
  9. Nothingness
  10. Bass Solo
  11. Elvis Is Dead/Hound Dog
  12. Type/Police & Thieves
  13. Cult Of Personality
  14. Drum Solo
  15. Time’s Up/Sex Machine
  16. Should I Stay Or Should I Go