Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Live at the Gramercy Theatre

Chris Shinn
The rock band that came to be known as Live initially formed for a middle-school talent show in York, Pennsylvania. The quartet remained together throughout high school, playing new wave covers under various band names. Under the new name Live, the band recorded a debut album, 1991's Mental Jewelry. Live achieved worldwide success with 1994's Throwing Copper album, which sold eight million copies in the United States and more than 20 million albums worldwide. Live's original lead singer Ed Kowalczyk left the band in 2009. The band returned from a nearly three-year hiatus in 2012, with Chris Shinn, formerly of Unified Theory, as the new lead singer. Live is composed presently of Shinn and three original members, guitarist Chad Taylor, bassist Patrick Dahlheimer  and drummer Chad Gracey. The band's first album featuring Shinn, The Turn, will be released on October 28, 2014.

At the Gramercy Theatre tonight, Live came on stage dressed in black but looking like they were hit with a bag of white flour. The band introduced four new songs, but the remaining 12 songs were all from the 1990s. Live rebooted its mega hits, including "Lightning Crashes", "I Alone", "All Over You", and "Lakini's Juice," all of which were pillars of the nineties. The songs fused sometimes spiritual lyrics with heart-tugging melodies and rocking arrangements. This is another decade, however, and except for their nostalgic value, the songs sounded tame, dated and entirely too predictable. New vocalist Chris Shinn was a good singer and show man, but even the new songs were formulaic with obvious build-ups and safe bridges and choruses. Live's last three albums with Kowalczyk bombed perhaps because the audience tired of corporate-sounding hard rock, and the new line-up failed to further these boundaries.

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