Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Live! At the Grand Prix of Baltimore

When Live found mainstream success with their second album I was 15 years old.  Although I’m sure I still have an album or two of theirs in storage, I pretty much forgot they existed until watching them play to an eager audience as headliners of the Grand Prix. Their nearly flawless performance was not only unexpectedly impressive, but made me feel like a teenager again. 
Live has had their share of turmoil over the last few years.  When Ed Kowalczyk left the band in 2009 the usual rumors about money and creative control circled and a lawsuit shortly followed.   He was replaced by Chris Shinn, former lead singer of Unified Theory, in March of 2012.  But watching them play on Saturday, you would have thought all four members had been together for years. 
Their performance was tight both musically and in the way Shinn and the rest of the band played off each other on stage, the crowd eating it up.  When Shinn reminded us that Live was formed just up the road in York, PA, the crowd howled back.  Clearly many had made the hour and a half drive to see York’s hometown boys play their first show for some time in the heart of Baltimore.  Although it wasn’t exactly a reunion show, their performance incorporated all of the best elements of one:  High energy from the band, palpable excitement from the crowd and a set list that kept everyone including myself, who was merely a causal fan at the peak of their fame, singing along to all of the songs.  Their set was short but included all the fan favorites (I Alone, Lightening Crashes,  Lakini’s Juice and then some) and focused heavily on their most recognized album, 1994’s “Throwing Copper”.
After playing a few extra songs, the crowd and I were left satisfied and happily surprised. You could hear a group of hard core fans chanting “one more set” as the band took their bow.  When I was waiting for Lives performance to begin, I had little expectation other than to see a band I missed when I was younger.  Now I consider their performance, at the Grand Prix of all places, one of the best I have seen in a long time.