One of the biggest “alternative rock” bands to come out of the 1990’s, +LIVE+, stopped at DC’s 9:30 Club recently, and I was there taking photos and reliving a bit of my early teenager years. Live is out on tour again following their 2016 reunion, and the band played an amazing set of songs in front of a frenzied sold-out crowd at DC’s historic venue on September 16, 2019. The 2016 reunion of Live has been well-received by critics and fans alike. The reunion has given the fans a chance to see the band again and/or for the first time and gave the band themselves an opportunity to celebrate this year’s 25th anniversary of, Throwing Copper.
The fans were packed tightly for this show. Not much room to move without bumping into someone or stepping on somebody’s feet. I was unfortunately restricted to a sliver of space in the photo pit, stage left. Not the best angle or distance. It didn’t matter though. The second Live hit the stage I was transported to another place in space and time. The band wasted no time and leveled the audience with a barrage of Live classics and fans favorites. It was an intense, emotional experience for most in attendance. There were people laughing, crying, hugging, swaying, singing, dancing, and rejoicing in musical and emotional liberation. It was beautiful.
Noteworthy songs Live played at 9:30 Club this go around included; “Selling the Drama,” “Shit Towne,” “The Beauty of Gray,” “Lightning Crashes,” “I Alone,” “Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition),” “White, Discussion,” and “Lakini’s Juice.” During their performance frontman Ed Kowalczyk commented to the crowd, “this is our 15th time playing at the 9:30 Club in DC.” The band also treated the fans to excellent cover versions of The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” and R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.”
Live is without a doubt one of the handful of bands from the 90’s who were hugely popular across the musical landscape. It didn’t seem to matter who you were or what music you normally liked — you liked at least a couple Live songs or you were tone deaf. It seems that just about every major genre has a few artists that break the mold and appeal to almost anyone who appreciates good music. Live is one of those bands. There are little bits of gold in their music for all listeners.
Live’s debut album, and still my personal favorite by the band, Mental Jewelry, is not to be overlooked, but with Live’s 1994 album, Throwing Copper, the Pennsylvania natives were thrust into the limelight. Live had hit a sonic grand slam with their sophomore release. Throwing Copper sold eight-times platinum and produced four Top 10 songs, including the No. 1 hits “Lightning Crashes” and “Selling the Drama.” The album also produced the radio and television-friendly hits “I Alone” and “All Over You.” However, in 2009 Live’s frontman Ed Kowalczyk took a hiatus, forcing the rest of the band — guitarist Chad Taylor, bassist Patrick Dahlheimer and drummer Chad Gracey — to do likewise. Bummer, but their story doesn’t end there.
Thankfully the dust has settled, and all wounds appear to have been healed. The reunited Live have been basking in the limelight once again. The band recently released a “super deluxe” edition of Throwing Copper, which includes the previously unreleased song “Susquehanna” from the album’s original sessions. Live also released new music; an EP in 2018 titled, Local 717.
If you are at all into classic rock or “alternative” music, Live is a band worth seeing in concert. I’m glad I did. They have made a well-deserved triumphant return and appear to be happier than ever and are performing better than ever. Live have been out there reminding audiences worldwide that they are still a potent live act (no pun intended).
Luckily for some concert-goers the band still have shows remaining on their North American tour. Be sure to check Live’s Official Website for all remaining tour dates and other info about the band. They have been rocking crowds everywhere.
Here are some more photos of Live performing to a sold-out crowd at 9:30 Club in DC on September 16, 2019. These photos were originally taken while on assignment for These Subtle Sounds. All images copyright and courtesy of Andy Jillson. All images are the property of Andy Jillson.
Stream these great 90’s albums by Live on Spotify: