Despite the city being in the grasp of a stifling heatwave, Newcastle’s iconic Quayside venue Riverside is full to bursting early in the night. Blues rocker Jared James Nichols opens up the gig with energy and crowd interaction rivaling any headliner. He’s followed up by British band Wayward Sons, who keep pace with their own intense brand of hard rock.
Before Living Colour even take the stage, tonight’s crowd is giddy and excitable. When the band walk on and fire into ‘Ignorance is Bliss’, saying that people lose their minds is an understatement. Corey Glover’s singing cuts through the heavily distorted rhythm like a knife, and offers a brief glimpse into the powerhouse of vocals that are to come.
After the song concludes to screams and applause Corey, who is cool and relaxed in a chequered suit, announces to the venue that they’ll be playing ‘Vivid’ in full to celebrate its thirty-year anniversary. This proves a popular decision, and even more so when the band starts playing one of their biggest hits, Cult of Personality.
The classic has lost absolutely none of its energy, and bouts of improvisation keep it sounding fresh and electrifying. Guitarist Vernon Reid makes his blistering fretwork seem effortless and easy, offering smiles and playful face-pulling to the crowd while his guitar screams with wild feats of contortion and speed. Similarly, Will Calhoun brings the same style and fury to his drumming, and bassist Doug Wimbish keeps Living Colour safely in-groove no matter how far from the rails they seem to veer.
The set cruises through genres, and vocalist Corey Glover absolutely kills every one of them. Oozing charisma and charm at all times, he holds notes high enough to make a soprano blush – while faster paced songs like ‘Which Way to America’ give him a chance to inject some urgency and aggression to his vocals.