Even after the torrential down pour that ensued as the doors open, fans still came from near and far to bare witness to the biggest nostalgic concert event of the year. As the rain slowly continues to come down people are still finding their way to their seats and that’s when the chatter starts of fans reminiscing of when they first heard the Throwing Copper album. One woman had talked about seeing the video for “I Alone” on MTV for the first time (yes younger readers, MTV at one point was predominately music videos… hence Music TeleVision). There was also a group of guys standing with beers and one of them had said “Lightning Crashes” was the first song I ever learned on the guitar. I myself remember being in 7th grade when the album came out and it blew me away that one record could have had so many great songs and it. And it was also at that time, I had bootlegged my first cassette tape from a friends CD of Throwing Copper.
While standing just below center stage there was a loud BOOM that exploded through the monitors, so loud I could feel it in my chest. As the loud thundering bass became more and more frequent, the display screens started to light up, showing what looked like an illustration of an abandoned town. After a couple more thunder and lighting hits, a hand emerges from the left side of the screen and it was at that point the the audience and myself realized it was the album cover of Throwing Copper forming right in front of us. When the final image comes together, the band start to take the stage singer Ed Kowalczyk walks out with aviator sunglasses and New Orleans baseball hat. As the crowd cheer and show their excitement, Ed grabs a tambourine off the drum riser and chimes in with the bands jam session which leads right into “All Over You” and the building erupts!
The band could not have stared off the show on a higher note. Opening with one of the biggest hits off of their biggest album set the pace for what would become an incredible show. And what better way to follow up “All Over You” then with another great track off the same album in “Selling The Drama”. After the dust settles and fans are able to catch their breath from all the cheers and singing, Kowalczyk greets the crowd to a thunderous ovation. He informs everyone that “The next song was written by a couple guys from Athens, Georgia in a band called R.E.M.”. And as soon as Zak Loy walked out holding a mandolin, it was clear that “Loosing My Religion” was going to blow the minds of everyone in the venue. Michael Stipe is one of the most revered and and talented singers of my generation, but Ed Kowalczyk matched Stipe note for note in what was one of the best covers I’ve ever had the pleasure to see or hear, and judging by how loud the crowd was at its conclusion, they were as equally impressed.
After another visit back to Throwing Copper for track number 8 “Shit Towne” and then to 1999’s The Distance to Here for the hit song “Dolphins Cry”, LIVE dips back into the cover vault and rip a great version of The Rolling Stones “Paint It Black”. As to be expected with the anniversary of their 1994 masterpiece, the setlist would heavily favorite its track list. But what could also be said is that after twenty five years, this band sounds just as good as they did when it was originally released. Towards the end of the set, LIVE change up the speed of the show and go for a more intimate feel. Stating with Kowalczyk appearing before the crowd, just him and an acoustic guitar for what would be a moving version of “Heaven” which was originally written about Ed’s first born daughter Ana. Before the applause even had a chance to die down, he starts strumming the chords leading into “Turn My Head” off 1997’s Secret Samadhi. Chad Taylor would later come out and lay down the soothing solo to round out a great version of the song.
With Chad Taylor still front and center he takes the opportunity play the three chords that every fan in attendance wanted to hear, which was the beginning of “Lightning Crashes”. At no other point during the show had the crowd been louder in singer the words, as if all the anticipation had built up to this moment. As the guitar interlude comes to an end, Kowalczyk comes down from the stage to stand on the barricade and give they crowd their chance to lend their voices to the “OH WHY?” crescendo followed by the rest of the chorus before the whole band takes over. From start to finish, this show had everything you could possibly want, except for it to continue on. LIVE showed all the fans that they still have it and we can only hope for them to push forward on their musical journey and with any luck, hopefully new music in the near future!
The ALTIMATE Tour carries on through October with Bush and Our Lady Grace. For ticket info, merch, music or band info visit their site at http://freaks4live.com//. In part of celebrating the success and anniversary of Throwing Copper, the band teamed up with Alosta Brewing Company to release a Throwing Copper Ale. Check it out through their website at https://www.craftbeerkings.com/products/throwing-copper-ale.