Live – Astra Kulturhaus, Berlin; July 1st, 2019
Back in January my friend L. told me she was going to see Live later this year. M reaction? Wait, what? The still exist? I honestly had no idea. First time I heard about them was in 1999, around the time ‘The Distance to here’ was released. I loved that album. The first three appealed to me too and I enjoyed the two follow ups, but ‘Songs from Black Mountain’ disappointed me and I lost track after that. However, back in the early 2000s I would have given a lot to see them perform, so when I heard they were on tour again and I found a date that fit my schedule I didn’t hesitate to buy a ticket. The show was everything I had hoped for and well worth the trip to Berlin.
Arrived in Berlin in good time and relaxed until 5:30, remembering that people usually line up later in this city. I was right – when I arrived at about a quarter to six there were only a handful of people in front of me. The line was a lot longer when the doors opened 45 minutes later, but that didn’t matter, it was an easy front row. Still, for the longest time I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy this. Not only was it too warm inside the venue, I also had a stupid summer cold that kept me coughing so I didn’t exactly feel great. Either way, I was front row for a band I had been wanting to see for ages and I was going to make the best of it.
First up were Tidalwave. They made good music as far as I can tell, but the sound was pretty bad, so I could not hear much of the singing. When the singer talked it was OK, but as soon as the instruments set in his voice got a bit lost in the mix. They were rather enthusiastic though, always urging us on and even getting some of the audience to jump. I think it could have been a lot of fun with better sound.
when he announced their latest single, ‘Solace’, the singer told us it was about the one special person that is always there for you, no matter what you go through in life and how he hoped we knew a person like this. I certainly do and many in the audience seemed to agree. The song was really nice. Other than that I didn’t have enough energy to really go with it, but they were a good warm up overall.
The stage was changed quickly and while I was waiting for the man band of the night I hoped the sound would improve so I’d actually be able to hear the words. I resolved to move to the back if the sound was too terrible and turned around to see that the venue had filled a lot more since I’d last checked. It wasn’t completely packed, but there were a lot of people wearing an assortment of Live T-shirts. This was going to be good.
At 9 pm Live walked out and were greeted with loud cheers. The had not only two guitarists, but also two drummers. 🙂 I wondered how many of the songs I would know or even recognize since I had not listened to the band in a very long time. They started with ‘All over you’ and at least it seemed familiar. Unlike all the people around me I could not sing along though. Still, the sound was good enough and I absolutely loved their energy. It was hard to take my eyes off the stage and why should I? The show continued with ‘Selling the Drama’, always one of my favorites. Couldn’t remember much of the words either, but loved every second of it. Hell yeah, this was why I’d come here.
Ed spoke to us about the many bands that had influenced them and how they wanted to cover one, hoping they’d do the song justice. Said band was from Athens, Georgia. From there they launched into a brilliant version of R.E.M.’s ‘Losing my Religion’ and finally there was a song I could sing along to. Ed came closer, holding the mic out towards us and while I saw him standing right in front of me I knew I wasn’t going anywhere, no matter how the sound was going to be for the rest of the show. It was just too much fun watching him and the guys up close.
It was hot where we stood and I could only imagine how much hotter it must have been on the stage. “We wrote this song in a desert,” Ed said, “and it feels like a desert here.” He praised us for being there in such heat while sweat was running down his forehead and his shirt was already soaked. It did not keep him from powering through ‘THe Distance’ and then telling us about they town the are from and how the next song still fits because it was a Trump town (or something along those lines). They got lots of cheers for that and we were singing along to ‘Shit Towne’ at the top of our lungs. What a great run of song so far, keeping me happy. 😀
I did not recognize the next one, ‘Iris’, but after he told us how some songs never get old and the following one was 20 some years old and still fitting – ‘They Stood Up for Love’. Then the moment I had been hoping for. Without any announcement or much ado they started ‘The Dolphin’s Cry’. That song has always cut me deeply and it still worked. “The way you’re bathed in light, reminds me of that night…” *sigh* I even choked up a little, it was absolutely perfect. “We wish we had written the next song, but we were just a twinkle in our mother’s eyes then” Ed said before they played The Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint it Black’. So far the setlist could not have been any better.
Somewhere along the way, Ed stepped on to the barrier right next to me, leaned out and shook some hands. He then stepped down and stood there in front of. I wasn’t sure if it was OK to hug him so I didn’t, but carefully gave him a slight pat on the side. A few others did the same and when he moved on his sweat was dripping on me. People leaned forward to hold his hand and sang with him. 🙂 Later he came down again twice, but this time walked off the stage on one side and back on the other side, high-fiving people as he walked by. I still remember the happy look on one woman’s face and he held her hand while he leaned out into the audience and sang. 😀 It was a great show and ‘Lakini’s Juice’, ‘I Alone’ and ‘White, Discussion’ lead us to the encores.
So far it had been a happy nostalgic trip down memory lane and I was ready for more, yelling and screaming for them to come back along with everyone else. Ed told us he was going to sing a couple of acoustic songs, grabbed a guitar and dedicated the first one to all the mothers and daughters in the house, telling us he has three daughters. It was ‘Heaven’. Sadly, my stupid cough chose that moment to return and I’m sure I ruined a few people’s recording of the song because I could not get it under control right away. Sorry. ‘Turn my head followed’ with the band joining him in the end to launch right into a beautiful version of ‘Run to the Water’. The final song of the night was ‘Lightning Crashes’. It became a great finale with one last loud sing along and some awesome guitar work. The show could not have been any better and I was happy I went to see them. Sometimes it does not work out to see the heroes from our younger days, but this time it did. 😀
All Over You
Selling the Drama
Losing My Religion (R.E.M. cover)
They Stood Up for Love
The Dolphin’s Cry
Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones cover)
Turn My Head (acoustic)
Run to the Water