At The Riverside, Newcastle, U.K., October 7, 2017

LIVING COLOUR (Live at The Riverside, Newcastle, U.K., October 7, 2017)
Photo: Mick Burgess

If fate had dealt lead singer, Corey Glover, a different hand we may not have been here to see Living Colour’s first show in the region for over two decades. A role in Oliver Stone’s blockbuster, Platoon looked like setting him on the road to silver screen superstardom but a chance meeting with guitarist Vernon Reid changed all that on joining Living Colour in 1986. Hollywood’s loss is our gain.

Not many new bands receive the patronage of Mick Jagger but his initial help gave their career a kickstart from which they have never looked back as they hit paydirt with their debut release, Vivid, winning them their first of two Grammy awards in the process.

The musical environment was much different back then. Hair Metal was in full flow while Grunge was still a couple of years away. Living Colour was just what was needed to get the ’80s out of their spandex and hairspray rut as they exploded onto the scene with their vibrant blend of Funk and Hard Rock busting down the doors of the musical establishment in the process.

With Shade, their first album in 8 years just out, Living Colour were hungry and eager to make up for such a long absence as Preach’ Blues and Wall set the tempo before vintage cuts Middle Man and Desperate People slammed in the Funk.

Shade sees Living Colour drawing on a wide range of Black American influences from the Delta Blues of Robert Johnson on Preachin’ Blues to the Hip Hop fury of Notorious B.I.G on the venomous Who Shot Ya? In Living Colours hands, they simply sizzled with passion and rocked with their signature groove.

The dapper Corey Glover resplendent in gold suit and snazzy hat sparred playfully with guitarist Vernon Reid every time Reid tried to address the crowd with Glover, at one point, unscrewing the cover of Reid’s microphone. Not that it stopped Reid from continuing.

Open Letter (To A Landlord) featured some stunning vocal gymnastics from Glover while former Sugarhill Gang and one time Rolling Stones bassist, Doug Wimbish showed just why he is has been such an in-demand bassist over the last few decades during his solo spot in Swirl.

When Will Calhoun’s bass drum skin broke Glover had an uncomfortable gap to fill. What better way than a stunning acapella version of (Sittin’On) The Dock of the Bay ably assisted by the Riverside crowd.

Big hit, Love Rears Its Ugly Head and the one that started it all, Cult Of Personality brought the show to a searing climax, with Glover perched precariously on the speaker stack. It may have taken almost quarter of a century to return after their last show at the Mayfair in 1993 but this was well worth the wait.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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