Way back in 2009 one of the world’s biggest rock acts +LIVE+ formally announced they had split, and then in 2016 the band announced they had reunited for a worldwide tour and a three-run Australian East Coast only. So now we get to witness their explosive live show for the first time in over a decade.
Joining them live for this incredible reunion tour are their platinum-selling contemporaries Lifehouse and The Calling. These shows create a virtual festival of sound under the stars, showcasing the dominance of rock that stormed Australia and the world in the 90s and early 2000s.
I have never experienced a live music venue as fantastic as the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Its green grass and open sky, on a particularly lovely sunny day in Melbourne just made for one great night’s entertainment.
Opening a gig is no easy feat for any band, but The Calling’s lead singer, Alex band, made it look so easy. The music of The Calling is and has always been, particularly sweet mixed over an awesome rock sound track. As Alex and his band mates grace the stage they unleash a barrage of many loved hits to the crowd that had made the effort to turn up early, which by the way were big in numbers and only kept growing as the set kept going. The Calling have many hits and one of my favourites is Adrienne, which they played and it sounded great along with a cover of U2 With or With Out You. Both tracks sounded so good being it a mix of Alex’s voice and the Bowls acoustics, but it was closing track and the hit Where Ever You Will Go that really got the crowd going. It’s so amazing to think a song written by Alex when he was just 15 is still so loved and appreciated.
Next up in this cavalcade of music under the stars are Lifehouse, a band that the early show opener Alex Band had mentioned he had started his career opening for. Lifehouse are one of those bands that just make hits quietly that we all love. Onstage tonight they bought all the great enthusiasm a rock n roll show such as this needs. They get us warmed up rocking away, we the crowd nod and clap along as the set list progresses, and they lay upon us such hits as What Ever It takes, Halfway Gone and First Time. In fact, it was like listening to a best set list to which we also got a new track that sounded great and made the fans really happy. But nothing would make us happier than the set list closer of, Hanging by A Moment. No matter how big a band gets, no matter how many great songs they write, some songs are just synonymous with them and this song is just that. The crowd loved it word for word, it was an awesome way to end the set but can I just mention, the attempt to cover John Farnham’s You’re the Voice was mine and the crowd’s personal fav moment.
It is now the moment we have all come to witness after waiting over a decade, the original line of +Live+ to take the stage and begin what will be one of the best shows I will see in 2017. The hypnotic rhythm of a drum beat leads us in, the audience begin to howl, a guitar kicks in and the audience begin to roar. Now the band are all on stage as one and an almighty cheer leads out from the crowd as the band kick things off with All Over You.
From then on in it is nothing but the best of so many songs, so many emotions to overcome, +Live+ music has always been so moving but I don’t know, it’s like the break between has just bought it back on home to us in the audience tonight. They play a different intro to Dolphins Cry, but ultimately the whole place is swaying and moved from left to right from front to back and that is a whole lot of people.
One of the standouts from tonight’s set for me were some of the songs you don’t always get to hear at a +Live+ concert. Given the fact that Mental Jewellery is celebrating its 25th year as a release hearing songs like Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition) and Pain Lies on the Riverside just made that set much more memorable. But +Live+’s greatest songs for me and so many other fans have always come from the legendary album Throwing Copper. Released in ‘94 and played for listening pleasure tonight were so many of the hits from that album and they sounded so fantastic. Tracks like I Alone and Selling the Drama went off but I have waited years to hear T.B.D performed live in concert and tonight I was lucky enough to hear it, such a fan highlight for myself. Lakini’s Juice just lifted the roof off the parts of the venue that had it and this led us into the set list closer of White Discussion. Before they play it, Ed addresses the crowd and says that politically it doesn’t matter if you are left or right, what matters most is the music, a sentiment which was met was a tremodious roar and one I think we can all agree on. It’s amazing to think some of these songs are over 20 years old, but the lyrics hold just as much meaning today as they did then.
The encore would not let us down as the band re-emerged amongst all the cheering to perform for us 6 more songs. The first two are played acoustically and sound so amazing in this natural amphitheatre of sound they were Heaven followed by Turn My Head. Before moving on Ed took a moment to thank us, the fans, for letting them be the rock band they are and he and the whole band will forever be grateful. Earlier in the set they played their famous and quite moving cover of Johnny Cash’s, I Walk the Line, but this wouldn’t be the only cover in the set as they reflect and pay tribute to Chris Cornell and play the gift of music he had given us in covering Audioslaves I Am the Highway. All the emotion and power of the song would only set us up for the set’s great finisher in the ever-touching Lightning Crashes. As always, this song just brings out the singing voices in everyone as the whole audience would sing so beautifully along and help finish off what had been a truly fantastic evening of live rock music.
Review – Chad
Photo Gallery – Christian Ross