I really hadn't kept up with Living Colour since the 90's until seeing them earlier this month at City Winery. While Living Colour had only broken up for five years (1995 - 2000), they haven't been as much in the public eye as they were during their initial run (when they opened for the Stones and made numerous late night TV appearances). With the show at City Winery, Living Colour proved hands-down that they are every bit as relevant today as they were back in their original run and the band is a long way away from playing the reunion circuit.
The one thing that seems to happen with musicians as they get old is that they slow down...but this hasn't happened to Living Colour. Vernon Reid is still the guitar player's guitar player and Corey Glover's voice may even be better than it was on those early albums. One example of this was a ballsy rendition of "Amazing Grace" which was the lead-in into "Open Letter (to a Landlord)" and Glover pulled this intro off with pitch-perfect ease. I saw Doug Wimbish play with Tackhead in the late 80's and he and Dave Allen (Go4 / Shriekback / Low Pop Suicide) still have to be two of the best bass players that I've ever seen. Wimbish worked more sounds out of his bass than I thought imaginable and jumped into the floor section for an extended jam (which included stopping by my table to jam with the table's water bottle). Glover, who always seemed so serious in the 80's, was clearly enjoying himself this night. He was also in the crowd and stopped to pose for a selfie with one patron.
I wasn't able to snag a copy of the band's set list but the set included covers of James Brown's "Sex Machine", MC5's "Kick Out the Jams" and The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go" in addition to staples like "Memories Can't Wait" and "Cult of Personality" (which was one of the encores). I don't know whether the band played any new songs but they announced that they are working on a new album (their first since 2009's The Chair in the Doorway) which will be out this fall.
Living Colour's next local show is at NJPAC Theater Square on August 21st. This is a free show that starts at 5PM and Danielia Cotton opens.