Itís always a treat when one of the shows you least expect to surpass
expectations does just that. We departed London in the afternoon, leaving enough
time for the expected disgusting border delays and traffic. We made horrible time
getting to the Detroit area, but it was all mainly due the aforementioned traffic
issues. A beautiful day weather-wise though and the drive was fairly uneventful.
We rolled into Rochester Hills around 530pm, stopping just outside the gates to get
some cheaper chow than was likely available inside the venue. After paying $10 to
park (apparently the smarter person would have just parked in the strip mall we
stopped at and walked in!) we were inside the venue.
After a quick jaunt to the merch booth to find nothing of extreme difference - other
than some pretty rad free postcards that I hadnít seen before - we got a couple of
king-size summer beers (ďimportedĒ from my hometown in Canada I might add... go
Labattís!) and were on our way to our seats. We arrived part-way through opener
Hana Pestleís set. She must have started very early and there were only a handful
of people in seats at this point. She was good, but in my opinion just average as a
performer. Gotta hand it to her though, she did a decent cover of Radioheadís
ďCreepĒ to end her set and then proceeded to her merch booth to meet everyone. She
stayed there for the entire show and that kind of dedication is nice to see in a
Collective Soul was up next. Like last summer, their set was a whirlwind of
greatest hits, and the crowd really seemed to enjoy it. Their drummer is the only
player Iíve seen to use a traditional style grip but play in a heavy rock style. He
was working his butt off up there to get sound out of the drums... he sounded great
and looked great but it was a very odd thing to see done. Good for him for carving
out a niche technique for himself. Thatís the kind of stuff that gets musicians
noticed and remembered. The energy from CS was great, especially from singer Ed
Roland, whose spins around the mic stand during ďShineĒ were both believable and
genuine in nature. Iíve given CS some flack in the past for seeming like they might
fall into the ďtapered-jeans-died-blond-long-hair-classic-rockĒ syndrome that
effects many bands in their middle-ages, but last night they seemed less like that
and more like an honest rock band playing music they love. That was a very
refreshing thing to see and a extremely nice way to start out the show. So classy,
too, was their decision to end their set on a relatively low-key vibe, playing ďRunĒ
and having the audience sing them off with simple acoustic-guitar accompaniment.
Good set from CS last night, and the crowd thought so too.
Next up was Blues Traveller. Iíve never seen BT before and didnít know quite what
to expect from them. Clearly the most musically talented (technically speaking)
band of the night, these guys were on fire throughout most of their set. Although
their music is sometimes not the most audience-friendly in nature due to their long
jams, complicated harmonic structures and virtuosic playing, their energy and
interactions with their fans were clearly appreciated by the crowd. Some of the
extended solos were nothing short of amazing to watch and special credit should go
out to their bass player, who I felt (apart from Popperís incredible talents on
harmonica) was the driving force behind their sound and tightness as a band. This
guy was incredible, seriously. I would definitely check these guys out again if
they came to the area. They were fun, talented and very entertaining.
Next up, +Live+. From the top of the set, I could feel this show was going to be a
good one. Gracey had a shiny new bass drum front skin that has the +Live+ cross
slightly off-centre to accommodate the sound hole in the head... very nice!
The opening chords of Simple Creed were amazing, seeing as Iíve never heard this
tune done electrically before (the one Toronto-area date on their V tour was with
Janeís Addiction and most tunes were performed acoustically). It was very cool to
have this addition to the set, and although it clearly wasnít the most Ďpopularí of
+Live+ís hits, the crowd was still on its feet clapping and singing along right
away, which told me this show was going to be good on both sides of the stage.
Some personal highlights
Simple Creed See above
Turn My Head Not since the late nineties have I heard this one, and it was a
refreshing change to have it back. Although Ed did dedicate it to ďAll the ladiesĒ,
as Hoodie said it was cool to hear for everyone.
Wings This tune, Iím assuming, will disappear from their sets after the DVD comes
out, so I tried to appreciate it as much as I could seeing as this might be the last
time I hear it in concert. The vocal harmonies from the whole band (Pat included)
are very impressive in this tune, and in a way Iíll miss hearing it at shows.
Iris EASILY the fastest Iris ever. Iíve never heard a faster recording from any
show. It was bordering ridiculous and Gracey was a madman. I hope a recording
surfaces of this because seriously it was insane. Intro and outro by Pat were ballsy
on bass. Super pumped about this version I heard last night.
Shit Towne Ed took the guitar solo. It was much better than the time he tried it in
Cleveland, and it was neat to see Ed take on that responsibility.
Lakiniís Juice One of the harder-rockiní versions of this Iíve heard ever, and the
little tease of Ramble On was cool. It was only a one-line thing Ed threw in near
the end of the tune, and I guarantee not a lot of people in the crowd caught it, but
Iím hoping this inclusion is foreshadowing a full-on cover of this by the boys in
Ed, in general, was in a very playful mood. He was dancing a lot, genuinely having
fun and high-fiving the crowd a lot. The shirt (amazingly) didnít come off this
time, and again I think this was a refreshing change for some of us who have seen a
lot of Edís naked torso recently. Theyíve also censored a lot of the swearing in
tunes, and Iím not sure why necessarily. I think maybe they are trying to clean-up
the show for some reason... marketing to a more family-oriented/conservative
audience? Not sure.
Quick trip to the merch booth afterwards earned me a new hat, a couple more
postcards and a lanyard. I was hoping to get a signed setlist but although they had
a few leftovers from past shows, they didnít get a delivery of setlists from +Live+
for that nightís set. Strange, as I thought that was kind of the point?
Overall, a great show. I think part of it is that I went thinking it was going to be
a greatest-hits tour from all three bands and a crowd that only wanted hits, but I
was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of enthusiasm from the crowd, a packed venue
and a few extras thrown in from the band that all added up to equal a very memorable
+Live+ experience. Sorry I didnít get to meet anyone from the board at the show,
hopefully next time we can meet face to face and have one of those imported Canadian