Ed Kowalczyk (of Live) at Bowery Ballroom, September 30th, 2010
Ed Kowalczyk is a very happy man these days. Once known for selling 20 million albums worldwide and touring with the band Live for the better part of two decades, he has hit the road again. This time around he takes the stage with his brother (Adam Kowalchzyk) and a few friends from Austin, TX. That’s how he presented the band to an average sized crowd at Bowery Ballroom.
Kowalczyk never broke stride and seemed genuinely happy to be able to perform music. It only took a few minutes for the first reference to water or wine, which is how I deduct Ed is in a good place. The reference came from his new solo album appropriately titled Alive.
The happy Live songs all feature this water theme. If you listen to Mental Jewelry, The Distance to Here and the first half of Throwing Copper, you’ve experienced this transcendent smile upon the world Ed is having. Early into the set Ed concurred “if you’ve been following my lyrics over the years…you’ll realize I make a lot of references to water...I really like water. I wish we could be doing this at the beach right now.”
Speaking of bee-ach, there was also talk of his new song “Drink (Everlasting Love)” being co-written by Daughtry. Ed joked about neither guy having hair, but both can really sing. Well isn’t that special? That combination seems like a bad sketch mocking Duplicity to me, yet a fitting working dual. The song was decent. I think my favorite new tune was “Zion”, because it featured a “White Discussion” like scream throughout.
Looking at the nation wide setlists, it seems that “Overcome” is only featured in NYC dates. I think that’s fitting, but sad, due to the songs unintended tie with 9-11. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On one hand I love the idea of a regional tie to a particular song, but I feel Live has many better ballads such as “Dance With You”, which I cannot believe they still play. I was much more excited about that, but I would still rather hear a classic like “Turn My Head”, rather then the surprising tributary song.
The set played like a plywood version of Live karaoke. A layer of new songs, followed by a layer of Live classics, repeat. And the band tried to keep up with Kowalchzyk and really “jam” some of the Live hits, but it just isn’t the same. Bowery could have just as easily set up a lyric projector, hit the play button, and let the Live legend belt his tunes—like a rolling thunder chasing the wind.
With that said, there is nothing like hearing Ed Kowalchzyk sing. I contest he’s one of the best vocalists and passionate performers the world will ever see. Live may never resolve their “contract dispute” or whatever allegations broke up the great band, but I’d always find the cash to see any of my favorite singers in a Sing Sing Karaoke. Wouldn’t you?
- Just in Time
- The Great Beyond
- The Distance
- All Over You
- Selling the Drama
- Dolphin’s Cry
- Soul Whispers
- Drink (Everlasting Love)
- I Alone
- Fire on the Mountain
- Beauty of Grey
- Lightning Crashes
- Dance With You