Late last year +Live+ announced a few tour dates after a long hiatus and coming off the turmoil of the original lineup calling it quits again. Remaining founding member and singer Ed Kowalczyk picked up the mantle along with guitarist Zak Loy (who’s played with Ed solo and Live for over 10 years), drummer Robin Diaz (who also played with Live on the last two tours), keyboard player Nick Jay and bassist Chris Heerlein (who played with Ed on his solo tours). The band played a handful of dates at the end of 2022 and announced their first two shows for 2023, booked as “An Evening With +Live+ Unplugged” for two nights on March 22nd and 23rd, at the very small and intimate Ridgefield Playhouse, which holds only 500 seats in the little Connecticut Suburb of Ridgefield. Both shows immediately sold out.
I’ve personally been a fan of the band since 1991’s Mental Jewelry and was lucky enough to have worked with them in the past. I attended both shows originally filming them and ended up taking photos as well.
Needless to say the energy in the Theater was Electric even though it was booked as an Unplugged evening, the crowd consists of people my age in their late 40’s, but also an array of much newer younger fans.
The band took to the stage early with no opening act, delivering 5 hits in a row with somewhat new arrangements to keep with the acoustic billing, but pretty much by the second song the entire crowd was on it’s feet and remained that way to the end of the night. The setlist consisted of 20 songs, spanning six of the nine studio albums they released (none were included from the last three albums from 2003-2014). The set also included two cover songs, one was “Hard Time Killing Floor” which was a Skip James Cover, and old classic blues song. Ed indicated that there might be a Blues album in the works saying they recorded a few, but didn’t give specifics. The second was “Supernatural” by the late great Vic Chesnutt. Ed told the story how he opened up for the band on the 1994 tour, and how much Ed was in awe of his talent and how much he loved watching Vic play that song from the side of the stage every night.
After ending the set with Lakini’s Juice to an already standing crowd giving a standing ovation, they came back out to a five-song encore, including “Horse” which was not played since 1997, “Face and Ghost”, also not played in over 20 years, and ending with the hits “Dolphin’s Cry” and of course, the hit “Lightning Crashes” into the closer “Dance With You” which wasn’t played since 2009.
Being a bit rusty the first night, Ed forgot some lyrics here and there, the band gave a powerful performance, returning the second night with the same setlist and taking it to an even higher level!
They have dates booked from April to July of 2023.
Ed Kowalczyk – Vocals, Guitars
Zak Loy – Guitars and Vocals
Robin Diaz – Drums
Nick Jay – Keyboards and Vocals
Chris Heerlein – Bass and Vocals
1.) Selling the Drama
2.) The Distance
3.) All Over You
4.) The Beauty of Gray
5.) I Alone
6.) They Stood Up for Love
8.) Mirror Song
9.) Pillar of Davidson
11.) Hard Time Killing Floor Blues(Skip James cover)
12.) Supernatural (Vic Chesnutt cover)
13.) Turn My Head
15.) Lakini’s Juice
17.) Face and Ghost (The Children’s Song)
18.) The Dolphin’s Cry
19.) Lightning Crashes
20.) Dance With You
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Long-time traveling Concert Photographer, Official Photographer for Counting Crows, In-House Photographer for City Winery New York. Publications inc. Rolling Stones, The Aquarian, Brooklyn Vegan, Elmore, The Village Voice, and more. On-tour photography, In-Studio Photography, and documentary assignments. Artist Portraits and Album Covers shoots.