Live, Birds Of Tokyo @ Adelaide 500, Adelaide 3/3/2018

Truly magnificent!

Adelaide 500 race organisers have really nailed the after race concerts this year with three big nights of some of the best bands going around. Tonight, it was about the recently reformed band Live and Australian superstars Birds Of Tokyo headlining the Saturday night’s post-race concert. It was another bumper crowd on hand to see this awesome show.

Birds Of Tokyo in short were brilliant! These guys can really mix it with the best of them and it was a big power opener by way of Harlequins off the Brace album. The wasn’t much of a crowd reaction early in the set and not giving the band a lot standing in confusion wondering if this is really Birds Of Tokyo. The relatively new album Brace is a slight departure from what most people know but they can’t keep churning out songs such as Plans 2.0 or Lanterns 2.0 either.

The band looked great, sounded tight and didn’t miss a beat. Ian Kenny said “oh we’ve missed you Adelaide, it’s time to party” before rocking right in to Broken Bones. Ode To Death is one of my favs and as Kenny mentioned it’s about taking things to far. Plans was dedicated to all the heartbreakers and another relative newie Empire was slipped in to their set. There was a preview of what’s to come with new track The Greatest Mistakes which sounded like a Birds Of Tokyo song perched somewhere between Universes and Birds Of Tokyo. So many great songs the band has the luxury of playing now with the likes of I’d Go With You Anywhere, Anchor and Wild At Heart. The big moment in the set was Lanterns and one of those songs everyone knew the words before finishing on This Fire.

Live! Live! Live! It was the best news last year knowing that original members Ed Kowalczyk, Chad Taylor, Patrick Dahlheimer and Chad Gracey decided to reform Live. After a brief visit to Australia last year to play a handful of shows I had almost given up hope we would get our chance in Adelaide to see this great band. The announcement that Live would be playing the Adelaide 500 was a great day and if I could do a cartwheel I probably would have. The anticipation and build up was electric and as soon as the lights dropped and the countdown clock started they were right here in Adelaide rock city. The crowd responded right away from the opening notes of All Over You before going back to Mental Jewelry with Operation Spirit (The Tyranny Of Tradition) and Pain Lies On The Riverside for the diehard fans. Dolphins Cry was superb and as front man Ed Kowalczyk said it is a beautiful night for rock ‘n roll and that it doesn’t matter when a good song came out it’s still a good song but when Selling The Drama came out your mobile was a lot bigger.

The Johnny Cash cover I Walk The Line seems like a set staple these days and Shit Towne (originally Pillar Of Davidson on the set list) was on the set list which was nod and a wink to their hometown York, Pennsylvania to which Kowalczyk described “is getting better these days” with footage running behind them to remind them of the journey to now they have taken. I Alone and Lakini’s Juice were big moments in the set with Kowalczyk encourage the crowd to shake their money makers and lift beyond what would be a Monday night response. I love White, Discussion from Throwing Copper which seemed a powerful way to finish the main set with all the political themes and imagery running on the screen to subtly drive some important messages home.

As a fan it was pleasing to watch the band genuinely look happy to be playing together again and the promise of new material as well as a hint of another tour in the not to distant future. In the encore Kowalczyk talked about how good it is to be still hanging out with your mates from kindergarten. Heaven played solo and acoustic by Kowalczyk was just sublime and so to was Turn My Head and Run To The Water. Another cover featured to which Kowalczyk described as one of the most amazing songs written and sung by Chris Cornell when he was in Audioslave. I Am The Highway was exactly that, amazing and the prefect tribute to honour the memory of Chris Cornell. Lighting Crashes means a lot of different things to different people and tonight was about being with family and mates and singing this one with much gusto about how good it is being at the Adelaide 500. I really hope there is a next time but I do leave feeling really happy with what I experienced tonight.

Live review by Rob Lyon

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