If you are a fan of 1990’s grunge, you know the band Live. Though songs like “I Alone” and “Heaven” debuted twenty or so years ago, they still get air time today. Not all fans of 1990s grunge or Live know the name Ed Kowalczyk though. Live’s former lead singer has taken a new direction (sort of) since splitting with the band, Live, in 2009.
Kowalczyk’s direction is an active one; he is producing new stuff and still tours. Quite a bit. Despite his happy marriage and four kids, he is seemingly always on the road. He sold out The Egg’s Swyer Theater in Albany on March 21 and is heading overseas shortly.
Kowalczyk followed an opening performance by Anna Rose, originally of Dutchess County and promoting her album Behold a Pale Horse, she is all voice. While her stage presence is still a bit awkward – she even explained that she’s been accused of laughing too loud – Anna Rose’s powerful voice over heart-felt lyrics will lead her to greater things in the future.
Kowalczyk, also known for pairing his powerful voice and lyrics, opened with “All Over You”. It seemed like everyone in the theater knew the words, leading me to believe that the sold out show was filled with Live fans. But as the show proceeded, and Kowalczyk shared his newer, more religious songs, it was clear that there was a strong Christian contingent in attendance as well. Kowalczyk’s three solo albums since 2010 focus on his re-awakening into the Christian faith, but listening even to his oldest material, you can sense the strong religious tide that runs through all his music.
The Egg is a great venue because the layout allows fans to feel really close to the performer(s). This was my third time seeing Kowalczyk (once with Live ten or so years ago, then solo at Albany’s Alive at Five series in 2011), and this show did feel more intimate. Kowalczyk seemed totally at ease, and the closeness made it a lot easier to see the emotion that was written all over his face. He offered a very good sampling of 20 years worth of music, performing 18 songs including one surprise cover of The Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter.”
Last Time Kowalczyk was in Albany he confessed that he has a long history with New York’s Capital City since he once courted a girl who attended Siena College, who later became his wife. Now that he and his family have moved to the East Coast (Connecticut) from California, I suspect that we will see lots more of Kowalczyk.
Setlist: All Over You, The Distance, The Great Beyond, Bottle of Anything, All That I Wanted, The Dolphin’s Cry, Angels on a Razor, Selling the Drama, Seven, Pain Lies on the Riverside, Face and Ghost, Heaven, I Alone
Encore: Lakini’s Juice, Gimme Shelter, The Beauty of Gray, Overcome, Lightning Crashes