By Chuck Cox
One of the best things about being a middle-aged music fan is seeing artists who once ruled the airwaves and sold out arenas play intimate venues.
Such was the case on Saturday night when former Live front man Ed Kowalczyk took the stage to perform an acoustic show at the incredible Kessler. Once you get past the surreal factor of being a few feet away from an artist that has produced music you’ve listened to over and over again, it really makes for a cool night of live music.
And Kowalczyk played perfectly to the excited crowd for 90 minutes. With an additional guitarist at his side, he mixed up his set list with his solo stuff, including songs from his new The Flood and the Mercy album and Live classics, like “All Over You,” “Selling the Drama,” “The Dolphin’s Cry,” “Heaven,” “I Alone,” and “Lightning Crashes.” He also threw in a really nice cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire.”
My only real complaint — and it’s a very minor one — was I thought there was a little too much crowd sing-a-long. Kowalzcyk let the fans sing on numerous songs, which is OK sometimes but also gets stale quickly for me. Still, he put on a great show that clearly left the fans happy. And he also came out to the merchandise table to meet and greet, which is always a nice touch.
One interesting note was there was an open space in front of the stage for fans to stand. That’s fairly unusual for the Kessler, which usually has tables right in front of the stage. In fact, I’ve only seen no tables a time or two. It worked for this show, though.
Another great thing about the concert was opening act Lindi Ortega. The Canadian country songstress, without the benefit of a catalogue full of hits, just about stole the show from Kowalczyk. In addition to a great sense of humor, Ortega had an absolutely killer voice and some really incredible lyrics. She also did a tremendous cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”
After my experience with opening acts in Austin, Ortega added quite a bit to a great show. She wasn’t too difficult to look at, either.
I hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving. I’ve got a big December coming up, so keep on coming back to the blog.