Live singer Ed Kowalczyk had the audience in the palm of his hand at the band's show last Friday.

Brett Leigh Dicks

Live singer Ed Kowalczyk had the audience in the palm of his hand at the band's show last Friday.

I Alone Tempt You

Live. At the Majestic Ventura Theater, Friday, May 30

With a name like theirs, you’d better be able to bring it when you take the stage. Fortunately for Live, that is no problem-they consistently give phenomenal live performances. Last Friday night was no exception when the guys rocked the Majestic Ventura Theater for more than an hour and a half, playing an inspired set of songs spanning their 14-plus-year career to a packed crowd of stoked fans.

Lead singer Ed Kowalczyk got the collective adrenaline pumping as he tore into the gritty “Simple Creed” from their 2001 record V. Backed by guitarist Chad Taylor and bassist Patrick Dalheimer’s driving chords and drummer Chad Gracey’s pounding beats, the foursome filled the venue with a deluge of sound. Old favorites “Waitress” and “All Over You”-both from Throwing Copper-received hoots and hollers from the audience, while the more recently penned tune “The River,” from their latest album Songs from Black Mountain, garnered a “We love you, Ed,” from one concert-goer.

While all the members are ¼ber-talented, Kowalczyk’s dynamic vocals, poetic lyrics, and engaging stage presence contribute significantly to Live’s long-time appeal. A charismatic storyteller, the singer had the adoring audience in the palm of his hand as he belted out the heavy rock numbers, such as “The Dolphin’s Cry” and “Lakini’s Juice,” then enchanted listeners with the more delicate “Heaven” and “Mirror Song,” a gorgeous ballad from their first album, Mental Jewelry.

A huge crowd pleaser was “I Alone,” a brilliant song that lures you in with its subdued beginning and then shakes you to the core as it crescendos into the growling chorus. That night it was clear why the powerful tune was voted one of the 100 greatest songs of the 1990s by VH1. Live finished the evening with the bewitching “Lightning Crashes,” arguably one of the coolest rock songs ever written.

Kowalczyk’s extraordinary vocal talent allows him to change up each song, making familiar tunes fresh aural experiences. Provocative lyrics and exceptional vocals backed by solid rock and roll was what Live delivered, once again proving why their name suits them so well.

For the complete set list from the Ventura show, visit

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