Classic Rock Corner

Classic Rock Corner: Living Colour's The Paris Concert

Living Colour

One of the most criminally underrated rock bands of the '80s and '90s - remembered by too many just for their Day-Glo outfits, painted guitars and big hit "Cult of Personality" - Living Colour has been steadily (and quietly) playing and recording since its 2000 reformation. But there's nothing quiet about this double disc, which captures a raucous 2007 Parisian show and serves as a fine primer both to the band's past glories and future potential.

Vernon Reid (guitar), Corey Glover (vocals), Will Calhoun (drums) and Doug Wimbish (bass) are a tight, powerful ensemble, all wailing mightily. There's a good chunk of older material, which often addressed racism, sexual and social/political issues minus the twee preaching ("Type," "Wall," "Go Away," "Ignorance is Bliss"). When Glover woundedly wails that he won't "rob, beat or rape you" in "Funny Vibe," it still packs the punch it did 20 years ago.

A couple of choice covers ("Papa Was a Rolling Stone," "Crosstown Traffic") make one wonder how great an LC all-covers record would be. And post-reformation offerings - "Song Without Sin," tragic, 9/11-themed "Flying" and Wimbish's brand new "Either Way" show this is a band with a lot left to say.

Living Colour is currently finishing up material for upcoming release The Chair in the Doorway, which will hopefully bring them to a rightful level of contemporary success beyond merely the current vogue for '80s/'90s nostalgia. The Paris Concert is also available as a DVD.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero