Concert Review: Bush & Live Rock out Miami’s Bayfront Park
Alternative ’90s hard rockers Bush and Live made a stop in Miami on their co-headlined The Alti-mate Tour and performed to a sold-out audience on a humid, shirt-soaking Saturday night at Bayfront Park.
It was a turn back of the clock to the ’90s, as two of the very best in alt-rock delivered exactly what their fans wanted to a packed crowd at Bayfront Amphitheater. Both bands have plenty of reason to celebrate as this year marks the 25th anniversary since the release of their first albums, Bush’s Sixteen Stone and Live’s Throwing Copper, both of which were released in 1994.
The night got off to a rapid-fire pace as Toronto rockers Our Lady Peace opened and got the early-arriving crowd going with a short six-song set. Despite enduring the blazing, humid heat, the crowd enjoyed a couple of the band’s most notable hits, including “Clumsy” and “Starseed.”
Since this was a co-headlined tour, there was plenty of speculation and some anticipation as to who would go on first. Bush had the honors and delivered an impressive set, eventually leading into the final set by Live.
As the afternoon sun set and the day turned to night, a full moon provided a spotlight over Biscayne Bay, as longtime faithful fans of Bush were on hand Saturday to experience an electrifying performance, highlighted by the lead singer Gavin Rossdale’s ability to engage the audience and not let go until he’d rocked you beyond the point of exhaustion. Bush didn’t waste any time when they kicked off their ten-song set with guitar-heavy and fan-favorite “Machinehead.” They continued through a steady stream of some of the band’s biggest hits, including “Everything Zen,” “Swallowed,” “Body,” “The Disease of the Dancing Cats,” and “Bullet Holes.”
As the band played “This is War,” Rossdale ran throughout the entire amphitheater, including its upper reaches, to engage as many devoted fans as possible with a personal meet-and-greet. This is something Rossdale tries to do in every one of their shows, whenever possible. Concert-goers with glowing cell phones in hand took selfies, gave hugs and plenty of high-fives with the iconic frontman, all while Rossdale continued to hit every note without skipping a beat. It was a clear reminder why the band continues to sell out shows, maintaining a solid following through consistently delivering a high-energy rock show. This is a band that gives you their all every night and leaves it all out there.
Live, who closed the show, promptly took the stage at 9:45 and delivered nothing short of an amazing performance. The music started with lead singer Ed Kowalczyk appearing in the crowd singing “Dam at Otter Creek;” as he worked his way through the electrified crowd, he was able to engage his fans up close and personally. Though his time in the crowd was brief, fans with cell phones in hand captured their moment next to the rock star. These sorts of moments are becoming fewer these days as bands’ need for security has changed their ability to work themselves into the crowd and connect with fans firsthand. Once Kowalczyk got on stage, he immediately astonished the crowd who came for a hard rock show from the legendary band. With Kowalczyk on stage and in full rock attack mode, guitarist Chad Taylor, bassist Patrick Dahlheimer and drummer Chad Gracey immediately brought that rock show, exactly what Live delivered.
The band quickly ripped through a series of hits including “I Alone,” “Selling The Drama,” and “Lightning Crashes.” They also performed covers of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” and the Rolling Stones 1966 hit “Paint It Black.” Kowalczyk had the fans singing in harmony word for word, keeping fans on their feet and dancing in place. Clearly it was a good time. As the band closed out the night and with the most of the audience still in attendance and in fist-pumping hard-rocking mode, things came to a screeching halt when singer Ed Kowalczyk came out for the encore performance of “Heaven” and “Turn My Head” on his acoustic guitar. The first song he tried to play on his guitar didn’t work for some technical reason; the road crew was alert and promptly delivered a second acoustic that unfortunately also failed, so Kowalczyk quickly called for an electric guitar and played. However, closing out a rock show with two acoustic songs is like driving a Ferrari down I-95 at 110 mph only to get pulled over for speeding, it was hard to do as the audience’s blood was still pumping hard but quickly came back to a normal tempered flow, somewhat disappointing. Regardless of how it ended, Live certainly delivered what everyone came for, a show that included a solid performance by one of the biggest grunge-era rock bands of that time. Live didn’t disappoint; they showed that they are still hard-rockers after 25 years of touring and plenty of road miles in their wake.
Live: The Dam at Otter Creek, All Over You, Selling the Drama, Losing My Religion, (R.E.M. cover), Shit Towne, Requiem: I. Kyrie (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart song), The Dolphin’s Cry, Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones cover), Lakini’s Juice, I Alone, White, Discussion, Encore: Heaven (Solo Ed, Electric guitar), Turn My Head (Solo Ed, Electric guitar), Lightning Crashes
Bush: Machinehead, This Is War, Everything Zen, Swallowed, Body, The Disease of the Dancing Cats, Bullet Holes, Little Things, Glycerine (Gavin, solo with electric guitar), Comedown
Our Lady Peace: Drop Me in the Water, Innocent, Superman’s Dead, Somewhere Out There, Clumsy, Starseed
Tour Dates (Remaining Dates)
Aug. 20 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Cadence Bank Amphitheater at Chastain Park
Aug. 23 – Essex Junction, Vt. @ Champlain Valley Exp0
Aug. 24 – Baltimore, Md. @ MECU Pavilion
Aug. 25 – Pittsburgh, Pa. @ Stage AE
Aug. 27 – Allentown, Pa. @ The Great Allentown Fair
Aug. 29 – Wantagh, N.Y. @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
Aug. 30 – Bethel, N.Y. @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Sept. 4 – Dayton, Ohio @ The Roxy Music Center at The Heights
Sept. 6 – Tinley Park, Ill. @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
Sept. 7 – Allegan, Mich. @ Allegan County Fair
Sept. 8 – Rochester, Mich. @ Meadow Brook Amphitheater
Steve Mazur of Our Lady Peace – Photo: Rick Munroe MFN