Who: The Living End
When: Mon 17th Dec 2012
Where: The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Retrospective Tour: ‘The Living End’
It had been over 6 & 1/2 years since I’d seen The Living End’s high octane live performance while they were touring North America in support of their 4th studio effort ‘State of Emergency’. Having been introduced to the group via a copied cassette version of their self-titled debut album only a year after it had come out, to say I was looking forward to tonight’s performance of ‘The Living End’ in their hometown of Melbourne would be an understatement!
The atmosphere among the bands’ loyal and rabid fan base as soon as the intro to Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ began was palpable. The energy levels of the vastly mixed crowd reaching boiling point as soon as the lights dimmed and a video retrospective circa 1997 was shown, which was dissected with interviews and live snapshots of the group as their debut album rocketed up the Australian charts at the time.
Once the curtains parted the roar from the expectant crowd was deafening. Tonight was the band’s 35th night of their Retrospective tour and they kicked straight into ‘Prisoner of Society’ which received a mass sing-a-long. From the off, limbs were going every which way. Follow up track ‘Growing Up (Falling Down)’ continued in the same explosive vein as Chris Cheney, Scott Owen, Andy Strachan and touring guitarist Adrian Lombardi, were obviously overjoyed at being able to play these tracks to their hometown crowd.
The pummelling double bass sound of Scot Owen kicked in to announce the arrival of ‘Second Solution’ – one half of the original double A-sided single that launched The Living End’s career – and the crowd responded by singing every word and even each beat back to the band. Within the first twenty minutes they had blasted through their 4th number ‘West End Riot’ and the energy emerging from the band had the masses in raptures.
‘Bloody Mary’ took the pace of the evening down a notch, which for this reporter was a good thing, as my 31 year old legs wouldn’t have survived if it had continued! ‘Monday’ was up next with the sing-a-longs seemingly getting louder, while the ska tinged intro of ‘All Torn Down’ led to more dancing then pogoing for a change. The joy beaming from the faces of the crowd surfers was evident during the excellent ‘Save the Day’ where Chris Cheney’s guitar licks had the audience in the palm of his hands, or indeed in this case his fingers!
Having missed the support act Area 7, it was great to see their brass section enter the stage and join the lads for ‘Trapped’ which bolstered their already loud rock n roll tinged sound. ‘Have They Forgotten’ immediately followed suit as the place went into overdrive with the pounding dual sounds of the drums and double bass really hitting home.
‘Fly Away’ and ‘I Want a Day’ seemed to fly by, albeit in a blur of crazed moshing up the front with ever so slightly calmer dancing by the older gentry taking place further back. The second last song of the night ‘Sleep On It’ was just as rapturously received as the opening number, however it did mean that only one more track, instrumental number ‘Closing In’ was imminent.
Having blazed through that heavily rockabilly influenced final track, all three band members bid farewell to the Melbourne faithful, with no encore but no doubt on a serious high. For me the night as a whole was a pure rock’n’roll master class, and here’s hoping I don’t have to wait another 6 plus years to witness The Living End once more.