The ’90s came alive for music fans who packed the Grand Theater at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., Thursday (June 6) night as alt-rockers Bush and Live kicked off The Alti-mate Tour. The Live Nation-produced package celebrates the 25th anniversary of Bush’s Sixteen Stone and Live’s Throwing Copper. The two bands are co-headlining with support from Our Lady Peace.
“This is a big night for us,” Bush singer Gavin Rossdale told the crowd. It hasn’t been a year since the band played the venue last August with The Cult and Stone Temple Pilots on the Revolution 3 tour, but the crowd’s response was still emphatic. Clearly Bush and Connecticut love each other.
Bush, which closed the show, bowed at 9:45 and delivered an electrifying performance, highlighted by the singer’s near messianic interaction with the crowd at the 4000-seat theater as he ran through it from orchestra to balcony not once, but twice. Followed by security, Rossdale, like an alt-rock Michael Hutchence in a blousy black tank top, first moved through the crowd three songs in, singing “This Is War” (from 2017’s Black and White Rainbows). People reached out to him, screaming and holding up cellphones. He stopped now and then to hug a woman or take a picture, but never lost his place. A spotlight operator desperately tried to follow Rossdale as he moved to the balcony and eventually back to the stage to joyous cheers. He later returned to the audience during “Little Things” (from Sixteen Stone). It remains to be seen if he will do this at other shows, but he seems driven to connect with his audience and remind them that Bush is not just a heritage act, but very much alive and well and making new music. People pay a lot of money for meet-and-greet ticket packages these days, but Rossdale is giving it away for free if you’re lucky, and who doesn’t want to take a chance on that?
The crowd was already eating out of his hand when the band opened with “Machinehead.” The playing was tight and the members – drummer Nic Hughes, bassist Corey Britz and lead guitarist Chris Traynor — thundered through their songs. The band also played its newly released song, “Bullet Holes,” which is featured on the soundtrack of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. The video, which features footage from the film, played behind the band with a dizzying light show.
The show closed with two of the biggest hits from Sixteen Stone. First, Rossdale played alone in a spotlight and turned in a mesmerizing version of “Glycerine”; the room glimmered with cellphone lights as if reflected by a mirror ball. They closed with “Comedown” and the response was so big, Rossdale turned his mic to the audience and let them sing.
Co-headliners Live kicked off its show with singer Ed Kowalczyk appearing in the crowd singing “Dam at Otter Creek,” and though his tenure in the audience would not last as long as Rossdale’s, it was equally well-received. The Pennsylvania band – guitarist Chad Taylor, bassist Patrick Dahlheimer and drummer Chad Gracey – was joined by second guitarist Zak Loy and percussionist Clint Simmons, adding nuance to the band’s power throughout the set. July 19 will mark the 25th anniversary of Throwing Copper (with a deluxe multi-format reissue via Radioactive/MCA/Ume). As expected, the band focused most of the evening on songs from the release.
Kowalczyk, who looked like a shamanistic Stanley Tucci with his necklace and flowing black shirt, is a roaring tenor who commands the stage with his passion and spirited dancing. Taylor and Dahlheimer, with their facial hair, fedoras and sunglasses, flanked Kowalczyk throughout the night like a modern ZZ Top. They are a tight group and hits like “All Over You,” “Shit Towne” and “I Alone” stood out in the set as the members moved around the stage, mugging for the crowd.
Live did make a curious choice by including two cover songs in the set. The first was R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” – three songs in – which the singer explained was about celebrating their influences. The second, The Stones’ “Paint It Black,” amped up the excitement with its fast tempo, but both seemed somewhat out of place, though the crowd loved them.
The singer joked, “You’re gonna go out and tell all your friends on the Internet that the Alti-mate Tour is fucking awesome, right?” before calling in “White Discussion.” He also performed two songs alone, including the uplifting ballad, “Heaven,” written for his daughter, which he dedicated “to all the mothers and daughters here tonight.”
The band closed with the much-anticipated “Lightning Crashes,” which gave rise to an a cappella sing-along with the audience.
Toronto rockers Our Lady Peace had the early slot but opened the show to a sizeable crowd and people filing in. Though they only played a six-song set, the band got the audience bouncing with “Clumsy” and “Starseed.”
Our Lady Peace
Drop Me in the Water
Somewhere Out There
Dam at Otter Creek
All Over You
Losing My Religion
Selling the Drama
The Dolphin’s Cry
Paint It Black
Turn My Head
This Is War
The Sound of Winter
The Disease of the Dancing Cats
June 7 – Atlantic City, N.J. @ Hard Rock Live
June 8 – Burlington, Ontario @ Spencer Smith Park
June 11 – Boston, Mass. @ Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion
June 13 – Gilford, N.H. @ Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
June 14 – Canandaigua, N.Y. @ Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
June 15 – Holmdel, N.J. @ PNC Bank Arts Center
July 26 – Appleton, Wisc. @ Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium
July 27 – Council Bluffs, Iowa @ Stir Cove at Harrah’s Casino
July 28 – Kansas City, Mo. @ Starlight Theater
July 30 – New Orleans, La. @ Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square
Aug. 2 – Wichita, Kansas @ Hartman Arena
Aug. 3 – Denver, Co. @ Fillmore Auditorium
Aug. 6 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Greek Theater
Aug. 7 – Concord, Calif. @ Concord Pavilion
Aug. 9 – Tuolumne, Calif. @ Black Oak Casino
Aug. 10 — Costa Mesa, Calif. @ OC Fair
Aug. 11 – Tucson, Ariz. @ AVA Casino
Aug. 14 – Rogers, Ak. @ Wal-Mart AMP
Aug. 16 – Tampa, Fla. @ MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheater
Aug. 17 – Miami, Fla. @ Bayfront Park Amphitheater
Aug. 18 – Jacksonville, Fla. @ Dally’s Place
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