CINCINNATI, OH- Fans from all over converged on the Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena to witness a nostalgic performance by two of the ’90s modern rock giants. As we waited for the concert to begin, the atmosphere was electrified with anticipation. Despite both bands having faced lineup changes, legal disputes, and other challenges that many groups encounter, they’ve managed to sustain their popularity and not merely become cautionary tales. Now, both groups have rejuvenated with new lineups and a fresh passion for music.

Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

Fuel kicked off the concert. Founding songwriter/guitarist Carl Bell and longtime drummer Kevin Miller introduced a new lineup in 2020 after Brett Scallions, the original singer, left. Now they’re joined by singer/guitarist Aaron Scott (a contestant from Season 19 of “The Voice”), guitarist Mark Klotz, and bassist Tommy Nat. The band played with a cohesion that made it seem as if they’d been together for decades.

Scott seemed entirely at ease leading the band, at one point scaling the scaffolding mid-song. With the music’s intensity, Bell delivered several remarkable solos during the performance. A bare-chested Miller animatedly drummed, encouraging audience participation. While they released “Anomaly” in 2021, most of their set drew from their first three albums, including hits like “Bad Day” and “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)”. They have upcoming festival performances in November and April 2024.

Follow Fuel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

I’ve been an avid fan of Live since hearing “Pain Lies on the Riverside” on MTV around 1991 or 1992. The drum intro, funky bass, and especially Ed Kowalczyk’s soulful vocals captivated me. After buying “Mental Jewelry” on cassette, I became smitten with the album. I recall seeing them perform at the University Of California Riverside’s student center in the ’90s, though I’m unsure whether it was before or after the release of “Throwing Copper.” My lasting impression was just how much I enjoyed the music. Today, only original singer Ed Kowalczyk remains. After taking charge of Live in June 2022, the group now features Kowalczyk with touring members guitarist Zak Loy, drummer Robin Diaz, keyboardist Nick Jay, and stand-in bassist Rachel Loy, who temporarily replaced bassist Chris Heerlien.

Taking the stage in white jeans, a black tee, a well-worn jacket, and sunglasses, Kowalczyk and Live began with “Hold Me Up”, a track from the 25th-anniversary reissue of “Throwing Copper.” They played seven songs from this album, including “All Over You” and “Freaks”. Ed’s vocals, as stirring as ever, brought back memories from their prime. Other standout performances included “Selling the Drama”, “Dolphins Cry”, and “Pain Lies on the Riverside”. I wished they’d played “Operation Spirit” or “Brothers Unaware.” Their rendition of “White, Discussion” was lively, with Kowalczyk energetically roaming the stage.

After a brief interlude, the band returned for an encore, starting with “Overcome” and transitioning into “Lakini’s Juice”. The lighting and visuals during this song were particularly memorable. Kowalczyk’s vocals, particularly during “it was an evening I shared with the sun”, resonated deeply. The encore concluded with two of their biggest hits, “I Alone” and “Lightning Crashes”, the latter featuring a sing-along with the crowd. As the night came to a close, Live took their bows, and while I yearned for more, I left feeling content. I recommend catching Live in their upcoming October/November shows. I’m optimistic about new music from them in the future, but until then, their classics suffice.

Follow Live on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel & +Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel & +Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
+Live+ at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Fuel at Hard Rock Cincinnati Outdoor Arena 8/26/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

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