Double Door, Chicago
USA August 2. 2002

Last Update: 13. november 2003

My Little Red Book
Orange Skies
Your Mind And We Belong Together
Bummer In The Summer
Alone Again Or
Signed D.C.
Everybody´s Gotta Live/Instant Karma
The Red Telephone
7 & 7 Is
My Flash On You
A House Is Not A Motel
Live And Let Live
You Set The Scene
Between Clark And Hilldale
The Daily Planet
Singing Cowboy
Walk Right In/Wild Thing

Lee tastes long-sought acclaim

By Rick Reger Special to the Tribune Published August 5, 2002

There was something more than a little poignant about the hero´s welcome accorded Arthur Lee and his band Love at their sold-out Double Door concert on Friday night. Not only was it remarkable to see an obscure ´60s cult legend showered with affection by a new generation of fans, but it also clearly filled Lee with a measure of joy he probably doubted he´d ever experience again after six years in prison.

As the chief songwriter and vocalist for Love, Lee created some of the most timeless rock music of the ´60s, music that often countered the Summer of Love´s sunny optimism with ominous imagery couched in alternately punky/elegantly melodic songwriting. But Love never enjoyed broad commercial success, and Lee eventually drifted to the margins of the music industry.

In the early ´90s, Lee resurrected the Love name and, backed by a group of younger, rabidly devoted players, launched a critically-lauded tour of the U.S. and Europe. Lee was subsequently arrested for a firearms violation and, under California´s "three strikes" law, received a 12-year sentence, which was eventually reduced for good behavior.

Given his recent tribulations, Lee looked remarkably fit at the Double Door, leading his ´90s quartet of guitarists Mike Randle and Rusty Squeezebox, bassist Dave Chapple and drummer Dave Daddyo Green through a sharp, lengthy set of Love classics. From set-opener "My Little Red Book" to show-closer "Singing Cowboy," Lee´s enthusiasm never flagged, even as laryngitis limited his voice, reducing his resonant tenor to a thin rasp in the higher registers.

But Lee´s backing band more than made up for his limitations, reeling off tunes with crisp, taut musicianship that studiously emulated the original Love records without slavishly adhering to them. The group dispatched "7 and 7 Is" and "My Flash on You" with all the swift, switchblade aggression of a garage-punk outfit, yet the quartet also perfectly captured the ´60s, sugar-cube pop bliss of "Orange Skies" and the mournful electric blues of "Signed D.C."

Lead guitarist Randle was particularly impressive, searing the surface of songs such as "Your Mind and We Belong Together" and "A House Is Not a Motel" with dazzling, acidic licks that evoked both the West Coast psychedelia of early Love and the proto hard rock of its later years.

Lee and crew were most riveting during numerous selections from Love´s masterpiece "Forever Changes." On the spectrally beautiful folk-rock number "The Red Telephone" when Lee chanted, "They´re locking them up today/They´re throwing away the key/I wonder who it´ll be tomorrow/You or me," it was eerie to hear how his youthful couplets so vividly presaged his future.

When an exhausted Lee finally exited the stage and exclaimed, "Chicago, I will never forget this night," one suspected by his grateful smile that he was finally tasting the respect and acclaim that has long eluded him.

Copyright © 2002, Chicago Tribune