When the Governor Nelson Rockefeller regime built the Empire State Plaza back in the ’60s, it displaced and destroyed a huge and vital chunk of the City of Albany’s neighborhoods. So it was with no small sense of irony that Living Colour ripped into “Open Letter (To a Landlord)” on Wednesday night from the stage on the very same plaza.
“Now you can tear a building down
But you can’t erase a memory
These houses may look all run down
But they have a value you can’t see…”
Whether the band had any idea about the concert site’s history or not is moot. The song was virtually written to be played on that stage, and the added weight of the ESP’s history imbued the ferocious anti-gentrification anthem with a weight that it probably doesn’t carry at most Living Colour concerts.
Then again, maybe they did know exactly what they were singing about – and where they were singing it. Vocalist Corey Glover kicked off their show by declaring, “We finally made it to the Capital, and we’re ready to burn it down.”
And, burn, baby, burn, they did. At least musically speaking.