Counting Crows: 9/8/15 – The Rose Music Center

 

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Almost twenty-two years to today, September 14, 1993 to be exact, Counting Crows released their debut album, “August and Everything After.” Like many people at that time, I bought the album based on the mega single from the record, “Mr. Jones.” Little did I know that the record would become a part of me for the rest of my life. Given the fact that my music collection is in the thousands, it is unimaginable to say where every album ranks. But there are those special records that stick out that make my list of favorite records. ” August and Everything After” falls into my list of top five favorite albums of all time, more likely top three. The pure emotion contained in those songs made me feel like no other album had before or has done so since. I mention this just to let you know how special it was to me when I was photographing the band at The Rose Music Center on Tuesday night.

This was not my first time seeing the band. In fact, I first saw them on July 16, 1994 at the Cincinnati Zoo. This show would prove to be memorable to me for two reasons. The first was the band’s performance. I was blown away by how the emotion of the music poured out onto the stage with their performance. The second was the crowd’s reaction to the show. The sold out crowd started things off by heckling show opener, Alex Chilton. Then once the Crows took the stage, the audience turned on them. When the set came to the band’s break out hit, “Mr.Jones,” the band decided to play the song in a cool, slowed down “nocturnal” way to serenade the bats at the zoo. Because the song did not sound like it did on the radio, the crowd booed the Counting Crows.  At the conclusion of the band’s set, Adam Duritz explained that while the band usually hangs out after the show, tonight they were going to get on the bus and head to the next town. I cannot recall ever being so ashamed of a concert crowd.

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Cincinnati Zoo Set List – 7/16/94

– Goodnight Elisabeth

– Omaha

– Anna Begins

– Round Here

– Wiseblood

– Ghost Train

– Jumpin Jesus

– Rain King

– Time and Time Again

– Margery

– Sullivan Street

– A Murder of One

– Children in Bloom

– Mr. Jones

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under wonderlandLets fast forward twenty-one years later to 9/8/15 at The Rose Music Center in Huber Heights, OH.  The band is touring in support of their seventh studio album, 2014’s “Somewhere Under Wonderland.” While a few members of the band have changed, one thing has not. The band’s ability to deliver emotion and feeling with their performance. During the nineteen song set, the band visited songs from their twenty-two year history. It was extra special to me when they opened up with my favorite track from “August and Everything After,” “Time and Time Again.”  The band also made my night for me when they played my favorite Counting Crows song, “Goodnight Elisabeth,” from 1996’s “Recovering the Satellites.” As great as these songs were to me, there was not a bad song the entire night. I attribute that to the band’s delivery and approach to the songs. The guys in the band really seem to be a cohesive unit that know each other well and seem to work together effortlessly. At the helm, front man Adam Duritz seems very comfortable in his role with the band these days. That was not always the case. It is well known how he struggled with coming to grips with being the front man of a successful band. He once even took a job as a bar tender after the band had broken up in an attempt to keep himself grounded. Despite the internal struggle he may have udergone, Duritz seems to have found balance with being up front, without necessarily being a “rock star.” The magic of Adam Duritz is how he presents the songs. I dont think two Counting Crows shows are ever the same. Adam allows the moment and his emotions to dictate how he sings the songs. You never know where a feeling might take Duritz during a song, but the result is always brilliant. One difference between now and the 1994 show at the zoo, is the crowd. There were no boos, and no one left disappointed. The Counting Crows have built a loyal fan base that hung on the band’s every note.

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I realize that this is not a traditional review. I can’t tell you what was good and what was bad. Actually, I can tell you that nothing was bad. But a Counting Crows show is an experience that is different to everyone. You can’t gauge a show by looking at a set list. There is so much more that goes on during a song, only your own ears can interpret the show. Despite being surrounded by thousands of other people, a Counting Crows concert is an intimate and personal experience. What I can tell you is that next time Counting Crows come back around, you need to experience them for yourself. Don’t expect them to sound like the cd….as matter of fact, go in with no expectation and just get lost in the music.

There have been plenty of Counting Crows shows in the area between the two that I mention, but I believe that these two serve as perfect bookends to the impact that the band has had on the music scene. Perhaps they were a band that was ahead of the times in 1994, but I can say there is not another band like them. One thing that is very clear from this comparison of shows 21 years apart is that Counting Crows is not a band defined by one song from their first record.

 

Click here to see our photo gallery from the show!

monkey

 

Rose Music Center – 9/8/15 – Set list 

– Time and Time Again

– Elvis Went to Hollywood

– Mr. Jones

–  Scarecrow

– Goodnight Elisabeth

– Monkey

– Omaha

– Mrs. Potter’ Lullaby

– Cover up the Sun

– Return of the Grievous Angel

– Recovering the Satellites

– Hanging Tree

– Speedway

– Big Yellow Taxi

– Earthquake Driver

– A Long December

Encore:

– Palisades Park

– Rain King

– Holiday in Spain

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You can purchase an audio copy of this show at www.livecountingcrows.com.

 

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