Back in the mid 90s if you didn’t like grunge it was a tough time to be a rock and metal fan. Most of the bands you loved growing up had been killed off the minute Kurt said “here we are now, entertain us” and had gone into hiding. Moreover, there was no internet so you couldn’t really go hunting around for back catolouges of all the bands that were just before your time.
Which we mention by way of explanation as to why we are at a Counting Crows gig tonight. Back about 15 years ago we liked their “August And Everything After” album a lot. In fact, we liked it a great deal. Then a few years later their second album “Recovering The Satellites” came out with the almost metal “Angels Of The Silences” as its first single and were still big fans.
By and large we have lost touch with the Crows over the years since, although a couple of years back they did stick out a quite phenomenal track called “1492” from an album that we didn’t much care for, but we thought we would get a ticket for this largely for nostalgia purposes. Even here, though, there is a caveat. The last time we saw Adam Duritz and his mates was at the NIA a few years back. We went as RTM faves The Hold Steady were the support and the spectacle we witnessed had us saying “never again” when it came to Counting Crows.
And yet here we are, at a sold out Academy. As the band starts its set with “Round Here” the quite fabulous lead track from “….Everything After” and the first thing you notice, apart from what a great song it still is, is just how tubby Duritz has got in the last few years, but also that the songs aren’t quite as good as you remember.
The band don’t help themselves with the setlist either, chucking “Colourblind” in (and even back in the day that was terrible) but not including either of our two aforementioned favourites, or perhaps their best loved track “Mr Jones” seems a bit of an error.
There are some good moments, though, “Omaha” and “Rain King” still sound good, as does “Richard Manuel is Dead,” but really there is nothing that grips us.
Perhaps the most telling two facts are these: First the songs that we like best (“Four White Stallions” and “Friend Of The Devil”) are both covers, while the song Durtiz says he likes best, “Washington Square” sounds lumpen and dull.
Tonight was the tale of band and a blog that have both moved on since 1994, both into things that we enjoy far more, but both have moved into opposite directions.