Counting Crows at Myth, 7/9/13
Photos by Nicole Oran
Counting Crows with The Wallflowers
Myth, St. Paul
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
On Tuesday night, Counting Crows set started with the lights low and Bill Withers' "Lean on Me" playing as the crowd sang along in anticipation for the emergence of Adam Duritz's unmistakable, voluminous locks to enter from the side of the stage. A classic sing-in-unison song was an optimal way to unite the fans from the get-go and prepare them for what would be a night of collective nostalgia and celebration of a band's long-lasting career.
From the very beginning with "Round Here," Duritz started what would be a show full of deep emotive expression on stage. His animated facial expressions, hand and arm gestures and dramatic body language was that more of a theatrical one-man show under a spot light who happened to be backed by a band, most of which have been together for almost twenty years.
That said, Duritz doesn't focus just on his stage presence and a connection with the audience. He sings just as much to the other band members in songs like "High Life," highlighting the relationship they have and the comradery that comes with spending a significant portion of their lives together, creating songs that an entire venue of fans can relate to.
The Wallflowers opened the show and displayed a much different approach to stage presence and performance. In true Dylan fashion, Jakob Dylan looked cool in all black, wore a hat and shallowly gazed into the audience. It's hard to decide whether the set was slightly boring or if Dylan is just super chill and stands still so that swooning women have a better chance of memorizing the angles of his face. They played a solid collection of new and older songs, mixed in some covers like the Box Tops' "The Letter" and David Bowie's "Heroes," and rightfully wrapped up the set with "One Headlight" and "The Difference."
The Counting Crows had a pretty explosive show, enhanced by strategic lighting design and Durtiz's uninhibited desire to jump up on the front amps. The band members are clearly veteran live performers as they maintain high energy that increases throughout the performance, even with some of the heavier, darker songs like the Coby Brown cover, "Hospital," which Duritz prefaced with "This one is a song about being fucked up in the head."
Durtiz interjected between songs to share a story from their show two days prior in Chicago when guitarist Dan Vickrey allegedly danced, flailing his arms, humorously taunting Duritz on stage, resulting in Duritz stopping a song halfway. "I was gonna throw up from laughing," he said. He followed that by self-deprecatingly mentioning that this was a rare occurrence because he's usually depressed. Depression does not always demonstrate itself in a stereotypical, Zoloft commercial way. But after spending time with Duritz before the show and seeing him on stage, it's hard to visualize how his documented mental struggles manifest. He's funny and exudes infectious energy on stage -- clearly his comfort zone.
The band intentionally touched on each of their albums over the years throughout the show. From their 1999 release, This Desert Life to 2008's Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings and last year's cover album Underwater Sunshine, sustaining fans got a legit sampling of the Counting Crows repertoire.
One thing fans didn't get was "Mr. Jones." After seeing the setlist before the show and questioning Duritz on the decision, he explained that as a band they have written and performed so many songs that they love and are proud of. Throwing that song in at the end just to appease the perhaps less familiar fans isn't what their show is about. He referred to a review they received while touring in Australia that validated the fact that one of their bigger radio hits didn't need to be a crutch. It declared, "They didn't play 'Mr. Jones,' but it didn't matter."
Personal Bias: I did want to hear "Mr. Jones." I understand the band's thinking for leaving it out, but it's so damn catchy. Now it's stuck in my head.
The Crowd: A pretty wide range from early twenties to a lot of older couples.
Overheard in the Crowd: "One time I got to hug Gavin Rossdale!" Clearly it was a '90s kind of night all around.
(Untitled) Love Song
Wish I Was a Girl
4 White Stallions
Mrs. Potter's Lullaby
Children in Bloom
When I Dream of Michelangelo
Friend of the Devil
Big Yellow Taxi
Recovering the Satellites
A Long December
Return of the Grievous Angel
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