Counting Crows play number of hitsCounting Crows had the crowd dancing quickly with “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” and “Catapult.” Frontman Adam Duritz then sat at the edge of the stage and chatted with the audience about his childhood, previous hometowns and the process of making “Omaha.” He wanted the song to represent the America that wasn’t big cities such as Chicago or Boston. “We didn’t know what to do with the song,” Duritz said. “I wasn’t even singing on the song, only playing harmonica. If you get in the right key, all you have to do is breath in and out. You can only mess up on two notes, but don’t get me wrong … you’ll find those notes.” Duritz said he wanted “Omaha” to tell the stories of “somewhere in middle America” and breathe in and out like the harmonica. Charlie Gillingham on accordion helped with this rise and fall. Counting Crows is a band of multi-instrumentalists juggling artillery. The accordion and mandolin add delicious flavor. Dan Vickrey grinds electric guitar solos. David Immerglück looks unassuming, like a tire shop employee, but he’s not only extremely talented but also the band’s hype man. He prompted the audience to claps and sing along between singing harmonies and playing mandolin and guitar licks. Every member of the seven-piece band has a microphone. During some songs, they all sing at once. They have much more country twang than their radio singles make you believe. Duritz wore a tattered Iron Fist shirt, his dreads perched on top of his dead and dipped in front of his thick glasses. He does a lot of spoken word poetry type verses between buttery choruses. He headed to the piano for “A Long December” and sounded better than the recorded version. They played my favorite song, “Colorblind,” while I was dropping my gear off at the car. I’m sure it was amazing. Mr. Jones didn’t show up, they weren’t accidentally in love, but they did play “Hangin’ Around” and “Round Here.” When most of your catalog are hits or connect viscerally with listeners, the game is which fabulous songs do you not play? Both Counting Crows and Live put together impressive sets and treated the audience while toasting to nostalgia and better times.
— Tony ContiniRelated story: Live’s Ed Kowalczyk talks about reunion tour.