Friday, April 25, 2008

Come Around

"Stop. Stop. Hold up......stop."


"Is someone having a heart attack out there or something?"

Not what you normally hear from the lead singer when you go to a concert, is it?

Well, those were the words a few thousand fans and I heard a couple weeks ago when I went to see a Counting Crows show at Carthage College in Kenosha. (how the Crows ever added a small school like Carthage as a tour stop is beyond me. but I've also seen them in a little gymnasium-type thing at UW-Stevens Point, too...a few years ago. hey, wherever they go, I go.)

Halfway through the song, "Insignificant," off of their new disc, Adam Duritz was right near the front of the stage when he apparently saw someone in the crowd having...issues. So he stopped the music and said the above words.

Turned out it wasn't a heart attack, but I'm not sure if it was a seizure or just someone fainting or passing out in the crowd. I wasn't close enough to see what was going on. But paramedics showed up, Duritz handed his bottle of orange Gatorade into the crowd for the affected girl, and then sat near the front of the stage looking rather concerned.

The show was stopped for about 15 minutes as she was tended to, and then she was taken out of the arena in a wheelchair.

A couple minutes into the unscheduled intermission, a guy near the back of the crowd yelled, "Play some music!!" into the silence, and earned himself some big-time Insensitive Dumb Shit points from almost everyone in attendance.

After everything was under control, rather than starting the song over or skipping the rest of it and moving on to the next song in the set list, the boys on stage had a 10-second con-fab and picked up almost right where they left the middle of the song.

— • — • —

I bought the Crows' latest effort, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, on March 25, the day it was released. And while I'm always eager (huge understatement) to listen to new Crows, this release didn't impress me right out of the box like some of their other discs did.

It took me a few listens, and then a few more, before I warmed up to some of the songs. But well over half the disc became standard awesome Crows after about a half dozen listens. I will say that I really enjoyed the harmonica with Duritz's voice on several selections. Not a lot of harmonica coming through in most of their older stuff.

I had my DellPod almost exclusively on repeat between the release date and the day I drove down to see them on April 12.

For my eleventh time attending a Counting Crows show, I was ushered into a second-floor recreation and sports arena...a few basketball hoops reeled up to the ceiling, a six-lane track around the perimeter...and at its peak, I'd say there were maybe three thousand people there. The place probably could have held five. But I'm kinda glad it wasn't filled to capacity, because as it was, the floor was a bit bouncy as the crowd swayed and moved to the music.

Duritz and Co. played eight of the fourteen songs off of their new disc, along with a rather eclectic mix of other stuff from all of their other albums.

No "Big Yellow Taxi," no "Rain King" or "Omaha," no "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby" "Round Here," which was quite a shock. They always seem to remember to play "Long December," though, which I have to say I can live without. Apparently other people can't, because it went over pretty well. It was a great mix of music, and as usual...a hell of a way to spend a couple hours.

I enjoyed listening to Duritz explain some of the meanings behind the new songs. In "On Almost Any Sunday Morning," he talks about how lonely it is to sleep alone, and how he tries to do anything to avoid that feeling, so he goes out and finds someone to be with so he doesn't have to be alone, but when he wakes up with that person in his bed on Sunday morning, he doesn't particularly care for that feeling, either. So he thinks it might be better to just be alone...but then the loneliness kicks in again and he finds himself looking again for someone to be with...and how that cycle keeps repeating itself. (the life of a rock star, huh?)

In "Washington Square," he writes about how he doesn't care for being on the road as much as he used to, and how touring is getting to be a drag, because he'd rather be at home spending time with his family and friends. (he, of course, softened the blow of such a statement as he was explaining it to us by saying that the two hours he's onstage in front of great fans like us *ahem* are a great part of his day...but a day's got 24 hours in it, and it's the other 22 hours of the day he wishes he was back at home.

But then, by the end of the record, his mindset on touring had changed a bit, and he wrote the song, "Come Around," which says that even though they may be gone for a while, they still realize that eventually...they'll hit the road again, and come back out on tour and be back in front of the fans, playing music.

(kind of a corny correlation to this blog entry, which is why I titled it what I did...that, and I couldn't think of anything else. while I know I'm not a rock star, and I know I don't, per se, I realize that I've been absent for far too many days. and although I may be fickle like that from time to time, I never had or have any intentions of dumping this blog and ignoring it forever.)

So there you have it. Adam Duritz and me. As similar as two peas in a pod.

Except for the dreads. And, um...the talent. And know, the movie stars 'n shit. Oh, and the rock star-ishness.

Next stop: Milwaukee in August. Co-headlining with Maroon 5. (which probably means a slightly shorter set as a co-headliner. and whyyy can't they pick someone like Matt Nathanson to co-headline with?? is that asking too much?)

"I have waited for tomorrow
from December till today,
and I have started loving sorrow
along the way."
—Come Around, Counting Crows

[yes, the photos are mine. it's amazing that you can get a handful
of shots in focus if you press the shutter enough times throughout the night.]