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.]


  1. I'm such an "August and Everything After" junkie (that record dropped into my lap at the perfect time - when I was a whiny 20-ish fellow in the midst of really stupid relationship problems of my own making - - what could be better?) that this record had to grow on me as well, though I feel it is INFINITELY greater than their prior two releases. And is it just me or is Duritz's voice missing about 30 percent of its past urgency?

    Anyway, it has now settled in to my craw nicely.

    Much to my spouse's chagrin. She DETESTS them with unbridled passion. I have to covertly listen. In retaliation, I made my middle kid Janey a fan - - heh heh!

  2. Oh nice to see you back, by the way, you've been missed!

    (er, I'm one to talk... do I even have a blog out there anymore? Haven't checked lately...)

  3. I've got a couple buddies, Jeff, who like the Crows about as much as your wife does.

    (I made sure to send them an e-mail last night after I published, telling them, "heyyy! I've got a new blog entry up. go read it, go read it!!")

    I'm not sure I can agree with you that Saturday Nights is so much better than their previous two discs.

    I like a lot of stuff on Hard Candy, and that disc contains what I believe is my favorite Crows song. (care to venture a guess? really bad hint: I've never heard it played live, and I probably never will.)

    And This Desert Life...well, that one has "Mrs. Potter," which is eight minutes of pure poetry if eight minutes of poetry has ever been written.

    I think I've played that song more times in a row than any other song ever. I wore it out when that disc came out.

    The first time I saw them on tour for that album, they didn't play "Mrs. Potter." I was...stunned.

    But I've heard it live a few times since then, so it's all good.

    Hmm...I think Duritz sounds about the same on this new release as he does on the others. Maybe I'm not listening deeply enough.

  4. I've only had the opportunity to see them once but it was fantastic. I would love to see them when they are out this summer but the Maroon 5 thing will probably keep me away.

    Great photos and review - good to have you back.


  5. "COME AROUND, STOP, STOP, HOLD UP... STOP" I thought you were going to tell us about your first round of golf this year. Those are the same words that come out of my mouth as the ball leaves the face of my driver and hovers over the right side of the fairway gradually making its way back to the middle... I hope (I did get rid of my slice by the way). That same sequence of jabber is also often heard just after stroking a big-breaker on the green. You know exactly what I'm talking about. I was so hoping for a golf report as I know nothing about the Counting Crows. I did count lots of crows this weekend as I spent several hours chasing the elusive southern Iowa gobbler. Didn't see too many turkeys, but I sure counted a lot of those damn crows.

    See you in about a month???

  6. Scott...They're playing Chicago the night before they come to Milwaukee, but I don't blame you for staying away because of Maroon 5. I can tolerate them, but have never been a fan.

    The thing that scared me when I saw tickets go on sale in Chicago is that premium seats were going for $150.

    And now they're going on sale this weekend for the Milwaukee show, and aren't much better...$121 for the best seats in the house.

    Sorry, but the only way I'm going to pay that is if the Crows promise me a three-hour show, I get to hand-pick the set list, and I get to go on stage and play a few chords during "Sullivan Street."

    I'll have to decide how far back I want to sit. Maybe I'll take it really easy for this show and buy some lawn tickets and sprawl out with a good beverage.

    Mark...Nope, that doesn't quite describe my usual golf experience. Now, if the Crows had a song called, "Fooooore!" or some other bad words often uttered during my few rounds of golf, that might be more fitting.

    Haven't gotten a foursome together yet for that scramble, and I'm not sure if it's going to happen. I'll keep you posted.

    And please be careful if you shoot any crows, so they're not the Crows. I'd like to see them in concert a a few dozen more times before they give it up.

  7. Heyyy long time no correspond. I absolutely marvel at the way you write. Great story by the way. I can't stay long, but I'll be back!

  8. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa!

    I see you're working on a couple new CODA projects lately...hope those are going well.

    And as always...
    just write,
    just write,
    just write.

    (yeah, like I'm one to talk.) :O)