Friday, 31 May 2013

Counting Crows - Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, April 16 2013

Was August and Everything After the greatest album of all time?

This may be deemed a slightly controversial or ridiculous question, and already I hear nearly all of you yelling out a loud "NO", but to someone out there maybe it was? I mean for me, I managed to play this album every day for over a year. So you tell me about an album you have done that with?

What I do know is that the songs on that album I feel through to my core and I still do every listen. I feel the raw emotion every time I hear them.

Do I think that the Counting Crows are the best band in the world? No I do not.

Do I think that the best is past them? Yes I do. And further to this point, when I was faced for the third, or maybe the fourth time that I could see them play live and I still didn't jump at the opportunity with both hands. The main reason was because of the cash. All 57 euros of them. Did I really want to see the band some twenty odd years (in my opinion) after their last massive success? But on the flip side, what price should I put on hearing some of my favorite songs ever written?

What I wanted to hear on the night was “Baltimore”, “Round Here” and maybe “Mr. Jones” and then, I think my evening would have been complete.

The show started with a bang. Adam took the stage with the band and started off the evening with a version of “Round here”. And whilst there was a lot of adlibbing in this version, Adam did make it back to the lyrics that I expected, and what I could not mistake was the hauntingly beautiful guitar work.

Over the next few songs (including the opening track) it did feel like Adam was just speaking his lyrics, rather than actually singing them. That being said, by the end of the evening this would change and the band would be belting out each track to its fullest. And at times I felt that the band (Adam in particular) was being more theatrical in their delivery of the songs rather than singing them out of raw feeling.

The band did not miss a beat in the way they technically knocked out the songs. They did what they were there to do and they did it to the best of their ability.

The set list or song selection seemed a bit strange to me and dare I say a bit disappointing. Not only would the band only give me one of the three songs I wanted off August (Round Here) but they also threw in at least four covers of The Romany Rye, Coby Brown, Teenage Fanclub, Gram Parsons songs, none of which I liked that much.

I found myself at the HMH surrounded by very passionate fans, all be it drunk, who appeared to love each of the band’s songs and wanted to sing/ slur along at every opportunity.

Whilst I usually think this is a good thing on this particular night I found it a bit annoying more than anything else and the time we got to the encore I headed to the back of the stadium, sat on a step and watch the rest of the show from there. It was then that I realized this show would have been much more enjoyable from back there and you also got to see the crowd enjoying the show more than I was. I settled in for the encore, or maybe just maybe two encores. Alas there would only be one encore this evening and the songs selection would only be average at best (Washington Square, Hard Candy, Holiday in Spain) I mean where was “Mr. Jones” at least?

I left the show a bit on the disappointed side. The band had been solid, but just hadn’t played what I wanted. When I thought they could really kick it home they left me hanging. And unfortunately they didn’t even give me enough to tempt me back another time. It pains me to say this but I don’t think they were worth the money. 57 euro to enjoy a handful of songs is probably a bit steep in anyone’s world.

Photos borrowed, with thanks, from the Counting Crows Web Page
All credit to Sandra Leijtens


1. Round Here
2. Untitled (Love Song) (The Romany Rye cover)
3. High Life
4. St. Robinson in His Cadillac Dream
5. Hospital(Coby Brown cover)
6. Colorblind
7. Anna Begins
8. Miami
9. Mercy
10. If I Could Give All My Love -or- Richard Manuel Is Dead
11. Perfect Blue Buildings
12. Start Again (Teenage Fanclub cover)
13. Rain King
14. Mercury
15. I Wish I Was a Girl
16. Goodnight L.A.
17. A Long December
18. Return of the Grievous Angel(Gram Parsons cover)
19. Hanginaround

20. Washington Square
21. Hard Candy
22. Holiday in Spain

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