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Old 05-01-2003, 09:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Camazotz
Counting Crows Concert

So I was there last night for the last show of their US tour. It was at my alumnus. It was a solid show, aside from the usual audio problems that seem to plague live performances. Why must the audio be so loud? I would understand were it a band more akin to Linkin Park or even Bruce Springsteen, but CC have made their tall dollars with quiet despair. It is not the sort of music you mosh to (or even crowd surf, though it was amusing to see several people capsize during the course of the set), so why blast it? The venue was small, the crowd between two and three thousand, all within 200 yards of the stage. Turn it down, at least for the well-performed, if predictable, "Goodnight LA" into "Long December."
The key to the show, at least for me, was in the encore. By key I don't mean my favorite part; they finished with "Rain King," a song that, while it was dressed up with some improvisation (both lyrical and instrumental), remains an old hit. I wish bands had the courage to finish with a song close to their hearts, not to that of the crowd. You have them at this point. They have clapped and cheered for several minutes to get you back onstage, despite your exhaustion. You are tired; it is the last show of an interminable tour. Tomorrow you can rest. Tonight, play a song that still has meaning for you, if any exist. Play a song that has never seen the electromagnetic light of radio waves. Yu won't lose them just because they don't know the song. They long, hunger for more of your gift; that much is obvious in the nigh-deafening cheer that greets you as you make your inevitable way back onstage. You have made it clear this is the only encore; make it a good one. Do something unpredictable. For the true fans, if no one else. They are the ones who will remember this for years to come. Forget the rest, the ones who only sing along to "Omaha" and "Round Here"; do it for those who obsessively listen to songs over and over again, gleaning every scrap of significance in tone and cadence and word and deed.

And the best part is that this is not me. I am not the greatest fan of Counting Crows fan. I own no albums, having given my only CD to my sister and keeping only two mp3s on my computer. This is what I saw in the faces around me in the crowd. I only wish the artists knew and cared and had enough to give.
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