Counting Crows are just one of those rock bands, who never let up. Their style of musicianship and song writing just has to be admired by all. Formed in 1991, they were heavily involved with my teenage years. Ever since I heard ‘Mr Jones’ I was hooked and their first album ‘August and Everything After’ just was played over and over again on my CD player. There are not many bands that back catalogue can span 9 albums and songs still as fresh as they were when they were first played.
There is not much the guys in Counting Crows have not done, including being on the Soundtrack to ‘Shrek 2’ and ‘Cruel Intentions’ and live albums, an appearance on ‘Storytellers’ and numerous accolades. These guys have seen it, done it and bought the t-shirt. This live album is Counting Crows at its best.
This album starts as Counting Crows did back in 1991 as an acoustic duo, guitar and Vocals. Letting the song writing take the front of what they do. For me track #2 says everything ‘Round Here’ has been a staple of the Counting Crows back catalogue and it never grows old. This track is one of those tracks that shows off Adam’s storytelling impeccably. He is just telling the audience the story which so happens to have an amazing song surrounding it. I cant help but get ‘goose bumps’ as I listen to it, it brings back memories of so long ago, when life seemed simple and stress free. A little bit of escapology. Next up is ‘Untitled’ is another way of painting pictures with words and getting across a sentiment and meaning without it getting lost in translation. Four Days floats in and shows of the musicianship of the band. A gentle unashamed rock song that captivates your imagination.
‘Hospital’ hits home with me due to my day job. But the unnerving thing about Counting Crows, is that each song stands alone in their back catalogue and is unashamedly true to their beliefs. ‘Carriage’ floats along like a butterfly in the gentle breeze, proving that you don’t need much to showcase a great song. Another composition that is Counting Crows, if it isn’t broken, why try change it. ‘Carriage’ sets a perfect mellow mood, with a trumpet solo that sings over the audience capturing them in the bubble that has been created. Following on from this ‘Start Again’, ‘I Wish I Was A Girl’, ‘Sundays’, and ‘Mercury’ are steeped in the nostalgia that is the new and back catalogue. Then ‘Friend of the Devil’ and ‘Rain King’ showcase and reminisce the back catalogue of the live performances. ‘Rain King’ is the track I can say is the reason I bought a Mandolin, some might argue R.E.M. and ‘Losing my Religion’ but I can say hand on heart that ‘Rain King’ did it for me, and it sounds as good as it did when it was first released many years ago.
‘Le Ballet D’Or’, ‘Up All Night (Frankie Millar Goes To Hollywood), and ‘You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere’ finish off this live album with such aplomb that it typifies everything that is ‘Counting Crows’, masters of the live performance, great musicianship, amazing storytelling and song writing abilities. Even if this album doesn’t showcase your favourite track from the guys, you still will not be disappointed as it still proves that Adam and the guys are still at the peak of their musicianship and notoriety.
May the Counting Crows flag ship continue, a live band at heart, doing exactly what they love to do.
1. Girl from the North Country
2. Round Here
3. Untitled (Love Song)
4. Four Days
7. Start Again
8. I Wish I Was a Girl
11. Friend of the Devil
12. Rain King
13. Le Ballet D’or
14. Up All Night (Frankie Millar Goes To Hollywood)
15. You Ain’t Goin Nowhere