Perhaps it's my expectations -- or my adoration for nostalgia -- that left me brokenhearted by the Crows' set-list decisions for the night. Maybe it's because I'm not a "real" Counting Crows fan, leaving me unfamiliar with the band's full discography. But if I had to guess, I'd say I'm not the only one who left the West Palm Beach show feeling a bit cheated.
The set opened with "Round Here," a classic off the band's debut album, August and Everything After. (And one of our writers' personal favorites. Read here.) As I quietly sang along in my head, I was hopeful for how this concert would unfold. However, as the set continued, things quickly left the land of nostalgia. The band moved through its newer albums, including the latest release of cover songs, Underwater Sunshine. Quite frankly, I didn't go to see the Counting Crows play a bunch of other people's music. Sure, the band puts its own spin on a few of the seemingly obscure tracks. However, at the end of the day, it's still a bunch of cover songs. One or two would have been acceptable, but five is excessive. Had it been a stop on the Counting Crows cover songs tour, it'd be a different story.
But the most disappointing omission from the band's set was the iconic track "Mr. Jones." Say what you will, but removing this song from the show was a bummer. Who doesn't love singing along like it's the '90s all over again? Even if you dislike the Counting Crows, you know all the words and will probably let it play all the way through when it comes on the radio. If you've ever seen them perform it live, the crowd experience in itself is electric. Strangers come together, turning to one another, giving each lyric all they've got. So to take that away from your audience seems a bit silly. Especially at a music festival that has such a blended mixture of attendees. Sure, they played "Omaha" and "A Long December," but I'd hardly say that makes up for the lack of "Mr. Jones." And where was "Colorblind"? Admittedly, that's a pretty depressing song, and it'll rip your heart out. But your soul needs a little bit of that from time to time.
Granted, the overall Counting Crows experience was pleasant. And to let one song ruin the entire concert would be asinine. Needless to say, Adam Duritz still has it vocally, and although his stage presence is slightly withdrawn, it works. Full disclosure: I think my memories of seeing them in 1997 with the Wallflowers makes it difficult to embrace this new era of the Counting Crows.
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