Concert: Counting Crows in Danbury, CT
By the time Adam Duritz and Counting Crows sauntered onto the stage Tuesday night (6/12) at Danbury, CT's Ives Concert Park, a hearty crowd of about 2,500 had been sitting in the open air venue under steady and occasionally torrential rain for two-and-a-half hours.
But the thunderous cheer that went up seemed to electrify to the band, and the 90-minutes that followed gave testimony that even a mood-dampening rainstorm was not going to deter Counting Crows from delivering the goods.
With a quick greeting, Duritz proclaimed: "Let's get this over with...," and the band moved into a mandolin-fueled mid-tempo version of "Rain King," which eventually enveloped into another appropriate fave, "Raining In Baltimore."
As one song shifted to the next, every member of the band worked to achieve a well-crafted medley to help ward off the effects of Danbury's ominous weather. Dan Vickrey was especially tasty with his lead guitar work, and David Immergluck teetered between articulate plucking and wildly flailing away at his mandolin, raising it high in the air like some sort of offering to the ecstatic fans.
The set continued, surprisingly light on material from Counting Crows' first independent release, "Underwater Sunshine." Perhaps it was because they had already worked all the water references out of their system.
The few covers that were played from the band's new project were well received, with many audience members singing along under their rain poncho hoods -- proving that the new material has been circulating.
Romney Rye's "Untitled (A Love Song)" was the most pedestrian of the show among the new songs played, while Coby Brown's "Hospital" was delivered with great passion by Duritz. The Vickrey-penned Tender Mercies take on "4 White Stallions" was by far the best cut from "Underwater Sunshine," showcasing the band's tight but familiar rendition of the plaintive ballad.
"Mrs Potter's Lullaby" and "Hanging Tree" were two other numbers that gave Vickrey loads of space to rip a few inspiring solos, and the relative calm of "Black and Blue" helped focus on Charlie Gillingham, who set the mood perfectly with his understated Hammond B3.
"Mr. Jones" was the crowd favorite, coming near the end of the set and featuring an edgier treatment that turned the easygoing pop hit into a real rocker. But "Cowboys" was by far the best played number of the show with Duritz alternately sitting and pacing the stage, occasionally pounding on his chest to enhance the dramatic effect of the song's descriptive lyrics.
By the end, as Duritz wailed "I am not anything," the delirious crowd was on its feet signaling quite the opposite. The encore was decidedly lightened by the deliciously upbeat "Hanginaround," before moving into what has become Counting Crows' regular closer, "Holiday In Spain."
Billed as "The Outlaw Roadshow," the three capable opening acts were hand-picked by Duritz and company, and the Counting Crows frontman as well as Immergluck spent most of their pre-show hanging on stage, watching the atmospheric efforts of Foreign Fields and the Midwestern power crunch of Filligar.
The best supporting group of the evening, however, was Philly's own This Old War -- a sweet-sounding three-piece that evoked flavors of Paul Simon and Blind Melon.
The Danbury stop was only the second of the summer-long Outlaw Roadshow, which will switch up the trio of openers before wrapping up its second leg Aug. 11 at the magic City Blues Festival in Billings, MT.