Date: August 5th 2016
Opening Band: Rob Thomas
I never really ‘got’ Counting Crows during their heyday in the 90’s. Their breakthrough hit “Mr. Jones” always annoyed me and the singer seemed like a bit of a pretentious git (especially in interviews) so I steered clear of their music for the most part.
Friday night at Bethel woods I went to see them for the first (and last) time. They certainly have a faithful following, I seen no shortage of people all around the venue in vintage Counting Crows T-shirts, which is usually a sign of some old schooler fans in attendance. They didn’t really give themselves much street cred to be honest by going on tour with Rob Thomas. While he is probably a lovely fella, I put his music in the same category as Nickelback (ugh!) and the bald runner up guy from American Idols 2007 Season, Daughtry (not good!). While there was another opener that preceded Rob Thomas, K. Phillips, it was the Matchbox 20 frontman that everyone started to pay attention to. In fairness to him, he was a good showman and seemed like a nice chap. He interacted with the audience and genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself. In return, the crowd gave back the love and appreciation, and while definitely not my cup of tea musically, Rob Thomas was the main man of the night. He sealed that by the 2nd last song of his set ‘Smooth,’ the massive hit he had with Santana years ago.
Back to the aforementioned Counting Crows, they came on stage at approximately 9.15pm to their well-known ‘Round here’, and soon after played their major hit ‘Mr. Jones’….thats when it became apparent that frontman Adam Duritz was ‘calling it in’. The audience were up for a mass singalong, he was not! He basically spoke the words of the song ” Mister Jones and me, Mister Jones and me;” it was painful. He also seemed to be chewing for the entire gig, which is fine typically but it just seemed to add to the air of not giving a shit which he seemed to be exuding. After that I kind of tuned out, and lost respect for the performance. I even seen Barry Lewis from the Times Herald Record high-tailing it out of there early in the show. I stuck with it and the highlight (of all lows) was ‘A Long December’, the alt- country sound is something I feel they should embrace more, and Adam wouldn’t have to worry about looking like he is enjoying himself at least! They sometimes do a pretty good Gram Parsons cover ‘Return Of The Grievous Angel’, but not tonight. Alas, it was what it was: meh.