Couting Crows / Feb. 11, 2008 / New York (Bowery Ballroom)
Sometimes, there is nothing more disheartening than seeing a band move up from the clubs to the arenas, only to get swallowed up in the sheer enormity of it all. Luckily, the reverse of that situationSometimes, there is nothing more disheartening than seeing a band move up from the clubs to the arenas, only to get swallowed up in the sheer enormity of it all. Luckily, the reverse of that situation -- a seasoned arena band coming back down to rock a more intimate venue -- usually results in something pretty awesome. Counting Crows, veterans of any number of giant stadium shows, certainly didn't disappoint on Sunday night (Feb. 10) at New York's Bowery Ballroom, which holds 575 people. In fact, they pretty much blew the doors off the place.
The band kicked off the main set with 1999's "Colorblind," followed by "Have You Seen Me Lately" from 1996's "Recovering the Satellites." Both were fan favorites judging by the lusty sing along from the assembled masses. Looking fit and relaxed and often stopping to joke with the crowd, frontman Adam Duritz led the band through a series of hits from their four previous studio records, including "Rain King," "Miami," "Round Here," and "A Long December."
It was a curious choice of setlist for the veteran group because most bands with new records to promote stay away from leaning heavily on their old songs. Did the fact that Counting Crows did the exact opposite -- even for a small audience of major fans -- betray a lack of faith in the new album, "Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings"?
The answer became clear when the band came back after an encore break and announced that, instead of a traditional encore, they would be playing almost the entire new record, with lengthy intros preceding each song. The album, which is due in March, is broken into two parts. "Saturday Night" deals with excess and hitting rock bottom, and "Sunday Morning" which deals with the repercussions of that lifestyle. Highlights from "Saturday Morning" at the show included "Los Angeles" and "Cowboys."
The "Sunday Morning" portion of the setlist kicked off with "Washington Square" and continued with the band's first single from the new record, "You Can't Count on Me." By the time they closed with "Come Around," they had been on-stage for almost two hours and while the new material was impressive, the band's stamina was even more so.