Counting Crows

By Wal Reid

Artist:  Counting Crows

Date / Venue:  Tuesday April 14th, Civic Theatre, Auckland

The Civic Theatre seemed the ideal setting for the Counting Crows, its historic leanings and acoustic architecture adding a warm vibe to an intimate evening.

As the band came on headed by vocalist Adam Duritz, there was minimum talk as the familiar acoustic guitar chords of Round Here rung out across the theatre, fans began lip-syncing as Duritz improvised his way through the classic tune.

The volume went up as guitarist Dan Vickery cranked up Scarecrow & Elvis Went To Hollywood off their latest offering showcasing the band's phenomenal harmonies before the Sha-la-la of Mr Jones ignited the old theatre into life, as punters got up out of their seats to join in the revelry.

The Counting Crows are steeped in Americana almost bordering on Country, best typified on tracksPalisades Park and the Earthquake Driver,it's a slight departure from their familiar roots due partly to Duritz's social conscious views and the bands musical osmosis. However, they still managed to keep the ‘faithful' happy obliging the crowd with Omaha & Rain King off their breakthrough '93 album August and Everything After.

Duritz at the piano was a welcome sight on the stirring A Long December, his distinctive voice soothing the crowd, musing "This one's about leaving home and coming home again, it's about my home Washington Square". The omission of Joni Mitchell's mega hit Yellow Taxi or Accidently in Love could be a forgiven oversight.

Tonight's gig covered a multitude of sins, a making up of sorts for the band who last time playing here had to pull the plug halfway through the tour due to an unexpected sickness hitting Duritz. As he nicely put it: "I've got a couple of good friends from Auckland in New York. We're here and they're fucking over there"

Couldn't have put it better...