Counting hits

The Crows land downtown

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Adam Duritz looked so symbolic yesterday - LENNY MULLINS
  • LENNY MULLINS
  • Adam Duritz looked so symbolic yesterday
Twenty-two years after August and Everything After made them stars, as is local custom, the Counting Crows visited Halifax for the first time last night. (Blondie waited about 35.) After a sweet, harmony-drenched set from Reuben and the Dark (“I was born here,” said singer Reuben Bullock. “I left when I was one year old and I’ve never been back.”), the seven-piece walked on to the Scotiabank stage to “Lean On Me” and after a piano build kicked into fan favourite “Sullivan Street.”

Like most bands with many records’ worth of songs, it was a wide-ranging set that should’ve satisfied longtime fans, radio-single lovers and casual visitors. They got “Mr. Jones” out of the way on song three (of 20), singer Adam Duritz taking many liberties with melody and timing, mostly ignoring the chorus’ falsetto. Other August jams included a boisterous “Rain King,” “Anna Begins” and a call-and-response “Omaha,” while Recovering the Satellites was repped by Duritz’s singular seated performance for a faithful version of “A Long December.” For a high-energy show, the ballads went over really well—“Colourblind” and the show-closing “Holiday in Spain.”

The six other Crows, many of whom have been in the band for most of its life, are a tight unit with nary a missed note in two hours, though guitarists David Immergluck and Dan Vickrey could dial it way back—I’d written down “too many solos” by song four.

The latest album Somewhere Under Wonderland got a lot of play as expected, the highlight being the terrific eight-minute opener “Palisades Park,” which kicked-off the three song encore. The biggest question mark going in was “Who is a Counting Crows fan 20 years on?” and the surprising answer is “everybody”—the respectable concert bowl crowd spanned the gamut from high school teens to old dudes to third-life crisis-havers (cough), most of whom knew most of the words. The band skipped “Round Here,” so cross your fingers for 2037.

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