I was wondering what happened to these guys. Apparently they have been touring Europe and, in doing so, they recorded this CD. During a three-day event at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam (Feb 4th-6th, 2003), Adam Duritz and his flock laid down some tracks that have endeared them to their fans for years, but here they dig deep into their souls to re-release some inner feelings that must have been stored away for ages. This CD has a sorrowful, soulful sound that brings a new darkness to these songs. August and Everything After is the only Crows CD I own; there are some sad songs, but there are some upbeat ones too. On this tour, the band kicked it down a few notches.
"Rain King" starts it out. I always liked that tune, very upbeat. Here, Duritz turns it into a slow ballad while using his piano and the sounds of the slide guitar to give it a more blues style than it had previously. Duritz slows down the tempo by allowing his voice to swim deep into the waves of the lyrics, pulling out its energy and giving it a gentile, sweet sound. This revives the song and gives a new look at old words. This is done on the next track also, "Richard Manuel Is Dead". Here, the band brings the song on strong, but a little slower than previously done. Duritz belts out the lyrics with vigor. As the guitar solo cries outs its part, the rest of the band brings it around with an almost "Grateful Dead-ish" mix that comes from the drums, bass and Hammond B-3 Organ
"Omaha" has to be my favorite song from August… and here the tempo stays the same, with Duritz again coming on strong. The mandolin comes into play on this track and really adds light to the darkness of this song. "Miami" follows with its with pop rhythm and heavy electric guitar riffs. It still amazes me how this band can take lyrics that make you reflect on certain aspects of relationships, and drop them into a heavily filled rock guitar anthem melody and still make you feel depressed as you find yourself head banging in front of the speakers. Energy with sorrow…its the only way I can explain it.
"Hazy" follows, and here Duritz goes real deep into the depression zone, with his sorrowful voice and lone piano. This little three-minute tune will tear at your heart stings. “Good Time” then follows it, and here again, the band takes the audience and the listener on an emotional roller-coaster. After going deep into the blues with "Hazy", "Good Time" starts to bring you out. Still being sung with soul, and the band exploding with Hendrixesque guitar cries, "Good Time" gives you the chance to let your tear ducts dry out… for a minute.
"St. Robinson In His Cadillac Dream" brings the crowd up on its feet. One can almost dance to the groove that the Crows are laying down. Once again, the mandolin makes an appearance and creates a bluegrass tone that helps define the song and the feelings that Duritz probably had when he wrote the lyrics. "Goodnight Elizabeth" is my favorite track on this disk. It has to do with any audience that can sing the chorus without the lead vocal person even opening their mouth. The crowd here doesn't miss a beat when "Their" part comes up. Even listening to it now gives me the goose bumps.
For any Counting Crows fan, this CD is a great blend of their music that has been playing for over a decade (I think). Along with the crowd, which you can tell is totally into the show, this recording captures Adam Duritz and the Counting Crows in their true element: live. This is one of those CDs that Fumo here, can roll one– puff it, sit back and close his eyes, and babies, if the volume is up enough, it feels like you are there. The Counting Crows are still touring. They are also helping out Harvest U.S.A. along with the Goo Goo Dolls. Check out their website for dates and if you get a chance, go see them. I know I will.
Written by Fumo Verde