My concert sidekick for many many years was my wife, Kim. Hell, she literally introduced me to the rock concert itself back in 1991 when she took me to see a favorite little group of her’s called Metallica (heard of them?) for the first time. I left that show a changed person and I have been a concert machine ever since. However, after a great concert on New Years 2004 in Las Vegas with Metallica and the introduction of motherhood, Kim decided that it was her time to hang up the earplugs and stay at home. She wasn’t having as much fun anymore so it was fitting. However, being the nagging pesty husband that I am, I usually ask her a few days before I buy tickets to a concert if she wants to go. I always expect and receive the “No, thanks” answer. It is sometimes followed by the “Why do you keep asking me when you know the answer already?” line. I never answer the question out loud — but it is because I love her, I have fond memories of previous shows, and she is my best friend.
I like Maroon 5 — more 2nd album than 1st album. This does not make me ghey. Dudes, get with it. The lyrics are mostly about sex in the 2nd album if you listen along. Good stuff. And Counting Crows…let me explain that there is “radio” Counting Crows and then there is “concert” Counting Crows. Um, it is kinda like Dave Matthews Band…the concert isn’t like the radio play. I saw Counting Crows once before this. They played the final night of Microsoft’s PDC 2001. This is not a shabby event. Its a big conference and Microsoft always spends a good deal of money on the entertainment. When I found out Counting Crows was playing our conference, I was excited. I had their albums. Should be fun. What I didn’t realize was how enveloping their performance is. You leave the show thinking you were part of some kind of moment that is being expressed by Adam (the lead singer) through the songs. Nobody ever really got what I meant with that. Could it be recreated at another Counting Crows show some other day?
So months ago, I walked into the kitchen and proposed this concert to Kim. She is a Maroon 5 fan. She listens to Counting Crows when they come on the iPod but isn’t making playlists or anything. So I asked and she paused and gave me a different answer — OK, I will go. Hot damn. Now, I neglected to tell her that it was on a school night which seems to add pressure to the babysitting situation. But we had months to figure that one out. I got my pre-sale tickets and got us in the 10th row — all the way on the end. It is a trend for 2008. On the babysitter front, we were struggling…well, Kim was. I didn’t do jack but keep reminding her that it was coming up and she had to find someone. Well, lucky for us, our friend Sheri said she would take our 2 kids overnight and take them to school in the morning. When Kim told me I was like, “let me get this straight — we drop the kids off at 3PM and we have no parental duties until after school the next day”. OMFG. The date was on! We owe Sheri.
We headed down to Fiddler’s Green early and stopped for a nice dinner on the way. At the venue, I grabbed a beer and Kim wanted a Sprite with Vodka. She isn’t a drinker so I was glad to see her loosening up with a beverage. Got to our seats while M5 was getting setup to play. Lights came down and the show got started.
Now, this isn’t my typical crowd for a show. The concerts I go to usually have people with way more piercings, tats, and interesting haircuts. We tend to head bang. You might get wet from a projectile beer. But that is what we do. This crowd was much more white and middle aged — suburbanites out for an evening. However, one cool/funny thing. I did my Brightkite update of course that I was at the show. Mid-set some other Brightkite user sends me a direct message wondering if I wanted to upgrade my seats. That was kind of cool. Our seats were good so I passed but it was cool/geeky to have that virtual location network there and be able to interact with someone else because we were in the same location. Need to think more about possibilities there.
Kim was there for M5 so I was glad they did a good show. Played everything I wanted to here except for Kiwi (bastards!). Adam, the lead singer, seems to be trying to be more “bad ass” then in prior years. He has a whole sleeve of tats now and was dressed all in black. Kim always thought he was cute — maybe even hot in the right video. So I was curious how the live performance would capture that. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Apparently, Adam doing a bit of skipping and hopping around stage came off as ghey and didn’t do it for her. During the show I wasn’t sure if it was “Scott Weiland sexy dancing” or it was just awkward. Kim ruled it awkward.
In the middle of the set, I had to pee. I turned to Kim and told her and asked if I could get her anything. Figured a water would be a good suggestion given that big spiked Sprite she just had. She kinda paused for a moment and then came back with, “Get me another Sprite but tell them to make it a double shot. I couldn’t taste anything in that one.”. Uh, yes please! Finally, it was time for Counting Crows. Kim wasn’t as excited but was interested to see what my fuss on them was all about. They came out with a full ensemble as always. It is almost to the point of how can they make any money if they have to split the tour dollars with all those dudes. But it works.
We weren’t 3 songs into the show when Adam pulled out the piano and did “Long December”. During the song in a deep quiet portion, he started changing lyrics…nothing new…he is always adding stuff…but it ended up being Cameo’s Word Up. He commented about how that song was in his head. It was a funny moment. He finished up the song perfectly. Right around then, Kim commented to me how they put so much into the music and it feels like they are really giving. Maroon 5 just caused her to sing along. And although she didn’t know the words, Counting Crows had her swaying and watching with a new interest. That Counting Crows magic was there. It was repeatable.
I was doing my usual deal of taking photos. Had my iPhone and camera. Can’t ever figure out how to get the camera to deal with the lighting and the smoke machines. Kim grabbed the camera from me and used it for the rest of the show. Capturing most of the images here for me. My date comes to the rescue! Note to self: sports mode seems to be the proper setting.
There were a lot of songs from their new album in the set but they did play my favorite 2 live songs: Hangin Around and Rain King. They ended with Rain King — and it was a different version as always. I suppose some find it annoying to go to a concert and hear a different rendition of your favorite song. However, that is the magic of Counting Crows. Blending in other songs, other tempos, and then bringing it back in the end to the song itself. As the show ended, Kim confirmed that there was something special about a Counting Crows show. I think she captured it when she said that Adam just “gives in his music”.
We got out of the show quickly, home safely and got to bed. This morning Kim had to get up and volunteer at the kid’s school and then has several appointments. A busy day after being out late on a school night. But I hope that the show, the music, the date/company, and the (1st?) night away from both kids gives her a little more bounce in her step today. I know it does for me. Live music recharges me and I had a great time sharing that experience with Kim — once again.
View all photos from this event.