The opening bars of classic Bill Wither’s song Lean on Me blare out from the speakers to herald the arrival of Counting Crows. Taking to the stage the crowd enthusiastically welcome a band that are veterans of the music industry.
Launching to fame in the mid-1990s after the death of Kurt Cobain with a song that practically the whole world knows Counting Crows are a band that have been around and it shows. This evening it seems as though the years are catching up to them as an overweight Adam Durtiz belts out song after song.
He is vocally solid and “Round here” opens the set followed by a number of songs from last year’s album “Somewhere under Wonderland“. New songs “Scarecrow,” Hard Candy” and “Elvis went to Hollywood” all follow in quick succession with little fanfare or break.
On stage Durtiz may be vocally impressive, his voice sounding better than a recording. However it is as if he seems lost. Unsure what to do with himself he fidgets, crosses and uncrosses his arms. He puts on a hat, wipes his face with a cloth and during musical interludes he wanders off stage, sits down and seems generally unsure of himself.
He keeps talking to a minimum and the few times he does talk he expresses that he feels in unimportant to have a conversation. He feels that the crowd “Can’t hold an intelligent conversation” with him, so he’d rather just play. He hasn’t even made the effort to learn the name of the town that he is performing in.
When the anticipated Mr Jones is finally played it is a letdown. A song that is like a warm memory is distinctly ruined as Duritz gets the timing wrong, fails to hit the higher notes and lets the crowd sing parts. He gets the words wrong and does not recover to make the song sound as it should. For a song that is much loved it is a disappointment that it sounds so incredibly terrible live.
If the job of an Entertainer is to entertain, then Adam Duritz can surely not be classed as such. He is however a brilliant song writer with an exceptional voice. So if fans came along tonight to be entertained, let into the mind of an artist on a journey- then this kind of show is not for them. This is a show for music lovers that want to just simply listen to music then that is exactly what they got tonight.