Counting Crows performed August 12 at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater as part of their Somewhere Under Wonderland tour. Joining them were Hollis Brown and Citizen Cope.
The show started with Hollis Brown, a rather new group that formed in 2009. The group describes themselves as a “scrappy” rock band in their official biography, but the music was much more put together than could be predicted. Their set was skillfully organized in a way that only amped up as it went along, creating an atmosphere conducive to the transition to the main performers.
However–before Counting Crows was able to take the stage–Citizen Cope, a more seasoned musician, appealed to those who knew him and didn’t to those who were unfamiliar. Citizen Cope’s set was an interesting mix of several styles with heavy bass and percussion, but occasional repetitiveness slightly soured the musical experience.
After the silence of a set shift, the sun set to reveal the beginning of a most satisfying performance. Opening appropriately with a few songs from the promoted album, the crowd was receptive of the most recent releases, despite not necessarily knowing the words. Perhaps the intricate light show was capturing more of their attention. Not for long, however; the minute “Mr. Jones” started playing, the crowd jumped to life as the ever-popular tune off of August and Everything After played out. Later, “Omaha” had a similar effect.
The charm of familiarity became a theme as frontman, Adam Duritz, interacted with the crowd in a very relatable way; forgetting the song he wanted to introduce, making jokes and simply talking about the other bands (both of which he humbly took pictures of as they performed.) Even the pace of the concert was laidback–most of the crowd sat down by the middle of the concert and was revived by the end to enjoy the rest of the setlist.
Overall, it was all too easy to be 100% content with the Counting Crows’ performance. My only wish left ungranted was a rendition of “Round Here.” However, by the time the band performed Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” and played a recording of the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin,” I couldn’t help but let it go. From the musicians’ cohesiveness and heartstopping talent to the sense of mastery in the artform that is touring, Counting Crows made it clear they are so much more than August and Everything After.