I hope you like them.
Todays Daily Prompt ask when we last cried tears of Joy?
I actually didn’t have to think too hard about this one as I remember it clearly and it wasn’t very long ago. On November 1st 2014 I had the pleasure of seeing the wonderful Adam Duritz and Counting Crows live in Birmingham, England. I have been a huge fan of the band for years but had never had the chance to see them live before. My wife, son and I went to this show and we all had a great time. If you didn’t see my review of the gig you can check it out here.
I feel an affinity with Adam Duritz as he is a fellow suffer of the dreaded black dog of depression and he puts a huge amount of himself into both his songwriting and his performance on stage. Make no mistake Duritz can hold you totally spellbound. So it was in Birmingham, he was amazing. As Adam sang it was clear he was in a very good place which was great to see as he had been on the road for the whole summer. He was happy and his delivery was so very moving as he went through a fantastic set of the bands classic songs and tunes from the new album ‘Somewhere under Wonderland’. I was already feeling quite emotional when Adam started to Sing ‘Washington Square’ from the much underrated album ‘Saturday Night & Sunday Morning’.
As Adam sang the opening lines:
I sold my piano, it couldn’t come with me
I locked up my bedroom and I walked out into the air
Nothing I needed is left there behind me
I walk out through the shadows of Washington Square
Well I thought my heart was going to burst, it is such a beautiful song and he delivers it with such feeling, such imagery that the tears just ran down my face. It was the musical moment of my year and will live long in the memory.
Thanks Adam Duritz. Stay well and keep spreading the love.
The Photographs here are from the bands Show in London the following week.
Hi, check out some of my recent concert shots. If you are interested in a Hi-Res copyright free version then please use the form below to make contact. These are just a few samples of my work, I have many more of all of these artists.
The theme for todays photography 101 task is to display an image or images that represent a Connection
One of the most important aspects of being a musician is having an ability to connect with your audience. If there is no emotional connection then music is just a collection of sounds. I took this photograph of Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz on Monday evening at London’s ‘Roundhouse’. I think it shows Duritz inviting the audience to share that connection. What do you think?
Formed in the Bay area in the early 1990’s Counting Crows have enchanted listeners worldwide with their intensely soulful, complex and intricate take on timeless rock music. The band released Somewhere Under Wonderland —their seventh studio album, and first of new material since 2008, in September 2014. The album pushes into new terrain with a revamped songwriting approach that’s adventurous and visionary but still rooted in raw emotion.
Throughout Somewhere Under Wonderland, Duritz gracefully captures that feeling of renewal—a sense of beginning again despite not being entirely freed from the weight of the past—thanks to a warm and powerful vocal delivery that often embodies both hope and melancholy. Counting Crows have long thrived on creating gorgeously textured songs whose lyrics subtly unfurl into ever-shifting moods. Whilst the approach may have changed their tradition of delivering uncompromisingly honest music grounded in pure feeling has not. Perhaps it is Duritz’s well publicised battles with depressive illness that allows him to communicate such emotion in his vocal delivery and which generates such loyalty in his fans. Somewhere Under Wonderland has been a constant companion on my iPod since it’s release and I have been eagerly anticipating hearing how the songs transferred to the live environment.
Birmingham’s O2 Academy is a delightful little venue with a capacity of just 3000, unsurprisingly it was sold out. Thanks to O2 priority booking we were placed on the balcony and thanks to priority entry we managed to grab seats right in the front row just to the left of the stage. I would much rather have been down in the standing area but security were having none of that.
It says much about Adam Duritz that he came onto the stage to introduce the support band ‘Lucy Rose’ himself. He then stood at the back of the stage to watch a fair part of their set. Counting Crows began their set at exactly 9pm and opened with a lovely rendition of ‘Sullivan Street’, this was followed up with Untitled (Love Song) a cover of a ‘Romany Rye’ song. ‘High Life’ and ‘I wish I was a girl’ from 1999’s ‘This Desert Life’ made it clear that the show would draw from all area’s of the bands back catalogue. It was apparent from the outset that this was going to be a high intensity performance. The opening songs were amongst the slower and quieter numbers in the bands repertoire but Duritz and the band were clearly right up for it. After an eight week break following a 45 date USA Tour it would have been understandable had their been some early signs of ring rust but in truth there were none. If the build up through the first four songs was slow and steady the afterburners kicked in on a fantastic version of ‘Mr Jones’, the song that really propelled the band into the big time. It is great to see a band stretching themselves on well known songs and we certainly saw that here, Duritz’s vocal phrasing and timing put the band through its paces and from that point onwards they never looked back.
Mr Jones was followed up with my favourite track from the new album, ‘Possibility Days’. Duritz’s great strength as a songwriter is the ability to paint pictures with words and this track is a great example of that. He also transposes conflicting emotions beautifully. With verses like “And you know the worst part of a good day, Is hearing yourself say, Goodbye to one more possibility day” Duritz really reaches into your emotions . This was the first of seven tracks from the new album, one third of a brilliantly balanced set, only ‘Dislocation’ and ‘John Appleseeds Lament’ were not played.
I was really surprised to hear ‘Mrs Potters Lullaby’ getting an airing on the same set as ‘Mr Jones’ it is much more usual for one or the other to be played. As Duritz moved through this song he really started to work the crowd, getting them to sing out lines of the song. As the show progressed we were treated to showstopper after showstopper, with ‘Omaha’, ‘Friend of the Devil’, ‘A Long December’ and ‘Hangingaround’ all getting a runout. The intensity and emotion kept building. I had thought the days were a performance could move me to tears were long gone, but with ‘Washington Square’ I don’t mind telling you I had tears in my eyes and a lump the size of a halloween pumpkin in my throat.
Duritz allows the band to express themselves and everyone got the chance to show off a bit at one point or another. The band left the stage after 95 minutes allowing Duritz to change his shirt. They returned for a three song encore with a superb ‘Palisades Park’ followed by ‘Rain King’ and ‘Holiday In Spain’. Palisades park is developing into a real strong point in the shows, running at 8.25 on disc the song is at times exultant and at times heartbreaking. This tale of self discovery, with its changes in pace, allows each of the musicians to demonstrate their skills in turn.
As the show drew to a close after just under 2 hours I was totally drained. It must be said that a Counting Crows gig is a emotional experience. I would go as far as to say that this show would be in the top 10 of the many hundreds of shows I have seen over the last forty years. A stunning performance. I can’t wait to see Counting Crows again. Fortunately I don’t have long to wait as I will see them again in London next week.
Here goes with day 19 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection. They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released. You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions. Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).
Counting Crows – August and Everything After
I am feeling a little self indulgent today (hey its my blog) so todays album choice is a masterpiece by the Wonderful Counting Crows. I am off to see them tomorrow so it seems appropriate to include one of their albums today 🙂
August and Everything After was Counting Crows debut album and it has sold well over 8 Million copies. lead singer Adam Duritz cites Van Morrison as a major influence and this can be heard throughout. The album fuses lyrically rich ballads with strong hooks and memorable melodies, making for a solid collection of songs which assured that this debut album would be the band’s most successful ever.
With tracks like ‘Round Here’, ‘Omaha’, ‘Mr Jones’, ‘Anna Begins’, ‘Rain King’, and ‘Time and Time Again’, August and Everything After yields highlight after highlight. “Mr. Jones” is, arguably the most popular song by the band through their career, the dynamic and rich lyrics about trying to make it in the music business was somewhat prophetic as Duritz finishes the song with the line “Mr Jones and me, we’re gonna be big stars. Becoming big stars was a double edged sword for Duritz as he had a breakdown and battles with depression as a result. This probably accounts for the bands relatively modest output of just 6 albums of original material in over 20 years.
“Omaha” follows with some bright accordion by keyboardist Charlie Gillingham highlighting this relatively upbeat and bouncy folk song. “Anna Begins” builds into a very pleasant and melodic listen with stream-of-consciousness lyrics which are at once intense yet relaxed and a great harmonised counter-melody towards the end. “Time and Time Again” is a slow ballad and showcases the Hammond organ by Gillingham and bouncy bass by Matt Malley.
The most upbeat song on the album is “Rain King”, a song about optimism and possibilities. It contains great blend of guitars by Bryson and mandolin by David Immerglück. The moody “Sullivan Street” with its slowly strummed, twangy guitar blended with some great topical piano is great ode to lost love.
From beginning to end this is a great collection of songs which holds together beautifully as a piece.
- 75 Essential Albums – #1 – Van Morrison – Astral Weeks
- 75 Essential Albums – #2 Van Morrison – No Guru, No Method, No Teacher
- 75 Essential Albums – #3 Stiff Little Fingers
- 75 Essential Albums – #4 The Levellers
- 75 Essential Albums – #5 Van Morrison – Into The Music
- 75 Essential Albums – #6 – The Clash – London Calling
- 75 Essential Albums – #7 Ramones
- 75 Essential Albums – #8 Nirvana – Nevermind
- 75 Essential Albums – #9 Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
- 75 Essential Albums – #10 RedHot Chili Peppers – Californication
That Friday feeling is a place to share something with the world. It could be a song, a poem, a painting or a photograph, anything at all. There is but one rule. Whatever it is must touch you on an emotional level.
Either drop me a note with a link and I will post here or leave a comment with a ping back to your own blog. Join in and share that Friday feeling 🙂
This week’s tune is Mrs Potters Lullaby by the Brilliant Counting Crows. This time tomorrow I will be on my way to Birmingham to see them for the first night of their UK tour. Yahoo! This fulfils a long held ambition as they are a band I have wanted to see for many years 🙂 I will be seeing them again next week too 🙂