Concert Review Crows,Dolls no longer on top but
« on: Jul 23rd, 2006, 5:04am »
....but still Standing Tall
Concert Review: Crows, Dolls no longer on top but still standing tall
(July 23, 2006)
The Goo Goo Dolls and the Counting Crows once mattered immensely in this pop-music world of ours. So what happened?
You moved on. But if you've forgotten those old friends, don't worry. They're doing just fine. In fact, 14,000 of you stopped by Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Saturday to see for yourselves. That's a nice crowd for a couple of bands that haven't been on the charts since the Strokes were still lads trying to figure out how to date girls.
The numbers were certainly helped a bit by the Goo Goo Dolls' status as the home team. We can use the WillieMeter — opening act Willie Nile — as the gauge.
"Does anyone want to see the Counting Crows tonight?" he asked. A healthy cheer.
"Does anyone want to see the Goo Goo Dolls tonight?" A little lustier.
Nile is no newcomer, but a talented fellow who for a brief moment was supposed to be the next big thing, before the Goo Goo Dolls and the Counting Crows happened. It didn't happen, although with interesting songs like "You've Gotta Be a Buddha in a Place Like This," it's not his fault. Guess there wasn't enough room for an American Billy Bragg.
Considering they followed the Counting Crows and their melancholy airs, the Goo Goo Dolls exuded an onstage joy that's hard to not like.
Although a five-piece on this night, the band clearly belongs to guitarist John Rzeznik and bassist Robbie Takac, both of whom sprint around the stage with an obvious chemistry, as well as an innate ability to avoid collisions. They're such a contrast, Rzeznik with the pop-star looks, Takac with the long hair, bare feet and scruffy voice that takes the Buffalo-native band back to the day when it was ragged punk rather than glorious pop.
But there are few things cooler on a summer evening than a band rocking out on hits like "Name" and "Iris" as the crowd responds, or "Black Balloon" as it bats black balloons overhead.
With his Sideshow Bob dreadlocks and scholarly eyeglasses, Crows lead singer Adam Duritz looks like that Allen Ginsburg Kewpie Doll that the dog got hold of. But he's sincere, urging folks to become activists for their community's social concerns, such as battered-women shelters.
Voting, too. "Be the right kind of American," he urged of the upcoming November elections. "Make us the kind of country we used to be."
And as always, there is Duritz's well-honed angst. "That last song is about a miserably painful love affair," something he could have exclaimed several times. "Which is something I am an expert at." Ruined relationships are, of course, the songwriter's friend. "People come and go in your lives," he noted, "but you get to keep the songs."
And the crowd knows the songs. "Omaha," with its accordion, longing for Middle America. "Round Here," earning a sing-along from the audience on the chorus. Even Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi."
If anything, these guys still sound like the Band, which is a very good thing, of course. "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby" is hardly a lullaby, but a hard-driving piece that Duritz paused in the midst of to ponder the wildfires that scorched the Southwest last week. Noting that he had once lived in Hollywood, Duritz recalled driving out to the desert to play a tribute to the late Gram Parsons in a small community called Pioneer Town, where the Crows played the Pioneer Town Tavern. After the fires had done their work, he noted, "the Pioneer Town Tavern was the only building left standing."
That seems fitting enough. The day will come when the Strokes are gone, yet the Counting Crows remain standing.
Stay True & Rock On!