One of my all-time favorite tweets came from The Counting Crows on January 1 of this year (see above). Unfortunately, 2021 really hasn’t been better. I lost a dad. I lost a co-worker. I had friends who lost relatives. And if you’re looking at it from a health perspective, the COVID situation isn’t any better. It’s still continuing to do damage to families and businesses while overloading hospitals, health clinics and simultaneously dividing families and countries.
We’re almost to October, and one thing that is kind of back to normal is the fact that you can now attend sporting events and concerts once again, even with the pandemic still in full force. It’s kind of like people all over the world just said ‘I’m tired of being locked inside and scared, and I’m not doing it anymore. It’s time to start living again, virus be damned!’
So with this pervasive attitude, I found myself and a few thousand others sans mask at a Counting Crows concert last Saturday. It was the first concert I’ve been to since pre-COVID. You had to show either your full vaccination card or a negative test within 48 hours to be able to enter the Walmart Amphitheater here in Rogers, AR. I’m sure that requirement did keep some away, and The Amp was not sold out by any means, but for the most part, the good seats were filled, and there were a number of people in the lawn area too.
Dreadlock-less and now 57, Adam Duritz and his band Counting Crows launched into nearly two hours of music on a perfect Saturday evening. I wouldn’t say I’m an enormous Counting Crows fan, but I (along with millions of others) have been somewhat hooked since the release of their outstanding debut, “August and Everything After” in 1991. “Mr. Jones,” “Rain King,” and “Round Here” were in constant rotation on my cd player back then. And through the years, I would hear a new Crows song and it would bounce into my consciousness for a while, and I’d think “good on Adam and the boys for continuing to put out good and interesting songs.”
“And it’s one more day up in the canyon
And it’s one more night in Hollywood
It’s been so long since I’ve seen the ocean I guess I should”
And it’s one more night in Rogers, Arkansas, and I’ve never seen the Counting Crows… I guess I should. Na na na na, na na na na… Like I said, not the biggest fan, and probably won’t ever see them play again, but that should not diminish their impressive resume’ and longevity. I’m glad I got to see them perform and see what Adam Duritz was like live as a frontman for arguably one of the biggest bands of the 90’s. Heck it was fun just being around live music, and I even enjoyed the four drunk 30-somethings that sat directly behind me and knew all the lyrics to every song. (Actual interaction with one of them early into the Crows’ set: “Dude (young guy talking to me), if I spill anything on you just punch me in the face. Seriously, punch me in the face.”
The Counting Crows are touring in support of their latest EP, “Butter Miracle Suite One.” They played all four of those songs of which “Bobby and the Rat-Kings” is my favorite. I’ve always been a sucker for a story that just happens to be a good song. The song reminds me of something like Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” mixed with Billy Joel’s “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” with a distinct Counting Crows flare.
Duritz has publicly spoken about (and given interviews) about his dissociative mental disorder which (the best I can understand) makes him feel disconnected from people and the world in general at times like he’s really not there and he’s watching someone else’s life. It sounds like he’s lived through some very dark days and continues to battle it on a daily basis though he’s in a better place now than he was years ago.
He seemed very genuine towards the end of the show though when he spoke about the affect COVID has had on he and the band and not being able to play any live shows for nearly two years. He said how he missed the interaction, the connection with people, and was very happy to be performing again, and I believe him. Though he no longer has those signature dreads (he always thought it was silly that people found his hair style fascinating), at 57 he looked healthy and happy and at this time in our history, I can appreciate that.
And maybe next year will be better than the last.
“I can’t remember the last thing that you said as you were leavin’
Now the days go by so fast”
I know I’ve stepped into the 90’s, but as I was thinking about Duritz and the Crows, I remembered that Duritz was in the news many years ago for dating Jennifer Aniston for a short time. But I must have totally forgotten or missed the part where he also dated Courtney Cox as well? (Insert your Lisa Kudrow joke here if you want). In fact, Cox appears in the music video for today’s featured song released in December of 1996. Appearing twelve years after her debut in Bruce Springsteen’s video “Dancing in the Dark,” (she also appeared in a Toad the Wet Sprocket video in ’95) here is Courtney Cox starring with Adam Duritz and the band named after a British nursery rhyme – it’s Counting Crows with one of my favorites of theirs – “A Long December…”
And now, “A Long December” 2021, in Rogers, AR. No Courtney Cox sightings though you get to see a few of the aforementioned drunk 30-somethings enter into my shot. They had by now moved from behind me to seats in front of me, but we make it through the concert without any punches to the face being thrown by yours truly.
Thanks for reading.
the 80’s… err, 90’s