Review: ‘Counting Crows’

When a band jumps from small clubs and coffee houses to packed outdoor sheds in less than a year, as DGC Records act Counting Crows has done, there's bound to be something lost in the transition. With the Crows, what's lost is energy.

When a band jumps from small clubs and coffee houses to packed outdoor sheds in less than a year, as DGC Records act Counting Crows has done, there’s bound to be something lost in the transition. With the Crows, what’s lost is energy.

Nearly motionless under the bright lights, as if still encumbered by a small stage, the Bay Area folk/rock act has developed the bad habit of lazily walking through its material, bringing little excitement or artistic inspiration to the live arena.

Only dreadlocked singer Adam Duritz, who spent most of this brief, 70-minute show waffling between subtle phrasing and overdramatic acting, offered any noticeable vim.

Obviously Duritz had a bit too much vim, since he lost his voice by the end of the show, and the remaining two of three soldout dates at the Greek were postponed by a week.

This concert did have one redeeming factor, of course: the songs. Duritz’s Bob Dylan/Van Morrison-inspired tales of everyday dreams and struggles were as affecting here as on the T-Bone Burnett-produced, triple platinum “August and Everything After” record, despite the nonchalance with which they were performed.

Tales of unfulfilled promise and failure of spirit (“A Murder of One,””Mr. Jones”) and common mediocrity (“Perfect Blue Buildings”) were, at times, spellbinding.

But the Counting Crows’ effortless performance (perhaps owing to the band’s murderous touring schedule of late) left much of the set boring and disappointing.

Counting Crows

Greek Theatre, Los Angeles; 6,197 seats; $22.50 top

Production

Promoted by Nederlander. Reviewed Sept. 25, 1994.

Cast

Band: Adam Duritz, David Bryson, Matt Malley, Ben Mize, Charlie Gillingham, David Immergluck.
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