[music|The music in my head(sigh.)]
Monday, Dec. 16
The Place: The Warfield Theater, San Francisco
The Event: Counting Crows & Toad the Wet Sprocket
“Such a rainy night,” I thought, “This is a night for pilgrims only.” Down by where I live, there were power outages due to the stormy weather. I grabbed an umbrella, put on my heavy Eddie Bauer jacket, donned a wide brimmed hat, and headed out. I needn’t have worried, when I came up the stairs from the BART station on Fifth I was pleased to note that while the ground was wet, the sky was clear.
As I walked up to the venue, I heard the strains of Toad the Wet Sprocket music coming out of the building (I was ten minutes late.) I saw a large group of people standing outside, but the doors were open and no one seemed to be going in. I approached the guy at the door. “You can just go in if you got a ticket.”
I fall back into the group of people to fish the ticket out of the pocket of the Eddie Bauer, and who do I see walking past but Matt Malley, Counting Crows bass player extraordinaire!
Knowing him to be “the Spiritual One” of the group, I had a greeting all planned for just such an occasion. Placing palms together, feet firmly planted in a yogic mountain pose, I bowed towards him and intoned “Namaste!” I think I may have jumped out at him a little.
First he asked me if I was spiritual, and if I meditated, to which I answered yes, and a little bit. Then he was going to offer me a ticket—no need, I already had one. I happily shook his hand and wished him a good show. That makes two times now I have had a 30 second meeting with a member of the Crows. I know some people are lucky enough to talk to them for a long time, but I’m so scared I’m going to act like a dork all I can manage is 30 seconds.
So I go in, very stoked, Toad the Wet Sprocket rippin’ it up by this time. Got my seat up in the lodges, which was actually a very nice place. There is a beautiful fresco on the ceiling and lovely architecture. The people next to me complained about their seats and left and two girls jumped on them, and we bonded over what good seats they really were, they seemed like fun people. In a shameless ploy to expand my readership I gave one of them the URL for this journal. Hey, if you’re reading this, drop a line my way, send a message and tell me what you think.
So, Toad (I feel like a person that was into them would shorten the name to Toad.) rounds off their set nicely by playing their two hits which I don’t know the name of but I will call them, “Walk on the Ocean” and “All I Want” Those are the songs that get played on the radio.
So the lights went out and Counting Crows take the stage. Lights slowly come up and they start with a very Byrdsy-sounding rendition of the old Scott Mackensie tune, “If You’re Going to San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)”
Then: Hard Candy
Goodnight Elizabeth—a VERY good version with lots of audience sing along parts and a smokin’ guitar jam with Dan, Immy, and Dave all riffing up a storm. Adam added some parts (“I know you think its alright, It is not alright with me, etc”)
Richard Manuel is Dead—Adam sang up close with Dan in his face and then he shoved him away. I love those little comedic parts.
Adam was not talking very much. He came to the front of the stage and started mumbling incoherently at the people in front, then shouted, “Just be quiet!” at them. Then they did Omaha with more audience singing. Then he talked about the people at Project Open Hand and how cool they were. Then Immy said something about one of them being his friends mom, but he said it in a mocking, falsetto voice, so Adam said, “You’re such a dick!” Then he said something else that I can’t remember, and ended by saying, “We’ve established what a dick you are, this is a song about what a dick I am.”
American Girls—again, not my favorite song, but I got over myself and got into it.
Rain King—Oh Susanna part in the middle and lots of audience singing.
A Long December
Big Yellow Taxi
Good Time—I could swear Adam was looking at me here.
Miami—During the middle, Adam went back and lay down under the piano with a towel over his head. I pointed this out to my new buddies, and I swear when he got up he jumped up like he was gonna jump at me.
Round Here—another song in the middle of a song here—something about “That was the river, this is the sea.” If anyone knows what song that is, clue me in if you would.
Then they left.
Time and Time Again
Then they left again.
This time only Adam and Immy came back and Adam said, “We’ve lost our band! Dave, Dan, and Charlie went off to Vegas, and Matt and Ben think they’re the rhythm section for the Dixie Chicks!” Then they did Blues Run the Game.Then it was almost over. Adam was trying to talk, but losing his voice. The rest of the band returned for Holiday in Spain, and it was over.
The lights came up, and they filed out as silently as they had filed in, Charlie and Ben wistfully trailing behind, then only Ben. I was screaming and gesticulating wildly, and I actually managed to get Ben’s attention from as far away as I was. He acknowledged me by making the same hand gestures (rock-n-roll horns salute). Then I turned it into a Princess Di wave, and plaintively said, “Bye, Ben!” He smiled and nodded. This is Ben’s last week with the band, he will be moving back to Athens, Georgia, where he is from.
My thoughts overall: It would have been SO cool if I could have gotten up front—this was one of their BETTER shows. Although I would not have been able to chill out and take notes for this review—I’ve tried it that way, it doesn’t work for me. And apparently, Adam, my sweetie and the love of my life, was a little under the weather—and they still played an almost two hour show, and at no time did he hit a bum note. That’s professionalism.