Possibly the post that I receive the most emails about on this blog was my past post about the Counting Crows performance on WXPN’s World Cafe Friday.
I don’t think that a a single week has gone by, since that post was published, where I don’t get an email asking me for the rest of the tracks to that performance.
Now that “Live Music Friday” has been instituted on this blog, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to take care of all those emails in one go… so today, I’ll be posting the entire set of Counting Crows, live on WXPN/World Cafe.
As much as I get elitist music snob feedback whenever I feature Counting Crows on this blog, I stand by my statement that, for many of us, Counting Crows pretty much played the soundtrack of our lives. Seriously. Recovering the Satellites, and August and Everything After contained songs that – I think, at that stage of my life, for the very first first time – seemed to me as though they were written specifically with you in mind.So when the news came out that the band were set to release their fifth-studio album, “Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings“, earlier this year, I was desperately hoping for it to bring back those feelings of years gone past. However, as my two past posts indicated, I was hesitant to hold out too much hope for fear of disappointment.
(Side note: Once I finally received my full copy of the double-album, I was… ambivalent. Which is a terrible thing to say about a band like Counting Crows. But, really, it was an album that was good, but not great.)
This set, however, is the set that got me excited about the album. It’s a set that exemplifies why Counting Crows are one of the greatest live acts around – their ability to make each show a truly personal experience for each person in the audience.
In this set, Counting Crows walked the crowd through the album, with eight songs performed from “Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings”. And, before each tune, Adam Duritz introduces the track with an in-depth commentary about the story behind the song. You really have to listen to the entire set to get that magic of hearing Adam explain the birth and life of each song… but here’s a sample taste of his introduction to “Washington Square”:
“And I moved “Washington Square” to this place right here, because following that would be this song “Le Ballet d’Or”, which is about looking back on your life and realising, “If I’d just done things a little differently, this could all have been a lot different”. As the song starts out, uh… “Wasted time running scared, when all the love needs is to be believed in“… which is an obvious thing to say, but not a simple thing to do.
Or the second verse is, “Wasted time running scared, all that I need is something like a summer, and I know you need somebody just like I do“.
And he goes through the seasons in that song, it’s kind of a companion song to “Omaha” in a way, that he’s looking at his life in these different ways and seeing all these places where… God, it didn’t have to go as wrong as it did, it’s just that… if I’d just been able to see it a little differently, I could have done things a little differently. And he kind of comes to the conclusion that, it’s time to stop being the way I’ve been, and to do something totally different.
And the song after that is called, “On A Tuesday In Amsterdam Long Ago”, which I wrote in Amsterdam the week after “Accidentally in Love”. At the time, written about, “What if this wonderful thing that’s going on in my life were to.. fall apart and drift away?”.
Uh, and years later, after it actually did… uh, it becomes this really… it was a sad song about the possibilities of something so beautiful, and how fragile it is to hold something that beautiful in your hand, but in the years later of course, it becomes a truly, truly sad thing to have lost something that meant that much to you. And it’s funny, a friend of mine commented to me the other night, she said, “You know, this album… the healthier you get, the sadder it gets”, and I was like, “Oh…”.
And I think that’s because madness is like numbness. And you retreat from the world. And the healthier you get, the better you are, the more you can feel… and feeling is just, you know… it can go either way. You can feel good, you can feel bad.”
And really… who doesn’t an intro like that speak to? Seriously. Listen. Love. Support.
Counting Crows, Live on WXPN/World Cafe Friday, 8 February 2008