Sunday, April 28, 2013


As you know I occasionally go off on tangents about music from time to time. It's a nice little break from throw pillows, paint colors and such. In an effort to keep it real and keep my true voice on this blog, I'm going to do a review of last nights sold-out Black Crowes show at Stubbs, here in Austin. 

To my usual readers, who may or may not love the Crowes, it probably will make mostly no sense, be mildly amusing, and hopefully you'll tune in again tomorrow to read about whatever I'm rambling about next.. To die-hard Crowes fans, you will find this an accurate and thoughtful review on the Robinson bros' latest adventure. I'm sorry I don't have pictures of the actual show because I think people who stand there and take pics on their phone the whole time are kind of missing the effing point. 

I never find thoughtful reviews of the Crowes. Ones I find are usually written by someone whose opinion I probably wouldn't listen to anyway. Taking matters into my own hands--I mean, who better to write an honest review than one of the die-hard fans who knows their history and catalog--I decided to declare myself a rock journalist and go with it. I have been to many of their shows over the years and even as a true fan, the last SEVERAL shows (prior to last night) I have seen have been somewhat of a disappointment. Yeah all the good songs are there, and yeah all the good-vibing, good-timing fans show up, but the Crowes I fell in love with seemed to be missing. 

I knew this show was going to be different from the get-go. They started with a mash-up of My Morning Song and Stare it Cold!  My initial thought, "Are you freaking kidding me? They are STARTING with this song!?"  They absolutely blew the freaking ROOF OFF.  Okay, it was outdoors, but still,  I could have gone home after the first song and been more satisfied than I was the last four shows. The crowd was bananas and clapped for what seemed like an eternity after the first song. Now THIS is the Black Crowes that I know and love. 

With the crowd sufficiently lit up, they moved through the usual pleasers, Seeing Things, Space Captian (Joe Cocker cover), never losing the energy of the opening number. Time to check out the new guitarist (and just when Luther was all trained in..)... Imagine if Dave Grohl and Jimmy Page had a love child (I wish!) and put a guitar in his hand, you would be staring at Jackie Greene

This guy looks twelve..maybe thirteen...ridiculously smooth next to the grizzled rockeryness of the Crowes. At times he was literally sweating bullets just to keep up. He was flipping pages on a music stand at the beginning of Wiser Time. Oh crap, I thought. This is not gonna be good. was. Yes, he is clearly still learning their catalog and upon further research today, I discovered at just, 32, he is truly an accomplished and able musician. He managed to step into some pretty big shoes for us old fans (I promised myself I would not mention M.F.), played with enthusiasm and brought a bit of his own style. Two thumbs up. Congratulations Son, you're a big boy now.  When your hair hits your shoulders and gets a little stringier, you are REALLY going to be something. 

I finally "heard" Rich's crunchy goodness on By Your Side. 
Looking good, sounding good, ever the watchful band director, Rich is easy to ignore with all of Chris's insane twirly-ness, center stage, but last night's show found Rich smiling through songs, grinning widely at his band-mates, and proving further, that the boys have found the joy again. No surprise here, Sven Pipien continues to do what every great bass player does, Look cool, love the songs, and consistently play really freaking good bass. 

Descending was a nice little treat from the Amorica days, but it just makes me long for Eddie Hawrysch. Adam Macdougal (keyboards), you make real funny faces. That's all I have to say about that. I tried, I really did, but I just. don't. like. you. It's okay, you're living the dream, enjoy it.

I stretched and checked my phone through fairweather favorites, She Talks to Angels and Hard to Handle. I suspect they are just as tired of those songs as I am, but I get it, you just gotta play em. A huge explosion of torrential downpour added further mania to the crowd during Soul Singing, and the ever-awesome Remedy, but the real joy for me was seeing Chris come alive on stage. I caught his side act, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood a few months ago at Antone's, and while the music was solid, and the chemistry good, I longed for his particular breed of canned energy. 

Well, he was ON last night. Charles Manson eyes, devious grins and all the booty-shaking, funky chicken dance moves you expect and love from 'el capitano.  Yes, he actually looked like he was having fun. A lot of fun. And when all the big hits were played, they played some more. Steve Gorman (drums) ever present in the background, faceless behind two curtains of curly brown hair, knowing that if it weren't for his unwavering solidity, this whole rowdy ship would sink in five minutes.  

The last 3 times I've seen the Black Crowes, I thought, "This is it. This is the last time." But for some reason I just couldn't let go, couldn't say goodbye. They weren't giving me the show that I want to know and love them for for all eternity. So I kept coming back...hoping.. I took a chance last night. I pulled on my old Crowes t-shirt and a pair of jeans, drove downtown, walked through the crowd with my "need 1 ticket" sign and some cash and gambled that my old Crowes were back. 

And they were. Go tell the congregation. So there you go, my first rock review and I didn't even mention Marc Ford. OOPS! crap. Well, just the once. 



Tonya said...

Dear, Rich


I remember when you first fell for them, and I always smile when "She Talks to Angels" and "Hard to Handle" come on the radio because it takes me back to the good ol' days.

I enjoyed reading your review even though I really know nothing of them since those days.

Kara Sheffield said...

For some amazing reason this was my first Crowes show, although I have all their dvds and have youtubed countless full shows. I did catch the Brotherhood several times last year to hold me over until the real deal. Great review. You're dead on, they looked energetic and were clearly enjoying playing. Maybe they were tired of channeling the Dead and the Band and were happy to be the Crowes again. Or maybe Jackie's new energy and first real tour at being a "rock" star was infectious. Whatever the reason, I am so happy I flew from Sacramento and weathered the pouring down just didn't seem to matter (other than the fact that they only played for two hours; short for the Crowes).

Rachel Anderson said...

Derek, Thanks for your comment! I'm thrilled some other Crowe fan out there is listening!:) Please share!