Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Counting Crows

Last night, my brother and I drove up to the Syracuse State Fair to see Hootie and the Blowfish and Counting Crows, one of my all-time favorite bands. I've seen Counting Crows before, once last year in Rochester at Darien Lake, and they put on a really good show. But, they play a lot of unknown songs and change up some of the popular songs when they play them, so I think a lot of people are left disappointed with their performance. Honestly, I think that it's great for artists to reinvent their music and choose the songs they want to play, because it's their music.

I love Counting Crows because they have so much heart for their music. They love each song they create, and you know how meaningful each piece is. Adam, the lead singer, always talks about a song or two during the night, letting you know its significance and importance to him. I really like that, because you know he's creating music that's really special to him, and they're creating songs not only to make money, but because they have to.

My favorite part of the night is when the band played a not-so-popular track, "Goodnight Elizabeth," a slower song. Mid-way during the song, the band kept playing the slow piano tune to the song, and Adam sat down on a speaker and talked about what the song means to him. He told us that in 1993, he had a girlfriend and a record contract. He thought he had his whole life planned out. Marriage, band, life. Then when they went on the road in the summer, they broke up unexpectedly. He wrote the song in December of the same year, thinking that his lyrics "Goodnight, Elizabeth" really meant "goodbye," like saying goodbye to her as his girlfriend.

But, he said that now, since he broke up with a new girlfriend two weeks ago, he really figured out what he was talking about years ago. Instead of "goodnight" really meaning "goodbye," he thinks that it really does mean "goodnight." When we lose someone, we give up that ability to say goodnight to them, and as he put it, "release the anchor on them before they go to sleep." We're they're last contact, that special moment before you both sleep. You really don't think about it much until it's gone, and then you realize how important and comforting the "goodnight" was.

I love that the band still tries to figure out their songs even after they've been published for over ten years. I think that's one reason why they're a strong band; they also keep reinventing their songs, which I find extremely talented. Soon, they'll be coming out with a new edition of August and Everything After, one of their best albums, in my opinion.

But, still during "Goodnight Elizabeth," after he said his revelation, he sung with his eyes closed, really feeling the song. Then, once he opened his eyes, he realized that a couple guys in the front were fighting, so he put his hand up and the band stopped playing music. He said, "Are you guys really fighting during 'Goodnight Elizabeth'? This is not a fighting song. There are definitely a lot of other songs that you could fight to, but this is a slow song." Then he waited a minute and asked if they were done fighting. He motioned to the band to begin, and they began playing right from where they left off.

I enjoyed that too.

Other songs that they played: "Black and Blue," "A Long December," "Recovering the Satellites," "St. Robinson and His Cadillac Dream," "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby," "Hangin' Around," "Big Yellow Taxi," "Hard Candy," "Holiday in Spain," "Mr. Jones," and they ended with "Rain King" and a Bob Dylan song, sang as a duet with Darius Rucker, the lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish. They also played two new songs from a new CD coming up: Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings, which sounds like it's going to be a double disc, because songs come from either side. They played "Hanging Tree" from Saturday Nights and "Drumming Girl" (I think that's the name of the song) from Sunday Mornings. Look for the new CD!

At the end, Adam talked to the audience again. He said that we need to be more American and use our rights more than we do. We need to vote. There's nothing more American than voting. He doesn't care what we vote, but we need to exercise our ability to choose more often. And, he said that we should be participating in more programs around our local area, like rape abuse centers, AIDS facilities, clinics, etc. Volunteer. America gives us the ability to participate and be involved. We need to use that involvement more. The best help you can give is to your own community; you don't need to go all around the world to help. Local help is the best you can do.

Then, Adam ended by saying that they're not going anywhere; they plan on being around for a while. That's good news for us.

What are your favorite Counting Crows songs? Which lyrics do you love? Have you ever seen them perform before?

These lyrics stuck out to me last night from "A Long December," and I'll post them underneath. Think about it for this upcoming year, especially all you college freshmen.

I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

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