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Review: You can count on these Crows

Adam Duritz and company, joined by the Wallflowers, put on a lively show at Pacific Amphitheatre.

July 23, 2013|By Kelly Parker
  • Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows sings the band's hit single "Mr. Jones" Sunday.
Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows sings the band's… (Candice Baker )

“Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got till it's gone.”

And so it felt when Counting Crows finished their set Sunday night at the OC Fair. They played for two hours, but I was desperate for at least two more when they left the stage.

I don't think I was the only one. The crowd at Pacific Amphitheatre was at near capacity, and the energy was hot even as the temperature outside dipped and a spattering of raindrops fell.

I admit this won't be the most impartial review. I am a die-hard Counting Crows fan. I've seen them perform three times, but one of the best things about this band is that no show is ever the same.

Counting Crows is like no other band onstage, in large part because of the showmanship and talent of frontman Adam Duritz. He isn't just a singer (and brilliant songwriter) — he's a true performer.

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This was especially evident Sunday thanks to the two large video screens the Pacific Amphitheatre had on each side of the stage. They gave the audience a clear view of Duritz as he sang or, more actually, performed each song. He has such an animated personality and an undeniable stage presence.

The emotions he felt while performing shone through his facial expressions, gestures and heartbreakingly raw and real voice. He nearly brought himself (and me) to tears during his rendition of “Round Here,” which is always a crowd favorite.

I literally got chills as the opening chords of the song rang out. To me, hearing that song live is akin to a religious experience. (If you don't believe me, go out and buy their live album “Across a Wire: Live in New York City.” Your musical life will never be the same.)

For the more uptempo songs, like the popular Joni Mitchell cover song “Big Yellow Taxi” (as quoted above) and hits “Mr. Jones,” “Hanginaround” and “Mrs. Potter's Lullaby,” Duritz bounced around the stage with a boundless energy that the audience found contagious.

He showed a good amount of humor too. At the start of “A Long December,” Duritz’s piano was clearly out of tune. He stopped playing the song and chastised the crew, all in good fun.

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