Monday, October 25, 2010

Counting Crows “A Long December”

Some people dismiss Counting Crows, saying Adam Duritz takes himself too seriously. But if you were at The Orpheum in Boston, in 1999, you know differently.

At the time, I was still living in the South, but was coming up to New England for my sister’s wedding. As usual, I perused to see if there were any good shows in Boston, on the dates I was in town.

The day after the wedding, Counting Crows were schedule to play at The Orpheum, with another favorite band, Gigolo Aunts. So I got tickets.

As it happened, the show was October 31st. Halloween. We joked about going to the show in costume.

The Counting Crows did not joke.

I’ll never forget the band taking the stage. Backlit and silhouetted, I could make out a shape.

“Is he dressed in a bunny suit?!?!?”

Yes, Adam Duritz was dressed in a giant, white, fluffy bunny suit, complete with ears.

Other band members where dress up too. The bass player performed the full show in a robe and Yoda mask. One guitarist had a red devil suit and the other was a Russian soldier. It was pretty cute.

But better than cute, it added a really interesting element to the show.

Duritz would sing these heart-wrenching, very personal lyrics, the sincerity of which was completely undercut by the fact that he was standing there dressed as a bunny. It was hard to take him seriously, and it made the whole thing totally charming.

The giant bunny sat at the piano, for a stripped down version of “A Long December.” But he had to stop and start a couple of times, because he kept cracking up, knowing how silly it all was.

I remember walking out of The Orpheum thinking, Every concert should be that good.

The interpretations of familiar songs were adventurous, the playing was impeccable, and while the music had majesty, the show was completely devoid of rock or singer-songwriter pomposity.

Like all singers, every show, should be made to dress as a bunny.

1 comment:

  1. Honestly Counting Crows is not one of my ultra favorite bands.....but A Long December has always been one of my favorite songs. I appreciate it even more because I have added it to my guitar repertoire. Now I completely appreciate how difficult it is to sing a Counting Crows song correctly and even effectively. This is a song uniquely linked to Adam Duritz's style. You have to sing it like Adam in order to do it justice. None of this "make it your own" ideology. This one is Adams, I can sing it and play it, but the phrasing is incredibly difficult and ultimately rewarding when performed correctly. It doesn't matter that I am home alone playing and singing it. Now I will think of Adam Duritz, in the bunny costume.....that image will sustain me!!