Hangin' Around with the Crows in Brixton

Review by James Raffoul

THIS is the sixth time I have seen Counting Crows in England and was definitely one of the best; they are just getting bigger and better. The concert was a sell-out as soon as tickets went on sale.

I arrived a little late, after problems parking, but managed to catch around half of the support act. When I walked in, I heard the familiar sound of Just Looking, by the Stereophonics, being played acoustic.

At first I thought it was a brilliant cover and then it twigged, that it was, in fact, Kelly Jones, from the band! He played Hurry Up & Wait, Step on My Old Size Nines, and finished with Mr. Writer, along with a few new ones.

Counting Crows, ironically, are supporting the Stereophonics in August at V2002 and this was a repayment, and a great one. He was absolutely brilliant and provided a great start to a fantastic evening.

By the time Counting Crows came on, the crowd was in an absolute frenzy, and the atmosphere was electric. The band played a mix of new and old songs, with a couple of covers thrown into the encores.

I was a bit sad not to hear a full version of Anna Begins and Round Here but the Rain King alternate was unbelievable and, along with Mr Jones, probably the best known Crows' song, performed with Kelly Jones. Adam Duritz had to give him the lyric sheet, though, as he jumped a little ahead in the song. It was just one of those things that you'll never see again.

Other personal highlights for me were Omaha and Monkey, of which the latter is rarely performed live, so it was a real treat to see them perform one of their less distinguished hits.

The band seemed to truly enjoy it and the crowd was buzzing. All in all, Counting Crows gave a really emotional and energetic performance and I for one cannot wait until I see them again, hopefully when they do an official tour perhaps later on in the year. Until then there is always the new album, Hard Candy - released on July 8 - and V2002 in August, which should be great.

Brixton Academy is one of the best venues in town to catch a band who, when playing live, excel past all expectations.

The Setlist

Mrs. Potters Lullaby
Hard Candy
Rain King (round here alternate)
4 Days
Richard Manuel is Dead
Goodnight LA
Daylight Fading
A Long December (f****d up Live forever intro)
Mr. Jones (with Kelly Jones)
Have You Seen Me Lately
American Girls
A Murder Of One

Encore 1
Big Yellow Taxi- Joni Mitchell
Start Again- Teenage Fanclub
Hangin Around (plus Kelly Jones)
Encore 2
The Blues Run The Game- Jackson c. Frank
Sullivan St.

Counting Crows' new album,
Hard Candy, is released on
July 8 -
click on album cover
to pre-order!