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Counting Crows: Caught live at Virgin Radio's secret gig


Review: James Raffoul

FOR those in the know, this was a superb opportunity to see Adam Duritz and his Counting Crows (CC) ensemble up close and personal at a private gig, in London.

Currently on tour in the UK, and soon to be moving to Europe, South Africa and then Australia, CC are in town promoting their newest release, a best of - Films About Ghosts.

Being a blatantly biased fan, I find it hard to write a bad word about their songs (maybe their previous album, Hard Candy, was the weakest of the lot), but stumbling on a small, one-off gig like this, restores all two per cent of my lost faith.

Ten years have passed since the release of their first album, and any self-respecting band that receives success over that period has to release a greatest hits compilation, if only to swell the burgeoning coffers just that little bit more and make retirement just that little bit sweeter.

They only played five songs, and while you may ask what the point is in reviewing something so short and sweet, Mr Duritz proved, yet again, that he is a masterclass at the live performance, his years of angst reflected in his voice with every note.

Opening with Mr Jones, probably their best-known song, CC recorded this one-off gig for Virgin Radio, which is due to be aired on March 7.

They (and particularly Adam) showed all their class with their next hit, Rain King. Off the August and Everything After album, the rendition was superb, both compelling and moving.

Being in a studio less than two metres from the band, and hearing each individual instrument played up close, with Adam's voice ringing through each one, was worth the admission alone - oh I forgot, we didn't have to pay - ha ha! Even better!

His improvisation of lyrics is what makes CC such a successful live band, and I'm sure one of the main reasons behind them having sold 18 million albums world-wide.

(His song writing skills remain out of the very top drawer as well).

They were a highlight of V2002 and the Isle of Wight's 2003 Summer festival - truly no two songs are sung the same when he's around.

Big Yellow Taxi, A Long December and Friend Of The Devil were churned out for our lucky ears and, in between, questions and answers were posed from Virgin's resident DJ, Ben Jones.

Before you could shout encore and the girls had finished peeling themselves off the band, they were off heading up to Manchester for the start of their UK dates. Encore Adam, encore!

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