Review By Daron Jacks

I had no expectations about seeing the Counting Crows live, I simply had no idea what to expect.

Like many, I was a Mr Jones Crows fan. There was hardly a household in the ‘90s that didn’t have a copy of August And Everything After in their CD player. Remember those old things?

But that was 30 years ago and having flogged the CD it soon gathered dust on the shelf like so many other great albums before and after them.

Sure, I enjoyed their cover of Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi, but I never really stuck with the Counting Crows. And after taking in two hours of their live show at the Palais, I now regret not soaking up the next three decades of their discography.

But I will now.

Checking out the audience filing into any gig usually gives you an understanding of the longevity of the band, and type of fan. So, seeing plenty of middle-aged Melbourne making their way to a seat was guaranteed, but many twenty and thirty somethings were also there.

Maybe they grew up with their parents flogging that fantastic debut album way back when, but their enthusiasm for the later songs only reinforced the Crows have been prolific and no less bloody good musos for many years and counting (pun intended!).

Frank Turner (playing solo without his Sleeping Souls band) warmed up the audience and detailed his 35-year love-hate relationship with his father and the unexpected reconciliation when angry dad came out as transwoman Miranda, hence his song Miranda was a standout.

Counting Crows opened with Hard Candy and quickly got Mr Jones out of the way. It set a tone for songs given some improvisation and not a rigid replay of the recorded version.

Lead singer Adam Duritz entertains with his engaging banter and clear humility, so much so the sold-out Palais felt like and intimate venue.

Colorblind and Omaha soon followed, and a cover of Teenage Fanclub’s Start Again. Big Yellow Taxi got the audience up, but Duritz brought it down with Miami, his story of breaking up with a girlfriend on tour, but not telling her yet.

As the Crows meandered through their albums showcasing their musicianship and storytelling, my wife summed it up perfectly as she leaned in and whispered, “I feel Like I’m at a musical”.

And it did. Stories that touched the heart with sadness and happiness, and the relaxed nature with which each song was delivered by Durtiz talking to the audience.

Rain King once again got bums off seats and for more singing and an encore of Hanginaround and Holiday in Spain closed out two hours on stage.

The Counting Crows are so much more than Mr Jones. They are worth every cent to see live and while it may have taken 30 years to break that cherry, I now have 30 years of songs to explore, and based on their enthusiasm on this Butter Miracle Tour, there’s bound to be more to come.

They still have one show left in Melbourne at Hamer Hall this Thursday before heading to Sydney, so don’t walk, run to snap up these tickets.  Easter just got a whole lot better.

You can still catch COUNTING CROWS at the following dates:

April 6th - Hamer Hall, Melbourne

April 9th - Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Arpil 11th - Enmore Theatre, Sydney 

Tickets available here