Review: Counting Crows with Maroon 5

Counting Crows with Maroon 5
Also with Sara Bareilles
Thursday 2008 Aug 7
PNC Bank Arts Center
Holmdel, NJ

My usual way to review a show would be to give the playlist and say what I did or didn’t like about each. That’s not going to work this time for a host of reasons. First off, I don’t really know the body of work for either Sara Bareilles or Maroon 5. I wouldn’t be able to name almost any of their songs, and it wouldn’t be fair to give an in-depth review of material I was hearing for the first time, under concert conditions. I can say that I was impressed with both groups, enough that I’ll probably plunk down some cash and check out their studio work. Ms. Bareilles has tremendous range and an endearing quality to her voice. Maroon 5 also covered a lot of ground stylistically, from hard rock to something that sounded a bit like late Police work.

I do know most Counting Crows songs, and I will be posting their playlist. But it really isn’t meaningful to analyze each in detail, for reasons that will be made clear below the fold.


The greatest strength of Counting Crows is without doubt the creative impulses of Adam Duritz. Sadly, the greatest weakness of Counting Crows turned out to be the in-concert ineptness of Adam Duritz. From the get-go he was unfocused and out of control, mangling his own songs so thoroughly as to give doubt about his sobriety. While the band is accomplished, the main draw of Counting Crows songs is their lyrical depth. Hearing Duritz trip over his own words and hack up his own cadence was just, simply put, sad. He wandered the stage and seemed entirely unconcerned with his disastrous performance.

It got so bad that numerous people — perhaps up to a quarter of the concert-goers — gave up and departed before the set was done. I felt the same temptation, for the first time in my concert-going history. Simple said, the entire debacle was embarrassing to watch. I can’t imagine what it felt like to be a band member participating in this slow meltdown. It’s convinced me that I’m never going to attend another Counting Crows show. I love and respect their music too much to be a witness at its destruction.

OK, now the playlist.

  1. Lean on Me
  2. Sullivan Street
  3. Hard Candy
  4. (some song I didn’t recognize)
  5. Washington Square
  6. Daylight Fading
  7. Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby
  8. Mr. Jones
  9. A Long December — including a particularly nice riff on “A Murder of One”
  10. Goodnight, LA
  11. Accidentally in Love
  12. (a second song I didn’t recognize)
  13. (a third song, by some other group in fact, that I didn’t recognize)
  14. Big Yellow Taxi
  15. Holiday in Spain

There was no encore set.

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