Friday Night: The Black Crowes At Verizon Wireless Theater
On their sort-of farewell tour before taking a hiatus, the Black Crowes didn't skimp on the musical goods, spending nearly 3 and a half hours onstage with a set list exploring the deep nooks and crannies of their discography. This was to the delight of hardcores, but generated head-scratching among some casuals who weren't sure what to make of the first, mostly acoustic, set and probably and would have recognized only the last three songs of the evening.
Nevertheless, the band delivered a strong show that unfolded at its own pace and with no rush.
The usually motor-mouthed vocalist Chris Robinson was unusually silent through the show, addressing the crowd only twice: once to spout out one of his nonsequitur "Chris-isms" ("You can't buy a special shampoo to get rid of us!"), and toward the end to thank the crowd for respecting their ban on the "fucking technology" of cell-phone video cameras - though he did call out one amateur Scorsese as "a douchebag."
The muted behavior somewhat dampened the celebratory nature of the show. Crack a smile once in a while, guys!
Perhaps more than any other lineup in the group's history, this version has seemed to gel the best, anchored by complementary guitarists Luther Dickinson and Rich Robinson - the latter taking more solos than in the past, including some inspired work on "Good Friday" and "Wiser Time." Drummer Steve Gorman, bassist Sven Pipien, keyboardist Adam MacDougall and two backup singers with an extra percussionist rounded out the players.
And while every one of the Crowes studio records had at least some representation, the best performances came from the underrated Three Snakes and One Charm: "Under a Mountain" and "Good Friday" in the first set and later "(Only) Halfway to Everywhere" and "Let Me Share The Ride." All had an unstoppable groove.