Saturday, November 20, 2010

House of Blues - Boston, Mass - 10.22 and 10.23.10

The Black Crowes
House of Blues
Boston, Massachusetts
October 22, 2010                                                    - electric -
- acoustic -                                                           P.25 London   
Jealous Again                                                      Jam > Black Moon Creeping 
Hotel Illness                                                         Ballad In Urgency >
Torn & Frayed                                                     Wiser Time
My Hearts Killing Me                                            Song of Love 
Downtown Money Waster                                 Oh Josephine
Thorn In My Pride                                               Hard To Handle
Girl From A Pawnshop                                        Remedy
Wee Who See The Deep                                   - encore -

Time Will Tell                                                       She Talks To Angels
My Morning Song                                                Hey Grandma

As we jump way ahead to this show we'd like to take a second to remind everyone that at the end of the day, nothing else matters but the music.  Sometimes for some people, appreciating how good something the band does takes three, four, five...sometimes twelve or a hundred listens to fully appreciate.  Three Snakes' learning curve, or appreciation curve, was longer than normal for some people.  You could say the same thing for Warpaint to a degree.  And someday, Before The Frost...Until The Freeze will be recognized as the true feat that it is.  Some Black Crowes fans are too close to the forest to see the trees.  This Boston show though...well, when you have a group of musicians that are playing the way this one is, your appreciation curve for a night like this is short, if not nonexistent. 

This band sounds really, really good right now.

Don't waste your time or anyone else's breaking down setlists anymore.  You're not going to get your mind blown with b-sides, unreleased gems and first time played covers every night.  We all want madness at every show we go to.  This show is so good though that no critique searching for moments to nitpick could possibly be taken seriously.  And you can differentiate the two kinds of Black Crowes fans we have now by reading people's opinions about these shows:  There are Crowes fans who are riding the train, looking out the window at this precious time passing by and appreciating every single mile along the way...and then there are the ones who refuse to get on board but still loiter around to tell everyone how unhappy they are.  We'd refer them to the second half of the first verse of Sting Me, but if they haven't gotten it by now they never will.  Happy trails folks.  Too bad for you.

Tonight in Boston, the jam in Thorn In My Pride was floating on some kind of extra push from underneath somewhere.  Have you heard this thing yet?  You need to.  Seriously.  What a fantastic audience recording captured by John Sousa and Ben Hardy.  In fact, you need to stop reading this right now, download the show, put on Thorn In My Pride and turn it up.  Listen to that reserved, completely-in-control playing.  What's that you say?  You don't know how to download torrents?  That's ok, call a friend who has it, have them play it over the phone for you and read this later.  Once you hear it, you'll know what I'm talking about.  This is one of the best acoustic Thorn In My Pride jams you'll ever heard this band do.  Even Mia Wallace said "GOD DAMN."  

To quote another movie character, Lloyd Christmas...

And by "there" we mean, on shows like this, this band is there.  The acoustic sets have become much more special than they were earlier in the tour.  They've evolved into a musical menagerie of mellowed out mayhem.  The playing going down during these sets and the sounds this band is making right now are beyond reproach.  Plain and simple.  Even if it took the "fucking Chatty Cathy types" a wake up call to get into it tonight before My Heart's Killing Me, by the time Thorn In My Pride came along they were all in.  Then with Chris feeling it on Wee Who See The Deep, and to get Time Will Tell mixed is it going to be a shame for those folks out there who, sometime around the middle of 2011, will finally appreciate how truly good this is right now.  These are special times, and as Steve says, the only thing that matters right now is being in the present.  

Here's RoyHobbes, in a post borrowed from, and his thoughts on the evening...

Was great to hear Money Waster, great song to hear acoustic w/ more of the electric tempo. In general I like the acoustic renderings of a lot of the songs, and Luther really smokes on this one. If I'm not mistaken, I believe Luther pulled out the pedal steel for Pawnshop, which was pretty wicked. I really appreciate how he seems so motivated to find new ways to add to the band's sound, and his pedal steel chops have become pretty impressive since his tenure in the band began. Between his mandolin and pedal steel, Luther is an asset to this band in ways far beyond the guitar fretboard. Wee Who See The Deep was also a highlight, loved the acoustic version they played at Town Hall in 2008 and the current rendering is right on point with that. Great to get Time Will Tell, my personal Southern Harmony scavenger hunt is finished! Pretty simple, peppy arrangement, maybe felt similar to their latter-day reading of Bend Down Low.

The second set brought a lot of nastiness. Exit was a welcome epiphany and seemed to be a particularly big hit on taper's row. It's a little groovier and less edgy than its 1995-era predecessor, but still nice and intense - hopefully they'll keep pulling it out as the current era draws to a close. Hey Grandma seems to have gotten some minor revamping and sounds a lot more shuffle-y now, definitely a rocking closer. CR sort of apologized to the crowd for his lecture when he came out for the encore. Warm fuzzies all around.

A few more thoughts...

Speaking of Exit, loved Luther busting out the wah wah on the outro.  More please.  Also noteworthy was the rare and now pleasant treat of the occasional P.25 London that gets off the couch and takes a lap around the track every once in a while, as in no more than 3 or 4 times a year, tops.  The opening of Black Moon coming in off the jam was nice, taken forward with Joe's tambourine shaking at just the right leaned back measure, creating a killer pocket.  The two-chord jam out of Ballad In Urgency just kept it coming.  So good.  Then Luther on Wiser Time.  More of the same.  A shorter, bouncier Song of Love was cool, with everyone holding back and really listening to one another.  And Hey Grandma will always give us a 2008 vibe every time we hear it, as it reminds us of when this band was exploring itself, finding its new sea legs and figuring out what was what.

Now we move on to night number two in Boston...

The Black Crowes
House Of Blues 
Boston, Massachusetts 
October 23, 2010

Soul Singing
Garden Gate
Whoa Mule
What Is Home
How Much For Your Wings >
Bring On Bring On                              
Roll Old Jeremiah > Jam
Thunderstorm 6:54pm
Good Friday
Nonfiction > Jam

-electric set-
Feelin' Alright

Ozone Mama
I Ain't Hiding
Title Song
Thorn In My Pride > Drums > Jam
Isn't It About Time
A Conspiracy
Twice As Hard
I Don't Know Why
Boomer's Story

Once again we'll borrow the thoughts of RoyHobbes as he sets the stage for this one...

Show was an hour earlier on this night and I think that faked a lot of people out, because things weren't really filling in until a good 40 minutes into the first set. The new-era triplet of Garden Gate - Whoa Mule - What Is Home packed a lot of punch in the acoustic set, especially with Luther's melodic slide heroics on the latter two. What Is Home is just a killer song, I was surprised not to get sick of it despite the number of times they played it over the course of my run. Wings is definitely not as impressive acoustically as it is electric, but the jam is still a whopper, and Bring On was especially fiery on this night. The crowd-at-large didn't seem to appreciate Thunderstorm with its unexpected starts and stops, but I did!

Nice funky opening to the electric proceedings. I took the opportunity to get some beers during Ozone Mama, but returned in time to catch the final couple minutes of Luther absolutely melting faces on the outro, and almost wished I had stuck around for the whole thing. Almost. I Ain't Hiding was a huuuuuge hit with the crowd, and really has become a barnburner. If you hate this song, you seem to be in the minority. Title Song and Thorn were a nice one-two, both have seldom sounded better. Vintage CR screaming on Conspiracy.

Like Willin, Boomer's is a "10" closer. Great pair of shows in Boston, this is undoubtedly the tightest-knit the band has been at any point since the reunion, and both Luther and Adam have come a long way since the advent of the new lineup. Can't get enough at this point, especially if they're going to pull out sets like the last two.

To piggyback Hobbes' thoughts on I Ain't Hiding, the middle section of that thing flat smokes.  Plus it's another one of those spots in the set when you get to watch Rich go off.  We prefer this one in the middle of a set as opposed to seeing it pop up on the encore...but next time it does appear in an encore keep an eye out for it to be preceded by its traveling partner of late, Feathers, which we thought was one of the all-time strangest pairings of songs ever for an encore, until it happened a second time.  Fool me once, shame wait...shame fool me, can't get fooled again.  Something like that.

Other noteworthy moments that bear mentioning include the stellar ride that came out of Roll Old Jeremiah and then made its way down the tracks for about ten minutes with ease.  That's just plain ol' good music right there.  No other way to slice it.  Where's my rocking chair?  Great sounds coming from Luther on the What Is Home back end too...starting to sound like a broken record complimenting him all the time.  His wheelhouse in this band is huge on songs like this.  Just nailing it.  And Ozone Mama...what to say...well, there is something there.  Certain moments of Ozone Mama really do work.  The melody in the chorus is money.  It's all those "y'alls" that are afflicted with that damn Lickin' virus though, a nasty bug that attacks certain parts of a song, leaving them waylaid while ignoring other sections that remain as healthy and strong as Jack Jack Parr.  Great encore here tonight too...I don't know why I Don't Know Why always sounds good, but it does, and Boomer's Story is never a bad way to end a show.  There aren't many covers the band has been playing longer than Boomer's.  Even though it's been put on the shelf at times over the years, it's been part of the catalog since way back when.

In the Excuse Us For Mentioning It Late category...the Boston shows came one week in to Laura Williams' new gig singing and looking good in place of her mother, Mona Lisa Young.  Laura's first gig was in Albany on October 15th.  She also filled in for Charity in 2005.  Everybody loves Mona and hopes to see her again.  And while a lot of Crowes fans know how long Mona's list of album credits are and all the big names she's performed with, there's one album she sang on that you may have overlooked which we'd like to take this opportunity to re-introduce you to.  When you're searching for that perfect stocking stuffer for the one you love this Christmas, head straight for the bin marked "50 cents" at your local record shop and you might just find it there waiting for you.  Probably more popular with the ladies than the fellas.  In any case, best wishes and a big thank you to Mona for all that she's brought to the shows and the sound and the fun we've all had over these past six years.


  1. I agree that the Warpaint material is sounding more and more at home within the bands catalog. Those songs have appeared as some of my favorite moments off the recent tour, and the same will likely be true of the last album if they tour again. This songs are like a nice whiskey--they take a little aging to reach peak maturity and complexity.

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