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I’m an emotional guy.
I wasn’t always this way, but in the last three to five years, I’ve become
prone to dash to the brinks of happiness and despair pretty quickly. I’d
like to think I’ve stopped sweating the small stuff, but I haven’t completely.
A big chunk of my personality renders me extremely passionate about several things ranging in importance. I get
very passionate about some of the bands I love, and I can be sent screaming off a cliff very quickly if I feel
something has gone awry in the land of a group I adore.
One of those bands is, has, and likely always will be the Black Crowes. And a few days ago, I had a hardcore
freak-out over the departure of guitarist Marc Ford. I doubted the ability of the band to move on (despite the fact
that they had before, and quite well in fact), I lamented the purchase of tickets, and generally went on a “woe is
me” trip for about 1,000 words.
|The brothers Robinson delivered again
in concert, just as they always do.
It’s just a little more than two hours since their show in Providence, R.I.,
ended, and I’d like to send a message to the band:
I’m sorry. I was wrong to doubt you.
As the band took the stage, with new guitarist Paul Stacey looking a bit
timid but in great spirits, the opening blast-off of “(Only) Halfway To
Everywhere” made me feel like an idiot. The rhythm was churning, Chris
Robinson was in excellent voice and Rich Robinson, usually stoic on
stage, was smiling, laughing and leading Stacey with his eyes, the two
often glancing at the other and chuckling. Damn it, these guys were
having fun, and damn it if I wasn’t having a blast myself.
I was also worried that the band would be stuck playing a “greatest hits”
set for a time while Stacey grew more comfortable. Wrong again. Save for
his first night with the band, a free show where nearly every song was
literally plucked from 1990-1999: A Tribute To A Work In Progress, the
band has been just as exploratory and adventurous as ever. On this night,
show 5 of the fall tour, the band mixed three consecutive covers into the
first set, took off on “Black Moon Creeping” and played some songs that
could be part of their new album, including “Cold Boy Smile.” Through it
all, Stacey was more than carrying his load, playing some slick, twisted
leads while trading licks with Rich.
Not to be ignored, Rob Clores was more than apt filling Ed Harsch’s seat
at the keys. As a matter of fact, I really couldn’t hear too much of a
difference. The band didn’t play any tunes that with signature Harsch
contributions (“Decending,” “Ballad in Urgency”), but Clores still was on
the money all night. Welcome to the fold, Rob.
And Paul Stacey, if this gig is just for the tour, then thanks for a fun night at
the Strand. However, if this stay becomes an extended one, then welcome
aboard. The situation with Ford has become a bit clearer in the past few
days, with a release by the band noting that his resignation was “startling”
and wishing him well as he works to remain sober, the news that he left
falls much softer now. And after seeing Stacey live, it’s clear that this band
won’t go on unless they’re confident they can perform to the best of its
Last week, I said that for the Crowes to move past this episode, they’d
have to be great. And they were. And they just about always are.
Last week, I was wrong to launch into a written hissy fit. I was extremely
disappointed to hear that one of my favorite guitarists was no longer a
part of one of my favorite bands. But once in a while, I get to be wrong
about something, too.
And I’ve rarely been so happy to be wrong.
Thanks, guys. And keep the freak n’ roll rolling.
|THE BLACK CROWES
Lupo's at The Strand
Sept. 12, 2006
(Only) Halfway to Everywhere
Black Moon Jam >
Black Moon Creepin’
High Head Blues
Let It Be Gone
Long Black Veil
Ride A Pony
Twice As Hard
Jam > Thorn In My Pride
Song Of Love
Welcome To The Goodtimes
Cold Boy Smile
Hard To Handle