A few years ago I went to see Counting Crows on the Hard Candy tour in the CIA and left feeling very disappointed. So much so, that I wasn't really looking forward to seeing them on Saturday night. In fact, if we hadn't been bought tickets by my generous sister-in-law, I wouldn't have gone. (Especially as it was in the CIA, a venue I hate.)
But if I hadn't gone I would have missed out on a great gig. Support wise, Oregon band Blind Pilot were pretty good and just quirky enough to be interesting without being pretentious. The other support band, The Hold Steady, weren't much cop, although a fair few people in the crowd seemed to be shouting along with their songs. It didn't help that they seemed to be fronted by an aggressive geography teacher, while the spiv-suited keyboard player was obviously a "character".
The main attraction made a bold choice, opening with a brand new song, which of course no-one knew. They went for an alternative feel on "Mr Jones" which didn't really work, played more songs off This Desert Life than I would have expected, missed out "Angels of the Silences", played great versions of "A Long December" and "Omaha", and finished with an awesome version of "Rain King", which segued halfway through into 'I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends' before seguing back into the last chorus of Rain King for a finale.
The encore - a couple of songs off their new album - was a bit disappointing after that. I always think bands should end on a song everyone knows, but there you go.
So all in all, an interesting set-list delivered with energy and punch. Adam, the singer, seemed to actually be interested and engaged this time around. And it helps that the CIA have installed a much better sound system too (although the acoustics were terrible during the support acts), although I'd still prefer to see them somewhere else really. Somewhere with soul.