Counting Crows are spending their summer vacation on the road with their Banshee Season tour, joined by Dashboard Confessional. Adam Duritz and company plotted out 56 North American cities and made a stop in Raleigh, NC, where OC Music News caught the show. They gave fans an unforgettable night of pure music bliss, incorporating acoustic songs into their set, showcasing their raw and unfiltered sound.
Downtown Raleigh was packed; the nearly sold-out Counting Crows concert was attracting fans from all over of course, but there was also the four-day GalaxyCon event taking place directly across from the Red Hat Amphitheater. Even Chris Carrabba and Chris Kamrada from Dashboard Confessional took time to check out the popular comic event, and at one point, Carrabba asked the crowd who else had gone, “or am I the only nerd?”
There are a lot of events where the venue doesn’t fill up until closer to the headliner, but not tonight; Dashboard Confessional had a huge crowd. Overall, the fans and bands were pretty laid back and the theme of the night seemed to be people just enjoying listening to some honest, quality music.
There wasn’t a ton of dancing or screaming; just a chill vibe. Counting Crows wasn’t as energetic as they could have been due to the fact that front-man Adam Duritz threw his back out the day before. He explained, “It feels like a broom is stuck up my ass, and not in a good way.” I saw him wincing in pain a few times as he played, but he pushed through. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery.
Dashboard Confessional started their set with “Don’t Wait,” and asked the audience to sing the post-chorus back to them. Before their third song, “Belong,” they thanked everyone for making them a part of their evening and reminded everyone that music binds us and we all belong together.
Before “Everybody Learns From Disaster,” Carrabba apologized in advance for any wardrobe malfunction because his shirt ripped a bit more than anticipated before the show and he was afraid he’d accidently show his nipple. When someone from the audience asked to see it, he said, “No… later,” which got a chuckle from us all. Guitarist Armon Jay (AJ) picks a song at every concert to play, and Carrabba says it’s always the same one, but tonight, we might get lucky and AJ will choose a new one. He didn’t, though he teased it might be “Free Bird,” it was the one he always chooses, “Saints and Sailors,” which didn’t disappoint.
For “Burning Heart,” Carrabba sat alone in the middle of the stage, a bright, heavenly white light shining down upon him as he sang, giving the moment a feeling of shared intimacy with the audience. It was then time for the song that made them famous, dropping Carrabba onto most of our radars, “Screaming Infidelities,” which also prompted excitement from the crowd as they sang along.
Drummer Chris Kamrada showed off his skills, and taught us all a complex pattern to help get ready for Counting Crows, before playing “Again I Go Unnoticed.” Prior to ending their set with “Hands Down,” Carrabba said, “Thank you guys for being beautiful today,” once again introduced the band, and thanked everyone for making the band feel so welcome.
The crowd was sitting; chatting with one another while they waited for Counting Crows to take the stage, but when they came on, everyone was on their feet hollering as “Sullivan Street” filled the humid night air, followed by “Come Around” and their breakout single, “Mr. Jones.”
Before “Butterfly in Reverse,” Adam Duritz addressed his fans and commented on the challenges of performing in downtown Raleigh. During sound check they had RF problems and were picking up everyone else’s Wi-Fi signals, so he thanked us for “turning off that shit” so they could play.
A cover of Jackson C. Frank’s “Blues Run the Game” started their acoustic set, followed by “Angels of the Silences.” It’s something the band has been including in their concerts since their “Recovering the Satellites” tour where they were asked by VH1 to be on the “Storytellers” show.
The band worked tirelessly on new versions of their songs to accomplish this and started their focus on “Angels of the Silences,” which was the first song they worked out a new version on and the rest is history as they say.
I was very intrigued with the lighting that Counting Crows uses. At one point, ironically enough, about the time it started sprinkling on us, the green lights tricked down on stage making it look like it was raining on them too.
Counting Crows put on an impressive 17-song set and played four songs during their encore. As part of the encore set, they brought out Dashboard Confessional so they could all play their hit song, “So Long, So Long.” Dashboard Confessional stayed on stage for “Hanginaround” before jetting off into the abyss. (Perhaps some aliens from GalaxyCon grabbed ‘em.)
Counting Crows stayed to play “Holiday in Spain,” before calling out each band members name and saying “Anyways, we kinda gotta go.” They left us listening to a recording of “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & the Papas while they exited.
There’s still two months left on the Banshee Season Tour as they make their way out west through the south. SoCal residents can see them at the YouTube Theater in Los Angeles on September 6th.