...we've got the means to make amends. I am lost, I'm no guide, but I'm by your side. (Pearl Jam, Leash)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Counting Crows 1993: "This is the beginning of our first tour, ever, so we're kinda kicked about that"

In around 1993/1994 I used to babysit for this lady that worked at Shoreline Amphitheatre as an usher, and seemed to know a lot of people in "the business" and got all kinds of great music. I would come to her house armed with a secret stash of blank cassette tapes and I would clandestinely dub her good music onto them after her daughter was safely tucked into bed. Naughty nannies, I know (ah, she didn't mind).

In this manner I got lots of good stuff, one of them being a soundboard recording of a very early Counting Crows show at the historic Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado, from 8/27/93.

I absolutely wore out the tape, listening to it so many times that I know the entire set and all the dialogue by heart. Then tapes kind of went by the wayside in my life and now I think I've lost the original. I've spent many hours trolling the web looking for these songs. Then reader Jeff turns out to have this very show on mp3 and just sent it to me and made my WEEK (no, month!). In listening to it again for the first time in years, my ears are extremely happy.

This is a snapshot of the Crows at a critical juncture on the edge of stardom in their career, as the announcer says, "This band is so new, even *I* haven't heard of them yet..." and calls them an "up and coming new hot band" in the Bay Area. And as Adam Duritz says, "Uh, we're Counting Crows and this is the beginning of our first tour, EVER, so we're kinda kicked about that."

The set is full of enthusiasm, affability, and some excellent-quality renditions of rare songs of theirs that I LOVE but that they have never released officially. Both have those fabulous lyrics that I love Counting Crows for. Listen to the story in Open All Night. It's a simple story, evocative of a conversation shared between two strangers. If we were listening to this together, I've put little stars** next to the lines where I would shush you and make you listen closely, favorite parts of the song for one reason or another:

Exit 8 **
Small cafe **
Georgia moonlight **
It's 3am and I've been driving all night
She had a funny air, red-brown hair in the porchlight **
She said 'we're open all night
so won't you come inside
It's gonna be alright...'

She said 'tired?'
I said 'I'm a little bit unstable'
She said 'child, I will help you if I am able
See there's a bottle of relief upon the table
And we're open all night
so won't you come inside
It's gonna be alright...'

She said 'I was born the year the rockets landed **
Circa 1969 and I got stranded **
Yeah but the comet's getting close and I can't stand it **
Said we're open all night
So won't you come inside
It's gonna be alright...'

Exit 8
Small cafe
Georgia moonlight
It's 8am and I've been drinking all night
But there is nothing I will not do to make it alright
She said 'we're open all night
so won't you come inside
It's gonna be alright...'

. . . And Margery - This one is a bit more wordy, but just absolutely beautiful as well. It reads like a poem. As a huge fan of Counting Crows I like to see these early personifications of names that will recur in songs over the next ten-plus years for the Crows (Margery and Anna). Here's partial lyrics. I started starring ** lines in this song and realized it would be every line, so just shush and listen to all of it. Ow, beautiful.

In still water she lies down
shaking through the press of sunlight
We rolled into Lexington
she shakes off a drop of daylight

Water beading off her chest
bleeding down between her knees
Rivers in Kentucky flow
beneath the bluegrass wavy seas

And oh, Margery
sticks the knife once more inside of me

. . .

Dust me off and shut me down
and dream of where I haven't been
Close the door inside my heart
And stuff in the south Atlantic wind

I have hollow eyes
haunting only to myself
Even so I can't stop carving,
scraping hollows in myself

I took the train from California
to the far side of the continent
Woke up in Kentucky
Where the wedding was about to end

I looked up at Anna
she turned back to look at me
It's best to kill the ones that matter
render blind the ones who see

But oh, Margery
takes the blade and walks away from me

Oh, Margery
love like blood is pouring out of me

Oh, Margery
my heart won't stop bleeding over me

Oh, I can't shut it in
it's got far too many doors to block the wind
Oh, I can't shut it in
it's got far too many doors to block the wind

Adam reveals that his favorite song on "our new album" (August and Everything After) is Perfect Blue Buildings, (which is a perfect, opalescent, unspoiled, melancholy gem in my book) because, as he says, "It will never be a single." Plus, the Van Morrison Caravan cover can't be beat. As Adam says, "This is our favorite song, period, and . . . we didn't write it. But I wish we did."

ENJOY, my friends. You are in for a huge treat.

Counting Crows
Live at the Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO
August 27, 1993

01. Intro
02. Round Here
03. Open All Night (unreleased)
04. Rain King
05. Time and Time Again
06. Margery (unreleased)
07. Anna Begins
08. Perfect Blue Buildings
09. Caravan (Van Morrison)
10. Murder of One
11. Sullivan Street

(you need this whole set, not just as piecemeal, yo.)



At March 29, 2006 3:02 PM, Anonymous Aaron said...

It's funny, because I was just craving some live Counting Crows. I even got on their "trader network" and started snooping around for something...then this. You never let me down. Thanks

At March 30, 2006 8:24 AM, Blogger Brad O. said...

Words can't fully express what joy this brings to me...

Thank you for posting it is making my day a lot brighter.

At March 31, 2006 1:14 PM, Anonymous little brother said...

What about "Maria?" I think that's a more common name that Adam uses than Anna or Marjorie. I love this bootleg.. I've been lsietning to it like crazy...........

At March 31, 2006 1:43 PM, Blogger heather said...

"there's a piece of maria in every song that i sing.."

Good call.

At April 03, 2006 11:49 AM, Anonymous jeff said...

thanks for spreading the joy. sometimes i wish there was someone i could share my warm private musical moments and feelgood lyrics with... and guess what? THERE IS.

everyone is digging this. how cool is that?

and i agree, open all night, love it.

so let me know, I have TONS of live CC. i'll try to get you that Prov RI show to you next ok?


At June 12, 2006 9:40 PM, Anonymous Sal said...

This comment is a bit delayed, but I wanted to say that I continue to enjoy this show, and thank you for posting it. Please keep it up for a while, so the friends I recommend it to can download it. The funny part is that I never considered myself a Counting Crows fan before listening to this show. Converted? I think so.

At June 24, 2006 4:01 AM, Anonymous ossobear said...

This Is the music of addiction, with the abcent of a place to be, we hold our self together,
we turn and then walkaway,

thanks for the download im going to link to you from my website your ace i sher more music on my site too email me for more info my addy will be on that page

At July 09, 2006 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got to your blog by mistake, but I liked it a lot because you have the same musical taste as I do... you like PY, which is incredible cause were I live no one knows him... I used to like CC a lot.. I saw them at the fiddler green '00 but didnt like that show much.. I've been disapointed by them lately... They just wont release new songs and are just living in the past.. shame!..

anyways, nice blog...

At July 13, 2006 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, you just scored bonus points with me. I just found your blog, and am loving it, but a counting crows fan to boot.

I just saw them and goo goo dolls in St. Louis. Great show, all be it too short, do to co-headling.

Look for a new album sometime in the Spring of 2007. Tentative title is Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings. Part rocking guitar stuff and part soft acoustic stuff. Rumor is that they have re-recorded Suffocate, that was a song on their demo cd.

Huge Crows fan,

Kev in St. Louis

At September 20, 2006 9:56 PM, Anonymous allison said...

i love yooooou!

At September 23, 2006 9:58 AM, Blogger pacman720 said...

I'm sooo thankful for this !! Collecting CC boots has become an obsession with me lately so I LOVE adding this to my collection !!

At February 15, 2007 6:48 AM, Anonymous Kay said...

love to see that there are lots of people around who dig the crows as much as i do. And heather, thank you for putting this brilliant recording on your blog! I love it!
especially 'oh, margery', when the guitars are playing that 'solo-thing'
(sorry don't know how to call that i'm from holland) And the lyrics are magnificent too, aw this really is great, thanks so much!

At May 25, 2007 4:54 PM, Blogger 4duckie2see said...

Thanks so much! Was on a holiday in Boulder just a year later...Listening to college-radio. Hearing all kinds of new music. And ten buying August and Eveything After in some second hand cd-shop in SF. The only cd that was worn out so much that I had to buy a new one. :-)

At June 27, 2007 1:08 AM, Blogger Dingo said...

Thanks for posting this, Heather! I caught Adam and the boys on that inaugural tour, opening for Cracker at the Liberty Lunch in Austin, Texas. Listening to their Boulder set now, I'm blown away by how good and fully formed the band sounds. It was obvious to me then that these guys were "gonna be big stars."

Dingo, aka festival freak

At January 26, 2008 3:53 PM, Anonymous Jesse "James"Stael said...

he! i accidentaly bumped onto your bloq looking for reviews of the new CC album SNSM...and i have to say i am completely thrilled to find this bootleg..because although i love the cc's whole career..i like their old stuff in a special way..because it brings back these feelings when i started listening to them..although i started listening to them like 4 years ago..but after hard candy being the first album i picked up..and had to rebuy for 3 times..i myself wasnt in a too happy stage at that time..and then when i heard round here..wow! a well.. i am an artist myself too..starting out slowly in holland..maybe feel like checking out www.myspace.com/jessestael ?i am a singer/ songwriter and greatly inspired by the lyrics of adam

At June 30, 2008 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crazy, I just stumbled onto this blog.
My sister and I are seeing them next sunday for the first time. I've waited 5 years for a live show.
I can't get enough of them- pure magic.
I'de like to say I wish I saw them when they were relativly new, but it happened this way- it's a long story how I discovered them, a bit strange/spooky.
Thank you for putting this up- appreciate it.


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