Counting Crows and Live, two of the biggest alternative acts to come out of the 90s made a stop at Harrah’s Stir Concert Cove Thursday night (9/13) to play a sold out show under the stars. The weather was a perfect high 70s and not a rain cloud in sight.
Before I get into my concert experience, I want to send a huge shout out to the Good Life Bar and Grill for getting me a ticket and making this all possible. They have several locations throughout Omaha, Elkhorn, and Papillion, and a party bus! Consider them for your next concert or Husker game. Go Big Red!
Ah, the 90s. Husker football was at its peak, Ska music was still cool, and of course alternative bands like Counting Crows and Live ruled the airwaves. You couldn’t turn on a radio for more than a few minutes in 1994 without hearing “Lightning Crashes” or “Mr. Jones”. Today, Counting Crows and Live might not receive the same amount of airplay, but the hunger for 90s music is just as strong as ever.
As I walked through the crowd I saw a lot of original Live and Counting Crows shirts from tours long ago, but I also saw a few new tour shirts showing that they have some staying power and can gather new fans. It was cool to see so many die-hards out there. I also spotted a guy with a sweet Morrisey shirt. You can’t mess with the Moz!
After mingling my way around the venue it was time for the first band Live. I made my toward the front for some pictures. Now I was supposed to get a photo pass, but unfortunately, it fell through. In another strike of bad luck, Stir decided to setup a huge “party pit” putting anyone without an extra special wristband quite a ways back from the stage. I was able to work my way up towards the front on the side of the stage though so it wasn’t too bad.
Live knows how to start a show! They kicked things off with their mega hit “All Over You” from 1994’s “Throwing Copper”.
Throwing Copper has sold over eight million copies to date, so it’s safe to say that “All Over You” is pretty recognizable. Next, the band pulled a risky move and played a brand new song “Love Lounge”. I will say though, if lead singer Ed Kowalczyk hadn’t mentioned it was a new song, being the casual fan that I am, I would’ve just assumed it was from the 90s. The audience seemed to dig it, dancing along and smiling.
After working their way through another string of hits including “I Alone” and Lakini’s juice, Live played a smoking cover of Jimmy Reed’s “Baby, What You Want Me to Do?” This was a full out jam with every member laying down extended solos, showing off their amazing talents.
After a very short break Ed came back out with an acoustic guitar to play a few songs solo. “Heaven” and “Turn My Head” were great, but the applause turned thunderous when the song everyone came for “Lightning Crashes” started to strum on Ed’s guitar. Slowly the band re-entered the stage and proceeded to rock for another 5 minutes as they stretched out their biggest hit with a few added solos.
In between Live and Counting Crows I moved a little closer to the front and ran into Brandon. Brandon and I exchanges stories of some of our favorite venues. I told him I wasn’t a huge fan of outdoor shows and I’d prefer a smaller club. Brandon said he liked outdoor shows and one of his favorite venues was Red Rocks in Colorado. I let him know I’ve never been but would like to go someday. He said his favorite show there was Incubus and… As soon as he said “and” I knew exactly which show he was talking about. He said “Incubus and Deftones” and I excitedly told him how Deftones is my favorite band of all time and that I had seen them nine times!! We had a great laugh. I love talking with fellow fans and just seeing how connected we can all become through music!
Soon the lights went down and it was time for Counting Crows. Adam Duritz stepped out in jeans, a dragon t-shirt, and cowboy boots. He had a big mustache and an even bigger afro.
The band proceeded to play Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby, a significant single from 1999’s This Desert Life. Next came “If I Could Give All My Love”. After that was the song everyone was waiting for “Omaha”.
Before the band played their smash hit and Omaha favorite, Adam told a cool story about being a kid who traveled all the time because his father was in the military. He said most of the kids he met in school had a more narrow viewpoint because they never left their home and considered that city to be their whole world. He was grateful for having a family that traveled because it gave him such a different perspective than most of the kids he knew.
After Omaha, nearly every song came with a long backstory. I’m sure for the Counting Crows superfans this was a much welcomed added bonus. Adam talked a lot about what was going on during the time the songs were written and gave a lot of personal details about the story behind the music.
I really wish a lot of the bands I follow would do the same. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a front man with such great communication skills. Not to say that I haven’t seen some really great front men in my time. No one does it better than “Howling” Pelle Almqvist, let’s get that straight. If you’ve never seen The Hives, get your butt to Europe! Or drive the eight hours to Chicago the next time they play the states.
Overall, it was a fun show. Both bands are well seasoned and know how to give the audience a cool experience. I could see this tour package continuing for years to come. Let’s hope they make a stop in Omaha next time!
Again, a huge shout out to The Good Life Bar and Grill for making this review possible!
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