Crows give Hershey new takes on tunes
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In general, concerts fall into two categories.

The first is the true-to-the-album-version show. Songs sound pretty much like what you've downloaded or heard on CD and radio. Everyone sings along and usually goes home happy.

The second is why most people spend the money, time and effort to go to a concert -- the unpredictable, unexpected performance turning the songs you know into something new and interesting. Everyone sings along and goes home very happy.


Friday night at Hershey's Giant Center, the Counting Crows chose the latter with spectacular results.

The seven Crows took their familiar tunes and molded them into sometimes brilliant compositions. The mistakes and missteps were more endearing then annoying.

One couldn't help but be impressed with the Crows musicianship and creativity -- the loose, jazzy, almost spoken-word unfolding of "Anna Begins" or the jaunty, country-ish "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby."

The show often felt like a long one-sided conversation by barefoot frontman, Adam Duritz, sporting his trademark Sideshow Bob hair, telling stories about Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace saloon or explaining a song's origins.

Through "Omaha," Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," "A Long December" and "Rain King," the half-dozen other Crows skillfully complemented rather than overwhelmed each other.

That was clearly evident on "Time and Time Again" as Duritz stalked the stage with lyrics pouring out of him in torrents. "I really dig playing that song," he said afterward. "We haven't played it in years."

But the highlight of the night was Duritz directing the band in a long jam of "A Murder of One" that built to a giant crescendo. Duritz threw down his mike stand to punctuate the end of the spectacular song.

The Goo Goo Dolls, who preceded the Crows, were significantly more predictable but no less effective. A short but impressive set by a South Carolina band, The Working Title, opened the concert.

Goo Goo Dolls' vocalist/guitarist John Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac and drummer Mike Malinin (joined by a second guitarist and a keyboardist) blasted through a litany of their hits -- "Stay With You," "Slide," "Iris," "Name," "Broadway," "Let Love In," "Become" and their cover of Supertramp's "Give A Little Bit."

Their stage set included video screens and electronic banners that unfurled from the ceiling to project images and words. Balloons bounced around the crowd in a fun, festive atmosphere.

That vibe was a continuation of Rzeznik's short but happy stay in the midstate.

"It was our day off here yesterday," he told the crowd. "I was surprised what a cool place Harrisburg was."

Source: The Patriot-News

Author: BARRY FOX

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