You can almost lose your heart hoping for something better till it tears you apart

Counting Crows – Huxley’s Neue Welt, Berlin; September 19th, 2022

Getting to see the Counting Crows live is one of the great pleasures in life that I strangely forget about when they are not currently touring, only to rediscover all the happiness their music brings me when they do. Their concert in Berlin was so beautiful it made me cry while smiling happily at the same time. Their music still moves me just as much as it did when I first heard them well over 20 years ago and I felt lucky to be able to witness them do their thing.

Getting the tickets had bin a miniature drama for me. When the tour was originally announced I bought one for Cologne immediately, only to realize later that one of my favorite bands is playing in Dortmund that same day and there was absolutely no way I could not be there. Luckily, the Berlin gig coincided with me being there anyway, so I bought a ticket for Berlin and thought it was all set. Tickemaster didn’t. When I tried canceling the ticket for Cologne, they accidentally canceled the one for Berlin and by the timewe had it sorted and they’s told me they could not change it, Berlin was sold out. After some more searching, it urned out that other seller still had tickets, so phew, drama avoided. 😉

Being in Berlin already made it easy and shortly before 6, I arrived to a short queue, had a nice chat with the people around me and momentarily lost all hope of being anywhere near the front when I saw all the people with VIP tickets walk in. I was wrong- there was a nice front row spot on the right side calling my name when I got in. Woohoo, what a great start.

First up was support David Keenan from Ireland. Adam came out and introduced him, saying how much he loved his music and how lucky they were to have him on tour. What an endorsement! He was really good too. I liked his voice and his songs were unusual in the best of ways. It was just him on guitar and another guy on bass and several flutes. Very cool stuff, and interesting lyrics too. I enjoyed their set a lot.

They crew changes stage and just like that it was time for Counting Crows. The moment the music started with a very Springsteen-esque piano I was drawn in, forgetting everything else around me. The last time I’d seen them in Germany, I’d been on the balcony, watching everything from afar and still feeling deeply moved, but this was an entirely different beast. I could clearly see the expressions on their faces, the concentration as well as the smiles and I loved all of it.

‘Sullivan Street’ started the show and they sounded amazing. I realized I had not listened to their music in some time and yet it all came back to me. With ‘Hard Candy’ I already had tears in my eyes, because it moved me so much. “On certain Sundays in November, when the weather bothers me…” – I knew the words, yet it took me a moment before I knew the title of the song. “You’re remembering again” indeed. I also remember just how good of a live band they are and not for the first time this week I wondered how I could have forgotten.

Adam is very much of a story teller, but he doesn’t talk a lot, he just uses his body to act out the song and the lyrics to bring his message across. It is utterly fascinating. 🙂 I also thought it was nice that he had an “analog teleprompter”, i.e. a folder with lyrics sheets. With ‘Mr. Jones’ we had the first sing-along of the night and we did alright. The house was packed and everyone around me looked happy.

After ‘Black and Blue’ Adam talked about people coming back for sows for years and how he wasn’t sure anyone would come back after the two pandemic years and how he was happy to see us all. 🙂 The he introduced ‘Butterfly in Reverse’ as one that had not been on the set for a long time because it was hard to sing, but his girlfriend had talked him into playing it again and that it is one of his favorite songs. It is a great one for sure.

Charlie came out from behind the piano with an accordion and we got ‘Omaha’, one of their best known songs, where everyone was loudly screaming out the lyrics. I was so happy about this show my heart was close to bursting. What a treat. Next up were songs from their covers album ‘Underwater Sunshine’, but first Adam’s mic needed to be fixed (out of battery I assume) and he told us to talk amongst ourselves while he was getting a new one. Once he had that he told us about working on a play and writing for voices not his own, exploring other people’s perspectives. They had played Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Start again’ during soundcheck and liked it so much they decided to play it during the show. Good choice. 🙂 ‘You ain’t goin’ nowhere’ followed and once again it was our turn to sing.

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing and watching the band. I admit it was hard to take my eyes off of Adam, but Dave, Dan, David, Charlie, Jim and Millard are all such great players that they deserve some attention too. 🙂 ‘Wish I was a girl’ and ‘Recovering the Satellites’ were great, I just could not get over Adam’s flawless singing. Every note sung or played that night felt perfect to me.

“Alright, we’re gonna play you an acoustic set,” Adam announced and they started with a beautifully arranged ‘God of Ocean Tides’. <3 Next he told us that he started writing ‘When I dream of Michelangelo’ before Counting Crows, loved the lyrics, used some elsewhere and didn’t finish it until ‘Sunday Mornings’ and that it’s about “all the things that make you wanna make art”. It was gorgeous and followed by a killer version of ‘Colorblind’. I found myself crying again.

It was time for ‘The Butter Miracle Suite One’ and we got all four songs in order. The songs are all brilliant and I love how different they are. I enjoyed ‘The Tall Grass’, ‘Elevator Boots’ and especially the brilliant ‘Angel of 14th Street’, but my absolute favorite was ‘Bobby and the Rat Kings’. It sounds so much like a Springsteen song, one could think it’s a cover. I had lots of fun with it. 😀 When they started playing I almost expected Adam to sing “In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American Dream,…”

‘Rain King’ followed, making the crowd very happy and getting everyone to sing once again. What an amazing song that is! The main set ended with ‘A long December’ with Adam playing the piano. <3 I loved it and could not believe it had all gone by so fast. It had been a wonderful show so far and I did not want it to end. Whenever I looked around, everyone else seemed very much into it as well and many were singing along to every word.

They came back with a bang and started the encores with ‘Round here’. I definitely wold have missed something if they had not played this. It was the song that originally got me into the band and I still love it very much. <3 The energetic ‘Hangingaround’ followed and they sent us home with, what Adam referred to as “our lullaby for you”, ‘Holiday in Spain’. He thanked us all again for coming, introduced us to the band and sent hugs our way before walking off stage.

I needed a moment to gather myself, wipe my tears and finally walk towards the exit. What a great night, what an amazing show! Thank you, Counting Crows for the reminder what it’s all about.

Setlist

Sullivan Street
Hard Candy
Mr.Jones
Black & BLue
Butterfly in Reverse
Omaha
Start Again (Teenage Fanclub cover)
You ain’t goin’ nowhere (Dylan cover)
Wish I was a girl
Recovering the Satellites
God of Ocean Tides
When I dream of Michelangelo
Colorblind
The Tall Grass
Elevator Boots
Angel of 14th Street
Bobby and the Rat Kings
Rain King
A Long December

Round here
Hangingaround
Holiday in Spain

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