It’s been nearly 18 years since COUNTING CROWS released their wildly-successful Geffen Records debut, AUGUST AND EVERYTHING AFTER. While the album would go platinum seven times in the U.S., I was not one of the millions who embraced it the first time around. In fact, it wasn’t until I bought my wife a copy of THIS DESERT LIFE in 1999 that I paid the band much attention at all. When AUGUST first hit the streets, I was in the midst of a heavy music phase that ignored bands like the ‘Crows.
Over a decade since picking up that third album for my better half, I’ve not only embraced the band, but have experienced them live as well.
A COUNTING CROWS live performance is like witnessing an animal in their natural habitat – you see and hear them do things that aren’t represented well in a captive environment such as a recording studio. The instrumentation is vibrant and organic, unprocessed and real. Frontman Adam Durtiz captures the attention of his audience and engages the listener – feeding off the participation of the crowd and relishing every bit of it. That’s what we see on AUGUST AND EVERYTHING AFTER – LIVE AT TOWN HALL (out today on CD, Digital Download, DVD, and Blu-Ray via Eagle Rock Entertainment).
Captured live on September 18, 2007 in New York, this performance of COUNTING CROWS’ breakthrough album in it’s entirety is a display of both luck and showmanship. In what is revealed in the liner notes to have originally been intended as “a celebration of the album with friends,” it was a last-minute decision to perform it front-to-back. What Duritz didn’t realize at the time (or find out about until later) is that his drummer and bassist had never previously performed several of the songs live, neither being in the band when the original album was recorded. Incredibly, it works – not neccessarily flawlessly, but with extended jams and discussion, it all falls into place as a testament to just how good they are.
Bottom Line: After experiencing LIVE AT TOWN HALL in both CD and Blu-Ray formats over the past week (multiple listens on the CD), both are easy to recommend. In the interest of full disclosure, my wife demanded that I give this a good rating, but I was going to anyway.