Counting Dolls
Rachel Nix
staff writer
July 20, 2006
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On July 8th, 2006, I traveled to Verizon Wireless Music Center (Deer Creek) in Indianapolis to see the Counting Crows and Goo Goo Dolls in concert. Much to my surprise, Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows took the stage and announced the opening band Augustana. As a fan of the band, I was excited to see them for a second time. The audience had no clue what they were missing and paid little attention to the band’s short set. They played a few songs from their albumAll the Stars and Boulevards and a couple new ones and quickly left the stage to give way to the big bands nearly twice their age; Duritz of the Crows and Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls are nearly 40 years old. The following show was an interesting mix of pop and ballads that depending on your expectations for a concert either had you singing on all the way home or slightly disappointed.

For those of you who get out to the show to sing along and hear all your favorite top 40 hits, the Goo Goo Dolls’ set was just what you’ve been waiting for. Johnny Rzeznik, frontman/vocalist, delivered all the tunes you could hope for ranging his nearly 20 year career with the band. Rzeznik and the Goo Goo Dolls had the crowd crooning with them to hits like: Slide, Broadway, Stay With You (their latest), and selections from the recently released 8th album, Let Love In. Let Love In is the band’s first since 2002 and although it seems a bit toned down from the band’s rock roots, it still proves the Goo Goo Dolls can deliver radio-friendly tracks after all these years. The band may have been around longer than I have, but these veteran rockers pleased a crowd of 20-somethings with ease. Unfortunately, the performance was easily forgettable.

For those of you not satisfied with just hearing the songs from the radio, the Counting Crows provided that extra something you hope for every time you go to a concert. Adam Duritz, Counting Crows lead singer, even told the crowd that he won’t play a song just like on the album in concert, and explained how they perform to make a connection with the crowd rather than just going through the motions. Duritz seemed to be on an emotional kick and sang mostly the Crows’ ballads (Omaha, Round Here, Rain King, Black & Blue, Long December, and many more) instead of poppy tunes like the Goo Goo Dolls. As the sun set over the crowd, the Crows’ intimate performance seemed the perfect lullaby of melancholy love songs.

Don’t get me wrong, the crowd was all for singing along to Big Yellow Taxi, Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby, and Hangin’ Around (where Augustana joined them on stage), but the Counting Crows performance had that connection with the crowd that is hard for just any band to make. They plugged their new live album, New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall; which is all bootlegs from their 15 year career as a band; but told the crowd not to run out and buy it unless they really wanted to. The Counting Crows ended the night with an encore performance of Holiday in Spain proving they can get thousands of people to their feet and touch each on of them.

What it all comes down to is whether you want to hear your favorites or see something new and interesting. The Goo Goo Dolls didn’t take any risks and had a by the book performance while the Counting Crows took some chances that worked out for them. In all I had a great time, became a bigger Counting Crows fan, and left the venue content.

Editor's Note: Counting Crows recently released a live CD, *New Amsterdam-Live At Heineken Music Hall available now at Amazon .

[RMR]