‘Counting Crows and The Wallflowers’ at Wolf Trap by Anne Tsang

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It was a scorcher last night at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap…and I’m not just referring to the heat. Counting Crows and The Wallflowers put on a hot, hot, hot show! The night started off with a long, 12 song set from The Wallflowers, starting with a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Baby Don’t You Do It” and ending with “The Difference.” The Wallflowers set consisted mostly of their older hits including “6th Avenue Heartache” and of course the Grammy Award winning “One Headlight.” There were also several covers, and “Nothing But the Whole Wide World” from lead singer Jakob Dylan’s solo album. I was a little disappointed that the only song from The Wallflowers 2012 album Glad All Over—their first album in almost 7 years—was “Love is a Country.”  I would have been happy listening to Jakob Dylan’s signature deep voice, with that smooth-like-butter quality all night! The Wallflowers with their folksy-bluesy vibe was the perfect start to a fantastic show!

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Counting Crows appeared on stage with “Lean on Me” playing in the background and got everyone in the audience on their feet, clapping, and singing along. They continued with a mix of their old favorites and songs from their 2012 covers album Underwater Sunshine (or What We Did on Our Summer Vacation) including “Time and Time Again,” “Perfect Blue Buildings,” “Holiday in Spain,” “Carriage,” “Hospital,” and two of my all time favorite Counting Crows song “A Long December,” and “Omaha.”

You may wonder why the band needs to have seven members, but watching them live, you see that each one of them has something different to contribute to the remarkable pop-rock-folk sound that is signature Counting Crows. The amazing musical talent of each of the members is evident in the range of instruments they played. Almost every song required instrument swapping between electric guitars, acoustic guitars, pedal steel guitars, slide guitars, and mandolins. Lead Guitarist Dan Vickery’s guitar solo during “Long December” was so awe-inspiring that lead singer Adam Duritz had to stop the song, start over, and politely ask Vickery to “not be so awesome, so the rest of them could keep up.” While we are on the topic of awesomeness and Adam Duritz, I have to mention that his incredible voice. You think that his voice sounds great on their recorded albums, but is unbelievable in a live venue. It has so much power, is so smooth, and has so much control and when he hits that sweet spot, filled with emotion, its like a cold breeze on a hot summer day. It just sends chills down my spine! Charlie Gillingham haunting harmonization on accordion during “Omaha” will linger in my mind for a long time.

I also really enjoy and appreciated all the little “extras” they put into the show. They had a special guest, Andre Carter, play the trumpet during “Carriage.” The combination of Adam’s beautiful voice, Carter’s heart-wrenching melody on the trumpet, the remorseful, wistful lyrics of “Carriage,” I almost wept for every failed relationship I ever had. During the encore, the guys had two young boys from the audience who were huge fans go up on stage and play the tambourines. It was nice to see Adam, who has been criticized before for his relationship with fans, and the rest of the band encourage, and tutor the boys on how to play the tambourines. It was also nice to have The Mamas and the Papas sing “California Dreaming” to us while we walked out of the pavilion.

I’ve seen Counting Crows live several times already. I have yet to be disappointed and each time is better than the last!On Tuesday night,they played a 21 song set and I still wanted more!

Counting Crows with The Wallflowers played one night only on June 25, 2013 at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap – 1645 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future performances and Information: Call (877) 965-3872, or check their calendar of events.