Much like the opening act of the August 1 show and the band Boom Forest, I was not sure where to start on this review. As most will agree, however, it is not how you start, but how you finish. When the opening band Boom Forest took the stage at 6:40 PM, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this duo. With only a drummer and one member providing keyboard, back tracks and guitar, it is a great deal to handle. Not to mention the fact that the guitar wasn’t exactly in tune. It is not as if this band is new to the scene. In fact, it seems this band from Baraboo, Wisconsin has songs dating back to 2014. It was just one of those kinds of crazy nights where things go crazy. John Paul Roney handled the issue with the poise of a professional. He didn’t stop smiling. He just told the crowd they would pick up at the chorus and with out ever stopping, he composed himself and finished the set. Their songs were quite melodic, and they kept the crowd engaged even with the limitations of being a two piece. I was pleasantly surprised.
I was looking forward to Live’s performance after weather forced the cancellation of their performance and 2017’s Rocklahoma. I was not disappointed. They come on with a high energy performance that, quite frankly upstaged Counting Crows a bit. Fans were on their feet for most of the performance. Their lighting director did a fantastic job. The only negative thing I can say about their entire set was the problem with the wireless microphone. Most likely an overlooked battery as it died completely during the second song. Ed Kowalczyk handled it well, continuing to sing throughout until a stage hand ran over with a hard-wired unit. Live is one of those bands that you try to recall all of their hits, but when they play live you realize their catalogue is vast and you know more than you thought. It was an enjoyable trip down memory lane. Not too bad for a band that until January of 2017 was in the midst of a he-said-he-said spat. Whatever their differences, they seem to have moved past it for the love of performing and music.
Counting Crows, was a little disappointing. Not for lack of musicianship, but Adam Duritz, just didn’t seem to hold the crowd as well. It wasn’t for lack of enthusiasm, his just did not have the charisma as he has in the past. It could have just been an off night. The most compelling reason to come to a live performance is its ability to bring you to the same mind set and unify the crowd. I noticed there were several people who began leaving early. Perhaps this was a symptom of a Wednesday night concert. Most people work and get up early, but surely not everyone left for that reason. Musically they were wonderful. My favorite moment of the show was the telling of the story behind “Omaha”. How they picked up instruments they had never played and that Duritz had written the song about a place they had never been. I have to give a special shout out to Charlie Gillingham for his stellar accordion playing. It is arguable one of the most difficult musical instruments to play, and he was flawless and having fun. I appreciated knowing the back story and the musicianship. All in all it was worth the admission, especially when you consider this is their twenty fifth year as a band. Most bands do not make it half that long.
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Story By: Belinda Glass Reedy