Counting Crows: reader review

2008-06-13 09:28
Live performances are always a gamble… you never entirely know what you are going to get. And based on your knowledge of the act, you choose either to attend or spend your time elsewhere. But there’s a lot to be said for standing before the pumping energy of a stage, the lights, the atmosphere - seething with expectation.

Counting Crows was my choice for my latest visual spectacular. And spectacular it was, not only because I grew up dancing at school socials to Mister jones kissing my first boys to Round here, singing to Good night Elizabeth, contemplating life to Colourblind and our future on this planet with that one: Put up a parking lot, but also because of the energy they threw into their performance, the humility, their honesty and their relation to the crowd.

With every word that dreadlocked, leaping, passionate, energetic, funny, humble Duritz threw out there, he had the crowd in his hand. He told stories, he made us laugh, he made us understand a bit what it felt like to be them, to be in the media spotlight in all the madness, he even almost made me cry. He throws himself into his performance with all heart (and hair) and the crowd feeds off his energy, regardless of whether they know the songs or not. He made them accessible, funking up the old ones with new occasional rhythms and lyrics, and then giving context to some of the new.

Most importantly, apart from the performance and music, he made me feel proud to be a South African in this current time of turmoil. When there is so much that makes us sad these days, he brings us back to reality. He looks at what it we have achieved, at the history of our country, of what we have passed through with relatively little violence, there are not many other nations that can lay claim to this. We must hold our heads high, and know we will get through it all, he says. He has no doubt that we are a brilliant nation. We should take pride in being South African.

I stood their listening to his words, feeling exactly that, pride. We do rock, we are amazing, and we will get through this. Beyond that, I was so happy just to be a part of this energy that was pumping, watching these guys and their performance and listening to their words, you realize they’re just normal dudes who hit it big. They are still scared of girls, they are still amazed at other people's talent, and they still just love to rock. They closed the show by gazing at the crowd in gratitude. They spoke of their homes; they saluted their friends and the crowd. And we all smiled, whistled and cheered in response.

Sometimes it takes a foreigner to point out just how magnificent our nation is. Sometimes we forget. It’s important to remember.
- Clare Thomas

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