Thursday, July 31, 2008

Counting Crows and Maroon 5 at Jones Beach Theater 7.31.08

Attractive, annoying, weird, confusing…last night’s Counting Crows / Maroon 5 show at Jones Beach Theater was similar to early sexual experiences in that it left me speechless and awkward.

I’ll begin with Maroon 5 who took the stage igniting the hundreds of girls in an instant “Joey McIntyre” style frenzy. With the insatiable wooing ala Girls Gone Wild and constant comments about how singer Adam Levine needs to come to their house (with his voice that is like a “constant orgasm”) the Abercrombie nation girls which surrounded me gave me insight into what the Beatles may’ve been like at Shea Stadium. As their set played on the madness only increased with blurry cell phone pics and what became a word for word sing-a-long to every song I began to feel a sense of shame for ever liking the group’s catchy popular hits. By the time they left the stage I was sure that I would have to skwash any mention that I had ever liked one of their songs (except for maybe Adam’s cameo on Kanye West’s hit “Heard ‘Em Say”). The fans actually willed any positive feelings I had for the band and their music away during the course of the show- unprecedented. Sure maybe I’ll be able to enjoy a song or two in a few years time but it’s going to take a while. The fans were annoying but ultimately, the band didn’t win me over. Most of their set was just very smooth, produced, boring pop dribble and I thought often of playing Tetris on my cell phone while it drolled on. I don’t want to give the impression that it was all the girls fault either because the drunken first year frat guys in the row ahead of me were equal to if not superior in their annoying nature as they sang along off-key while they tried to pick up the girls in the row behind me.

The Counting Crows is a band I’ve seen and enjoyed numerous times and this particular show was a bit like waking up after surgery on heavy meds. Lead singer Adam Duritz is well known for his instability which can be both a blessing and curse and in this show he was true to form. Adam stumbled onto stage looking sickly and under the influence and I thought he looked a bit like Sideshow Bob of the Simpsons after he was released from prison. The band started fast paced and full of energy but it was evident quickly that their singer was totally out of sync and not on his game. I give the band credit for trucking through the first few disasters because a ray of light appeared during their passionate rendition of “Round Here” and all again seemed right with the world. Unfortunately the Crows couldn’t keep it together and the show continued to hit and miss before our eyes. As a big fan of the band I wondered if Adam would even make it through the show or if they would have to cut it short. He had moments of great emotional clarity and then was lost in mutterings, at one point stopping during “A Long December” to start a line over again. The show ended with a bizarre lullaby cut short and lots of dazed people rushing to their cars to beat the traffic. I hope for the band’s sake that it was only an off night and not a sign of things to come.

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