Playing their first shows in the United States since December 2010, The Black Crowes came to The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY to packed houses for a two night stand of amazing music at the legendary venue, a big change for the band since last playing in the U.S. with the addition of Jackie Greene. Jackie has played with numerous people over the years including Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Warren Haynes and many others and was a welcome addition to the band. A big ovation greeted them as they came out on the 2nd and displayed big smiles, with the band launching into “Twice As Hard” followed quickly by “Sting Me.” This one-two punch forced the already excited crowd out of control. The fans were happy to have their band back and the band accepted the love and gave their all through the music.
On both nights, Jackie Greene and Rich Robinson played off of one another perfectly. Individually, each has the ability to take the lead at any point in any song that is performed. Although Jackie is new to the band, he stood right there alongside Rich, trading guitar licks as if he’d been there for years. The back and forth between the two made the show move without giving up for a second. Steve Gorman and Sven Pipien kept the beat going and matched the intensity of the guitarists on drums and bass respectively. Adam MacDougall had time to shine on the keys each night. One of the few songs to be repeated, “Thorn In My Pride,” saw Adam destroy his keys to the pleasure of the fans. Chris Robinson was in fine vocal form both nights. His voice echoed throughout the hallowed halls of The Cap both nights showing no signs of wear and tear from the years of being on the road.
Each night saw a mini acoustic set by the band, starting with beautiful versions of “She Talks To Angels”; Jackie plays the mandolin for this and it is a wonderful addition to the song. The first night they went into a standout version of “Whoa Mule” from 2008’s Warpaint, while the second night they brought a new take on “My Morning Song.” This acoustic version of “Morning Song” was a different take than anything I have heard before from the band. When electric, this song is usually jammed out to its full spacey extent, but this version saw the jamming in the middle become concise and beautiful. It is a must hear from the two night run.
The encores at the end of each night paid respects to bands that have preceded them. Night one ended on “Hard To Handle”, a tune that nearly everyone know and was by far their first hit, but all of a sudden the band flowed right into Deep Purple’s “Hush” and completed it before going back into “Hard To Handle.” The Black Crowes have always had a love of covering bands that have come before them and this was no exception. It was a beautiful nod to the past, while still showing that there is more to come from this band. The two night stand ended with a take on Delaney and Bonnie’s “Poor Elijah – Tribute To Robert Johnson Medley,” giving the band yet another opportunity to show they have many surprises up their sleeves.
The Black Crowes have always been a fun band to see in person. With these shows, they showed that they are in this game for the long haul. The addition of Jackie Greene has made them even stronger than when they went on hiatus in 2010. Be on the lookout for them as they tour throughout this year. These guys are not to be missed with the way they are playing right now, and remember, these were just the first two shows of the tour. Many more surprises are sure to be heard as they get comfortable being on the road again.
April 2nd Setlist: Twice As Hard, Sting Me, Think N Thin, Hotel Illness, Medicated Goo, Ballad in Urgency, Wiser Time, She Talks to Angels, Whoa Mule, Hi Head Blues, Soul Singing, Thorn In My Pride, Remedy, Jealous Again, Been A Long Time (waiting On Love) Encore: Feathers, Hard To Handle>Hush>Hard To Handle
April 3rd Setlist: Jealous Again, Think N Thin, Halfway To Everywhere, Space Captain, Sister Luck, Wiser Time, She Talks To Angels, My Morning Song, She Gave Good Sunflower, By Your Side, Soul Singing, Sometimes Salvation, Remedy, Goodbye Daughters Of The Revolution, Thorn In My Pride Encore: Descending, Poor Elijah – Tribute To Robert Johnson Medley