In Focus: Counting Crows Bring Banshee Season Tour to Canandaigua

It was a night to celebrate 90s rock music on Sunday, as Counting Crows brought their Banshee Season Tour to CMAC on Sunday, July 2nd. The concert featured direct support from Dashboard Confessional.  

It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years since Counting Crows burst onto the music scene, releasing their multi-platinum debut album August and Everything After in 1993.  The California natives have gone on to release seven more studio albums, along with numerous live albums. 

Fronted by Adam Duritz (vocals), the band also features David Bryson (guitar), Charlie Gillingham (keyboards), Dan Vickery (guitar, pedal steel), David Immergluck (guitars), Jim Bogios (drugs) and Millard Powers (bass guitar).   The band is touring in support of their latest release, Butter Miracle Suite One (2021).

Heavy showers swept across the concert facility minutes before gates opened on Sunday evening.  This did not deter a passionate fan base from arriving early to take in opener Dashboard Confessional.  Originally the solo-acoustic project of Chris Carrabba, it would morph into a full band in 2002, as Carrabba was asked to perform on MTV Unplugged. The added bandmates allowed Carrabba’s songwriting to take on new depths and sounds. 

Just after 7:30, Carrabba and his band mates took to the stage, and were met with a heavy cheer from the audience. The band launched into the upbeat “Don’t Wait”, which delivered a call and echo vocals, to with the audience enthusiastically obliged. From there the band would perform “The Sharp Hint of New Tears”, a song from Carrabba’s 2000 debut release (with lyrics that showcase the origin of the band’s name). Once known for writing acoustic emo rock, with themes centering around heartbeat and loss, Carrabba and his mates delivered a 60 minute set, spanning the band’s twenty year catalog and was filled with songs of hope and self-triumph. The band would close out their set with perhaps their biggest hit, the high energy “Hands Down”, which saw his band mates jumping and leaping around the stage.

As the 9pm hour approached, a pedal steel guitar was wheeled to stage left. Moments later, the house lights would dim and Duritz and his bandmates took to the stage. A lone spotlight illuminated guitarist Dan Vickery as he began to pluck the hauntingly familiar guitar riff to “Round Here”, one of the band’s most well known songs. Additional lights would slowly illuminate the remaining members of the band as Duritz moved to the center of the stage to start delivering his poetic lyrics, at times acting out key moments in the song. As the song built on energy and emotion, the audience became engaged, belting out lyrics. The band continued to build on the energy and emotion, following up with the upbeat “Hard Candy” and then the familiar “Mr. Jones”.

While the band’s set would lean heavily on music from their early years, Duritz didn’t hide his excitement when they would perform tracks of the band’s latest two releases. Tracks like “God of Ocean Tides” and “The Tall Grass” hit home with the audience as well as the band’s early hits. The later portion of the band’s set saw them perform their latest release Butter Miracle Suite One in entirety. They would conclude the main set with the familiar classic “Long December” which saw the grounds illuminate with cell phone lights and erupted into an audience sing along.

Crowd pleas for an encore would be obliged by the band, as they would return to the stage and deliver a four song encore. Returning to the stage with “Time and Time Again,” a beautiful track of their debut release, Duritz’s voice proved to be strong as ever, as the chorus echoed through out the center. Chris Carrabba and his band would join the Counting Crows for the next piece of the encore, Dashboard Confessional’s 2006 hit “So Long, So Long” which saw Duritz provide a guest vocal appearance on the studio recording. Carrabba would return the vocal favor on the next song, trading lyrics with Duritz on the hit “Hangin’ Around”. Fans flocked to the aisles to sing and dance along, as Carrabba and Duritz bounced around the stage, singing and triumphantly trading high-fives with fans.

Counting Crows ‘Banshee Season’ Tour – CMAC, Canandaigua, NY – July 2, 2023

Setlist: Round Here, Hard Candy, Mr. Jones, Colorblind, Butterfly in Reverse, Omaha, Catapult, God of Ocean Tides, Friend of the Devil, Goodnight Elisabeth / Pale Blue Eyes, The Tall Grass, Elevator Boots, Angel of 14th Street, Bobby and the Rat-Kings, Rain King, A Long December

Encore: Time & Time Again, So Long, so long, Hanginaround, Holiday in Spain

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