Counting Crows: The Butter Miracle Tour, Palais Theatre, Melbourne, April 4th 2023 – Live Review

It’s been 32 years since Counting Crows were formed and 8 years since their last visit to Australia.

Making a triumphant return to Melbourne as part of their Butter Miracle Tour, following the release of the band’s latest record ’Butter Miracle Suite One’, it wasn’t long before the Melbourne crowd were up on their feet, singing along and dancing in what was the sweetest reunion between fan and artist.

Admittedly, I am not well-versed with Counting Crows’ discography. I only knew a handful of songs and this was my first time seeing them live. But when the 7-piece American band took to the stage, complete with four guitarists, a drummer, mandolin, an accordion, a tambourine, and a piano, frontman Adam Duritz not only set the tone for a warm and welcoming gig with chilled-out vibes, but he set me at ease.

Performing their hits such as ‘Mr Jones’ and popular cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’. As much as the songs were upbeat, Adam Duritz wasn’t afraid to take a seat and dial it down either, consistently taking his time to share his deepest thoughts about life, love, and his passion for music. These moments of Duritz chatting to the crowd felt very personal and and seamlessly lead into each song.

Duritz shared that during their brief trip to New Zealand, they stayed in a Wellington hotel room for a week and that “Quarantine in the middle of a tour is so uncool.”, expressing relief as well by adding, “I’m really fucking glad to be here and see all of you.”, a comment which was met with much laughter and cheer.

Continuing the Covid topics, Duritz also revealed that the past two years was the longest he went without playing live and that he was choked up when he returned to performing again. Duritz clarified it wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate it, but he never thought much about it. Covid made him rethink everything. A reflection I’m sure many could relate to. Duritz even admitted that he had wondered if fans would even come back, taking this opportunity to express his gratitude to be touring Australia again while thanking the Melbourne audience for their attendance.

Showcasing strong and booming vocals, lyrical prowess, excellent guitar solos provided by David Immerglück, accordion accompaniment by Charlie Gillingham, and pleasant tunes, Counting Crows had patrons happily singing along to ‘Rain King’ and the die-hard fans elated when the band performed rare live track ‘Good Time’. ‘A Long December’ slowed things down with Duritz serenading the venue on the piano, and the catchy melody of ‘Elevator Boots’ thoroughly impressed and satisfied the Melbourne crowd.

Considering I was not well-versed with Counting Crows, there were many songs that I adored in the set including the Cruel Intentions film famous ‘Colorblind’ that had me wide eyed in admiration. But the highlight of the night (for me) was ‘Miami’, a bittersweet tale of a finite relationship that was performed beautifully. During this emotional song, it felt like Duritz was revisiting the past and feeling heartbreak all over again. With their final number ‘Holiday In Spain’, Counting Crows left the Palais Theatre on a high, and they left me wanting to listen to their music more.

Throughout the concert, I watched in awe as Adam Duritz dramatically perform both with his voice and with his hands. Displaying a profound vulnerability, equipped with detailed prolific lyrics that trickled from his mouth like poetry. When Duritz sung, it was like music was flowing through his body and spirit to help him live, and the visual representation of this, perhaps even subconsciously, was shown through the way he carried himself on stage and waved his arms and hands while singing. It was all exquisite and felt very raw, real and intimate.

Overall, it was a great night. The finesse of everyone on that Palais Theatre stage was prominent and witnessing Counting Crows in their element was a gift.

Counting Crows performed in Melbourne’s Palais Theatre on Tuesday the 4th of April 2023 and will perform a second Melbourne concert at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall on Thursday April 6th as part of their Butter Miracle Tour.
For more information on other dates and ticketing visit:
https://www.countingcrows.com
https://www.livenation.com.au/artist-counting-crows-8566

Photography by Grant Alexander.

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