Last night I went to a most awesome concert at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia. The sold out concert dubbed the Traveling Circus & Medicine Show, was delivered to us by the Counting Crows and their friends, Augustana and Notar. The Counting Crows are definitely one of my favorite bands so I was super pumped to see them live. They have performed in the area in the past, and sadly, I was never able to go. The concert opened with everyone doing Van Morrison’s song, “Caravan.” I love this song, and while I didn’t think opening with a cover was the best choice, it is an energetic crowd-pleaser.
Instead of an opening act, the Counting Crows played along side with members of the band Augustana which they seemed to get along really well with. Prior to last night, I was only familiar with a handful of Augustana’s songs, which I thought were ok. But their performance last night gave me a better appreciation for them, and now I see that their sound is very similar to the Counting Crows’, so the groups sound nice together.
The third act to round out the concert was, the misplaced-sounding rapper, Mike Notar. I had never heard of him prior, and honestly, thought that while he wasn’t bad, his songs seemed like a bit of a stretch to go along with the mellow-folk-rock genre that Augustana and the Counting Crows do so well. As the singer from Augustana cleverly pointed out, “This is the only Counting Crows concert, that will have a rapper!” I didn’t completely dislike the rapping, however. I tried not to admit it to myself because I don’t tend to like rap music, but a handful of his songs were catchy.
Also, Notar was responsible for maybe the best part of the night’s concert. During one of his songs toward the end of the concert he rapped something about Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.” When he mentioned Ovechkin’s name, my brother and I looked at each other at the same time. Awesome! Notar won me over!
Of course, the real best part of the concert was the Counting Crows and the songs they selected to play that were their own original songs. Among the originals were mega-hit, Mr. Jones, Colorblind (of “Cruel Intenetions” fame), my favorite, St. Robinson In His Cadillac Dreams, and they finished with my brother’s favorite, Hanginaround.
The encore included what frontman, Adam Duritz claimed to be, “the most patriotic song about America,” This Land is Your Land. Once again, a cover song, but well-played and full of meaning after Duritz expressed how important it is that in this election year, everyone should vote. He declared that he wasn’t going to tell you who to vote for, and that that wasn’t important so long as everyone vote, since that is the most American and liberating thing we can do to express ourselves. I thought it was a nice speech, and an appropriate ending to a concert in political-land, D.C.