The Black Crowes graced us with their presence two nights in a row last week. The Civic Theatre posed as hosting venue for the events, promoted by no other than the Atlanta based Bowery Presents South company. Tim Sweetwood, GM and Talent Buyer for the entertainment firm was once again live in the flesh for the show, a sure sign that he is 100% on board observing technicalities first hand. Chris Robinson slithered on stage barefoot in jeans appropriately marking his presence in Nola with set list starter "Jambalaya" (On the Bayou). Having seen the band numerous times in the past, this show was definitely more relaxed than usual. A group whose reputation precedes them for being amazing live may have disappointed a novice concert-goer, on night one at least. From the opera seats, there was an ever present organization in place. All four front line band members stationed themselves on their own oriental rug, not an uncommon 'place mat', however no cross stage mingling or guitar riff nuzzling with their neighbor was witnessed. Having spoken with a few people in the crowd, I interviewed Kristin Petry who didn't seem fazed by the band's chill atmosphere.
WYAT: How many times have you seen the Black Crowes live?
Kristin Petry: "Sadly, This is my first show. I can't believe I waited until I was 24 to see them!"
WYAT: Being a first time concert-goer, based on the show tonight, do you think they have the potential for Rolling Stones longevity -- Can you see Chris Robinson behind the mic stand in another 20 years?
KP: "I honestly do. They have a unique and powerful sound that has influenced other musicians today and will continue to influence bands in the future."
WYAT: Do you think bands that have been around a while like the Black Crowes can acquire new/younger followers?
KP: "I think so, yes. Their sound is rare and carries over generations. And speaking of younger followers, I think the 2 day show in Nola appeals to us because we know we are going to get a whole new experience, different set list, and different vibe for each show."
Loyal fan and live show veteran Fiona Blanchard tells me, "I have always been in love with their free-bird rock and roll style. Tonight they just seem pretty sedated." In following the band's travel to St. Augustine over the weekend, I learned via a road crew member who asked us to respect his anonymity that the news was similar at best. The low hum of irritability present among band mates pre-tour had reportedly begun to cool. While this is great news considering they've only just begun their circuit, the sense of fellowship had yet to awaken the sleeping rock and roll giants. Their newest release, Wiser for the Time, a four-sided vinyl collection is a double album digital download. The "Lay Down With Number 13" tour is their first tour since recently ending a two-year hiatus. Good music still awarded the ears of the audience despite low tempered presence. But for me, that's just too hard to handle knowing their capability.