From time to time, I ask my music friends to stop by The Good Groupie and share stories about music they love. I love hearing about fellow music fan’s favorite bands and what makes them their favorite band. I also love music adventures, which is what I have for you today! My blogging buddy Samantha of Samantha Cycles shares her story of trekking across three states to see Counting Crows early this fall.
Do you have that band – the one you’ve loved since you were a teenager and have always remained faithful to? You’ve stuck with them when they go six years in between releasing albums. The one whose every word you can recite and you answer other’s questions quoting their lyrics? You know every bit of trivia and their lead singer makes you feel things like no other lead singer?
I have that band. And it’s Counting Crows. My love for them started back in 1993 with their release of August and Everything After. But it cemented for a lifetime with the release of their second (and my favorite) album Recovering the Satellites. I had just ended a five year relationship with my boyfriend when Satellites was released. I listened to it over and over again. It pulled me through. It was truly in 1996 that Counting Crows took a hold of me and has never let go.
It was August 2014 that I was sitting in the crowd of singing fans at my favorite concert venue The UC Berkeley Greek Theatre watching Counting Crows perform to their “home” crowd that I said to myself, “That’s it! I’m finally going to live out a dream and next time they come around, I’m hitting EVERY show on the West Coast!” So I started saving my money and waiting for them to announce another U.S. tour that would hit my neck of the woods.
And I waited. And waited. And I watched countless YouTube videos of their tour in Europe and Australia while waiting for an announcement. And then the announcement came and some of the dates I had other things already booked but they were also playing in the town right next door to where my best friend of 30 years now lives in Texas. Beggars can’t be choosers y’all. So I went to what I could.
Flights were booked. VIP passes were acquired to the Seattle show and Allen show – this would get us in to see part of their soundcheck along with getting our photo taken with the band. One of my closest friends lives near Irvine. My BFF lives right near Allen. And I had another friend that was up for joining me to Seattle – a trip we did in less than 24 hours. I bought the best seats I could get for the Seattle and Allen shows and fairly decent seats for Irvine.
After sitting in the 3rd row, I don’t think I can ever sit farther back. I’ve been ruined. It was magical. How did those people get in 1st and 2nd row in front of me? I knew every word to even the rarest of songs, I wasn’t drunk and acting like an idiot. I’m not one of those ridiculous people who holds their phone up the whole time to record video. How do I get in that 1st row? Someone explain this to me, please.
The thing about Counting Crows and going to multiple shows is that you have the chance of hearing so many different songs, because they change their setlist every night. They don’t decide until that night what they’re going to play. They say it helps keep songs fresh for them too. I love this. I even love Adam’s meandering through some songs.
In Seattle it was a dream to finally hear “Goodnight Elisabeth” with the Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes” mixed into it. I got to hear “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” in Irvine. They opened with Anna Begins in Allen. This was shocking, unexpected and a dream come true for us die hard fans who have been around for 20+ years. I finally got to hear their cover of “Blues Run the Game”. And through it all, Adam Duritz’ voice has never sounded better. Whatever it is he’s doing to keep his voice so strong and sound so good after all these years I wish many of my other favorite singers were doing the same.
At the VIP meet and greet in Allen, I shook his hand, put my head on his shoulder for the photo, and then accidentally(!) touched his chest. I haven’t been a teenager for a few decades, but leave it to your favorite singer looking into your eyes and saying hello to you to make you feel 16 again.
Looking back on my whirlwind Counting Crows adventure, it was exhausting, fulfilling and a dream come true. I’m so glad I finally buckled down and saved up the money to make it possible to see multiple shows. It was everything I had hoped for and more. And I’m 100% certain I’ll be doing it again.
Who’s your #1 band?
The one you’ve stuck with through all the years? The one you would hop on a plane and fly around to see? Or maybe follow by car from state to state? Share it in the comments to find me on Twitter.
Samantha loves music, photography, travel, and bicycling around her home state of California. She blogs about all these adventures and more at SamanthaCycles.com. For more adventures from Samantha, find her at @samanthacycles on Twitter and @samanthacycles on Instagram.