Monday, July 29, 2019

Please welcome, uh, MY favorite band

I have spent a good portion of the summer enmeshed in books and music, thinking and recharging.  Recently I've given a re-listen to "Across a Wire," a live album by Counting Crows. It opens with a man saying, "Please welcome, uh, MY favorite band, Counting Crows." I know his voice so well from repeated listenings, but I don't know who he is.

Perhaps his name is in the liner notes, but the disc is somewhere in a ginormous CD changer, sans accoutrement. Someday I'll organize my music (or so I tell myself every so often, in fits of optimism. I've been listening on Hoopla via the library.) It's a great double album: slowed-down acoustic versions of many of their songs, and a second disc with rock/electric versions.

The first time I saw Counting Crows ("uh, MY favorite band") was twenty-five years ago in Indianapolis, at a little club on the east side called 2nd Avenue. All ages show, as the ticket attests. When I posted this on Facebook awhile ago, another friend said he was there, too, and helped fill in my memory: the power went out, and the band gathered around one working microphone to complete the set. I wouldn't have called that image up in my mind without help, but now I can see it all over again. I was there.

Saw the band at Woodstock '99 in Rome, N.Y., and in Ithaca, N.Y. around the same era. My last CC show was winter 2014, the Somewhere Under Wonderland tour in Indianapolis, which was  phenomenal. "They're going to open with 'Round Here,'" I told my husband, and they did, and I promptly burst into tears. Music! Feelings!

There was a guy in the front row holding his camera phone up the whole time. Lead singer Adam Duritz had enough and asked him what he was doing, man. They handshaked it out later. What was he doing, man? There's a strong impulse to prove you were there rather than just being there. Says the woman with piles of saved ticket stubs, proof I was there, a thing to post on Facebook, which didn't exist in 1994. But tickets don't obstruct the view or distract from the concert itself. I took a couple short videos, too, and replayed them once or twice, especially for my kids, who loved that album, especially "Earthquake Driver," "Elvis Went to Hollywood," and "Scarecrow." And then the videos were lost when my I dropped my phone and broke it and hadn't backed up all the stuff you're supposed to back up. Is Front Row Guy still watching his full concert footage? Somehow I doubt it.

None of this was on my mind when I started thinking about the introducer on "Across a Wire." When I click publish on this short post, my query into the void on "Please welcome, uh, MY favorite band, Counting Crows," I fully anticipate someone will respond, "u could just google it." And so I did google it, pre-emptive googling, and did not learn a thing except that Rolling Stone gave pretty low ratings on many CC albums that I love in their big almanac o' ratings. (u can google it, but y? Like wut u like. Rolling Stone don't know all.) And if I'd googled and found it, then I wouldn't have had a moment to think about this band, this music, that has existed throughout 25 years of my life, a soundtrack for college ("August and Everything After") and work and marriage and kids and teaching and writing books and the rest of it.

I like when something isn't so easy to find; I like to work for my trivia. Though I would love to know what that announcer is doing now, and if his briefly stated sentiment, still imprinted on my brain, remains true.


  1. Here I am googling the same thing, excited to have found this post, yet disappointed to see nobody has replied with the answer.

  2. ME TOO! So, everyone is sad, huh?

  3. Yes. Everyone. Must be some way to figure out the answer. Anyone know where that one was recorded?

  4. I am sure I read somewhere that it was Chris Carter who wrote The X-Files who introduced them. I’m unsure where I read this but that sticks in my mind?!