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An Off Mix But a Good Show

John Mayer / Counting Crows
Marcus Amphitheater
Milwaukee, WI
Aug. 1, 2003

Counting Crows
Counting Crows
John Mayer
John Mayer
Counting Crows
Counting Crows

Story by Cathleen Loud
Photos by Phil Bonyata

It was a mixture of sounds that didnít seem to fit when the talents of the Counting Crows and John Mayer visited the Marcus Amphitheater in Milwaukee Friday, Aug.1.
By the look of the young crowd and the fact that the Counting Crows went on stage before John Mayer, it seemed that Mayer and his sweet pop ballads were the selling point for the 20,000 people who attended the show which was dubbed a co-headlining tour. But, unfortunately, Mayer didnít live up to the spot he had on the bill. His songs were sweet, and his guitar playing was enjoyable but following the energy of the Counting Crows proved difficult.
Counting Crows The Counting Crows hit the stage at twilight, greeted by a buzz in the air. They opened with an acoustic version of "Rain King" and played on through, hitting favorites like "Mr. Jones" and their version of Joni Mitchellís "Big Yellow Taxi" which got people up on their feet and singing. The band members grooved along, enjoying themselves and the energy of the crowd.
Adam Duritz, the lead singer of the Crows celebrated his birthday Friday. It hyped him up, as well as the fans, when he made the announcement. He chattered about his birthday and personal life, connecting the fans to his situation and the music. At one point, the crowd joined voices and sang happy birthday to Duritz under a sky filled with lightening that never produced rain and fireworks in honor of other festivities happening by the lakefront. The scene was set for a memorable birthday bash.
John Mayer The 75-minute set continued and included songs like "St. Robinson," "Goodnight Elisabeth," "Anna Beginsand" a cover of the Grateful Deadís "Friend of the Devil" which was a real treat to some. They also played the well-known "American Girls" and "Hangin Around." The Crows set ended with Duritz playing a soulful version of "Goodnight LA" solo on piano and finally, "A Long December."
When it was all said and done, the crowd wanted more and it was a bit of a downer to see them exit stage left. When John Mayer took center stage, everyone was ready for more excitement and energy but the intensity level dropped about ten notches as the night progressed. Had the opening act been more of a singer/songwriter type or had the venue been smaller and more quaint, the outcome may have been different. The Crows set the tone and Mayer had a hard time keeping the crowdís interest.
The screaming and swooning intensified as he opened with "Why Georgia," followed by "My Stupid Mouth," two sweet sounding songs that proved to the crowd his guitar-playing abilities. He played a few of his not so well-know songs and then gently lead the crowd back to familiar territory with "No Such Thing," "Back To You" and "Your Body is a Wonderland." In the end, he ripped out a few impressive solo guitar parts that made it worth staying for the whole set.
Itís not that Mayerís performance was a bad performance, but his style of music paired with the Counting Crows was an off match. It would have made more sense if Mayer had opened for the Crows; the energy would have grown steadily throughout the night and fans of both John Mayer and the Counting Crows would have left feeling satisfied.

Counting Crows
Counting Crows
Counting Crows
Counting Crows

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