March 29, 2006

Counting Crows 1993: “This is the beginning of our first tour, ever, so we’re kinda kicked about that”

In those late days of junior high and early into high school, I used to babysit for a cool lady neighbor that worked at one of San Francisco’s fine music venues and always seemed to have an inside line on great music that was unknown to me. I remember she had an impressive stash of concert recordings and mix tapes — and in retrospect probably made a big influence on my early music-hoarding and seeking behaviors.  I would come to her house armed with a stash of blank cassette tapes and I would dub all her good music onto them after her daughter was safely tucked into bed. It was musical Christmas every other Friday night.

I got so many wonderful sounds from her, one of my favorites being a soundboard recording of a very early Counting Crows show at the historic Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado, from 8/27/93. [update:  In a twist of fate, years later living in Colorado, I've now randomly met the soundboard guy who recorded this show and the DJ who announced the intro. I love how funny life can be, and how good music can knit us in surprising ways over the years].

I absolutely wore out the tape, listening to it so many times that I know the entire set and all the dialogue by heart. Then cassette tapes went by the wayside in my life and now I think I’ve lost the original retro dub. I’ve spent many hours trolling the web looking for these songs. Then reader Jeff turns out to have this very show on mp3 and just sent it to me and made my month. In listening to it again for the first time in years, my ears are so extremely happy.

This show is vivid, energetic snapshot of the nascent Crows standing on the edge of a stardom that they maybe didn’t fully grasp was on its way. As the announcer says, “This band is so new, even I haven’t heard of them yet…” and calls them an “up and coming new hot band” in the Bay Area. It is about three weeks before August & Everything After was released. As Adam Duritz charmingly says, “Uh, we’re Counting Crows and this is the beginning of our first tour, EVER . . . so we’re kinda kicked about that.” The whole thing feels so fresh and real.

The set is full of enthusiasm, affability, and some excellent-quality renditions of rare songs that I love wholeheartedly but that Counting Crows have never recorded or released anywhere that I know of. Both of these unreleased songs “Open All Night” and “Margery Dreams Of Horses” have those wending storylines and thoughtful lyrics that I love Counting Crows for.

Take the first – “Open All Night.” It is a simple story of a liminal evening spent in the company of a stranger in a far-off town, one of those nights that can feel so big in the moment. “She said ‘I was born the year the rockets landed / circa 1969 and I got stranded” – what a terrific lyric. I, too, would drink all night inside this particular story, swim around in someone else’s story for a while. It’s an explosive song that feels like we’ve always known it.

The second, “Margery Dreams of Horses,” feels like a lost piece of Counting Crows narrative, with characters that will appear and have appeared in other Counting Crows songs written both before and after this point (Anna, Margery). It plunks us down in the middle of a narrative of waking up in Kentucky “where the wedding was about to end.” There’s a closure and a sadness in this song, a bleeding that won’t be stanched even as there is the relief of that one who has hurt you finally pulling the knife out, taking the blade, and walking away. And really — “It’s best to kill the ones who matter / render blind the ones who see.” I shiver a little every time he sings that; this is a great, lost gem of a song that I wish they would revisit on a record.

In between his sweet interjections about how tiring the altitude is, Adam also comments at this show that his favorite song on this first record of theirs is “Perfect Blue Buildings” (an opalescent, unspoiled, perfect jewel in my book also) because, as he says, “It will never be a single.” Plus, the Van Morrison “Caravan” cover is a joyful explosion that seems like they’re having a lot of fun. As Adam says, “This is our favorite song, period, and . . . we didn’t write it. But I wish we did.”

ENJOY, my friends. You are in for a huge treat.

Counting Crows
Live at the Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO
August 27, 1993

Round Here
Open All Night (unreleased)
Rain King
Time and Time Again
Margery Dreams Of Horses (unreleased)
Anna Begins
Perfect Blue Buildings
Caravan (Van Morrison)
Murder of One
Sullivan Street


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  • It’s funny, because I was just craving some live Counting Crows. I even got on their “trader network” and started snooping around for something…then this. You never let me down. Thanks

    Aaron — March 29, 2006 @ 3:02 pm

  • Words can’t fully express what joy this brings to me…

    Thank you for posting it is making my day a lot brighter.

    Brad O. — March 30, 2006 @ 8:24 am

  • What about “Maria?” I think that’s a more common name that Adam uses than Anna or Marjorie. I love this bootleg.. I’ve been lsietning to it like crazy………..

    little brother — March 31, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

  • “there’s a piece of maria in every song that i sing..”

    Good call.

    heather — March 31, 2006 @ 1:43 pm

  • thanks for spreading the joy. sometimes i wish there was someone i could share my warm private musical moments and feelgood lyrics with… and guess what? THERE IS.

    everyone is digging this. how cool is that?

    and i agree, open all night, love it.

    so let me know, I have TONS of live CC. i’ll try to get you that Prov RI show to you next ok?


    jeff — April 3, 2006 @ 11:49 am

  • This comment is a bit delayed, but I wanted to say that I continue to enjoy this show, and thank you for posting it. Please keep it up for a while, so the friends I recommend it to can download it. The funny part is that I never considered myself a Counting Crows fan before listening to this show. Converted? I think so.

    Sal — June 12, 2006 @ 9:40 pm

  • This Is the music of addiction, with the abcent of a place to be, we hold our self together,
    we turn and then walkaway,

    thanks for the download im going to link to you from my website your ace i sher more music on my site too email me for more info my addy will be on that page

    ossobear — June 24, 2006 @ 4:01 am

  • I got to your blog by mistake, but I liked it a lot because you have the same musical taste as I do… you like PY, which is incredible cause were I live no one knows him… I used to like CC a lot.. I saw them at the fiddler green ’00 but didnt like that show much.. I’ve been disapointed by them lately… They just wont release new songs and are just living in the past.. shame!..

    anyways, nice blog…

    Anonymous — July 9, 2006 @ 8:14 pm

  • ok, you just scored bonus points with me. I just found your blog, and am loving it, but a counting crows fan to boot.

    I just saw them and goo goo dolls in St. Louis. Great show, all be it too short, do to co-headling.

    Look for a new album sometime in the Spring of 2007. Tentative title is Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings. Part rocking guitar stuff and part soft acoustic stuff. Rumor is that they have re-recorded Suffocate, that was a song on their demo cd.

    Huge Crows fan,

    Kev in St. Louis

    Anonymous — July 13, 2006 @ 10:37 am

  • i love yooooou!

    allison — September 20, 2006 @ 9:56 pm

  • I’m sooo thankful for this !! Collecting CC boots has become an obsession with me lately so I LOVE adding this to my collection !!

    pacman720 — September 23, 2006 @ 9:58 am

  • love to see that there are lots of people around who dig the crows as much as i do. And heather, thank you for putting this brilliant recording on your blog! I love it!
    especially ‘oh, margery’, when the guitars are playing that ‘solo-thing’
    (sorry don’t know how to call that i’m from holland) And the lyrics are magnificent too, aw this really is great, thanks so much!

    Kay — February 15, 2007 @ 6:48 am

  • Thanks so much! Was on a holiday in Boulder just a year later…Listening to college-radio. Hearing all kinds of new music. And ten buying August and Eveything After in some second hand cd-shop in SF. The only cd that was worn out so much that I had to buy a new one. :-)

    4duckie2see — May 25, 2007 @ 4:54 pm

  • Thanks for posting this, Heather! I caught Adam and the boys on that inaugural tour, opening for Cracker at the Liberty Lunch in Austin, Texas. Listening to their Boulder set now, I’m blown away by how good and fully formed the band sounds. It was obvious to me then that these guys were “gonna be big stars.”

    Dingo, aka festival freak

    Dingo — June 27, 2007 @ 1:08 am

  • he! i accidentaly bumped onto your bloq looking for reviews of the new CC album SNSM…and i have to say i am completely thrilled to find this bootleg..because although i love the cc’s whole career..i like their old stuff in a special way..because it brings back these feelings when i started listening to them..although i started listening to them like 4 years ago..but after hard candy being the first album i picked up..and had to rebuy for 3 times..i myself wasnt in a too happy stage at that time..and then when i heard round! a well.. i am an artist myself too..starting out slowly in holland..maybe feel like checking out ?i am a singer/ songwriter and greatly inspired by the lyrics of adam

    Jesse "James"Stael — January 26, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

  • Crazy, I just stumbled onto this blog.
    My sister and I are seeing them next sunday for the first time. I’ve waited 5 years for a live show.
    I can’t get enough of them- pure magic.
    I’de like to say I wish I saw them when they were relativly new, but it happened this way- it’s a long story how I discovered them, a bit strange/spooky.
    Thank you for putting this up- appreciate it.

    Anonymous — June 30, 2008 @ 1:03 pm

  • I just found your blog, and am going to spend the next several hours trolling it for awesome music. Wow….you’ve done an incredible job with it.

    Any chance that you could fix this old download link? I’d love to get this Fox Theater show from the Crows, but the zip that’s downloading seems broken.

    Jason Griffey — February 19, 2009 @ 6:12 am

  • Hi! I used to have this show but I lost it :(

    too many movings the last years. Well, it doesn´t matter, is a great show and I would love to have it back, is there any chance I could get it?

    Thanks in advance!

    Mariano — October 30, 2009 @ 4:55 am

  • mariano, the link is live. go ahead and download!

    browneheather — October 30, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  • Thanks Heather. I remember having this show on cassette also, and of course haven’t listened to it in 15+ years.

    - Alan

    ajs — October 14, 2013 @ 8:40 am

  • Sullivan street is the most magical song alive

    hillary — October 20, 2013 @ 11:41 pm

  • I’m fairly certain I bought this bootleg off ebay when I was a 19-year-old college student years ago. I no longer have it, of course. Thanks for bringing it back! And I love this: “there is a little piece of maria in every song I sing.”

    Veronica — November 24, 2013 @ 11:04 am

  • Thanks from one huge c.crows fan to another.

    sheila — February 2, 2014 @ 2:40 am

  • […] you want to hear that raw sound that I heard that night, this is about as close as you’ll come. It’s audio taken from one of the Counting Crows/Cracker concert dates in Boulder, Colorado […]

    The Social Clymer - Throwback Thursday Concert: Counting Crows 1994 — May 21, 2015 @ 8:28 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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