Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty fame was the first co-headliner to take the stage on a hot and humid Chicago night, followed by Counting Crows with hits like “Rain King” and “Mr. Jones.”
24-Aug-2016: With the lakefront on one side and the setting sun over the skyline on the other, Rob Thomas, also lead singer of Matchbox Twenty, performed an array of both his solo and MB20 catalog. By the time he broke out “Lonely No More,” the full house was on their feet dancing and singing along. The crowd was delighted when he performed Matchbox Twenty’s hit song, “3AM.”
Thomas added anecdotes including a link between himself and Counting Crows. Thomas used to be in a band which covered Counting Crows material. Later, Matchbox Twenty secured a record deal with Counting Crows’ label. They all went out to celebrate and have been friends ever since. Bet he never imagined he’d be sharing the same stage as them some thirty years later.
The crowd lapped up his enthusiastic performance, enjoying every minute down musical memory lane. It takes a brave man to cover Prince, but he certainly did justice to his “Baby I’m a Star” judging by the crowd’s reaction. The audience reached fever pitch when he broke out “Smooth” — his collaboration with Santana — with salsa dancing and swaying throughout the venue.
After Thomas’ t-shirt change and countless bugs swallowed during his performance, it was time for Counting Crows to take the stage. It seemed like deja vu seeing Adam Duritz and the guys on stage at Northerly Island. The show was just short of a year since their last performance here supporting their Somewhere Under Wonderland album. This time around, they played three songs from that album and favored their older material. Of course, they made sure to cover everyone’s favorites “Omaha,” “Mr. Jones,” and “Rain King,” all of which had the entire audience singing as loud as they could.
When you see the Counting Crows, you can’t help but lose yourself in Duritz’s voice and poetic lyrics. There’s something about the live performance that makes their songs come to life and take on a whole new dimension. Duritz’s face takes on the emotion of every word, and you can’t help but be captivated. Add to the mix incredibly talented musicians, who have clearly been playing together for a long time, perfectly in sync with one another.
Dan Vickrey — as always — put on a stellar performance with his effortless licks and riffs, looking lost in his solos. It’s great to see there are still talented musicians out there who clearly love performing.
The current tour runs until the end of September with dates throughout North America.