ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 5, 1992
About an hour into the Black Crowes’ sold-out Queen Elizabeth Theatre show last Wednesday (October 28), the Atlanta blues-rock sextet rolled out a brand-new tune for its exuberant fans, most of whom had been standing up the whole time, cheering like mad. At that point, a small number of people sat back to rest their legs and listen for a spell, but that move didn’t go over well with Crowes singer Chris Robinson.
When the new song was over, he suggested the sitters change places with the people dancing up in the balcony. Since I was one of those sitting, I took exception to the bony vocalist’s remark. I mean, who is he to complain about a few people sitting down, when for the last hour he and his band have been treated to one of the wildest receptions Vancouver’s ever seen? What are we, robots? What is he, God’s gift to rock ’n’ roll?
Nah—he’s just a good singer in a great Southern rock band, that’s all.
But enough about Robinson’s high-and-mighty mouthing-off. There’s too much good stuff to say about the Black Crowes’ concert, starting with the superb stage show.
For the evening’s opening act, the Jayhawks, the stage was surrounded by ropey brown netting, and cheap-looking strands of household light-bulbs dangling over the audience added to the impression that this was going to be a casual affair as far as visuals went.
But the netting was actually imbedded with hundreds of multicoloured lights; when the Crowes took the stage, glowing curtains opened to show spotlights playing on a cascade of floating bubbles. The effect was exhilarating, and the party was on.
Nothing beats a wicked blues-rock band in full flight—I don’t care what anybody says—and the Crowes were definitely soaring that night. The band pulled out all the best selections from its two albums, including the hits “Jealous Again”, “She Talks to Angels”, and a lusty version of Otis Redding’s ’68 stomper, “Hard to Handle”.
In keeping with the band’s upfront pro-pot stance—detailed in a recent High Times cover story—the odour of marijuana could be detected wafting to and fro, and the band’s predilection for the wacky weed was loudly proclaimed when a massive flag depicting a huge ganja leaf was pulled across the back of the stage.