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The Black Crowes
A Concert Review
[More Photos From the Concert]

July 15, 1996

The Skyline Stage

Chicago, IL

A Review by Big Cooter
Photos by:
The Dude on the Right
Black Crowes Photo 1
Howdy doody all you folks in net-land. Here I am back to give you the low down on the latest concert that I took in, and that being The Black Crowes at the Skyline Stage on Navy Pier, Chicago, IL. Boy, it is definitely getting more difficult to identify the places that I see a show. Ya know, when we take in shows from anywhere we are, i.e. like our trip to New Jersey! Woo Woo!

At any rate, it was sorta an overcast looking night when we took off for the show. And upon our arrival we, The Dude on the Right and myself, found that the opening band had already started. So, I took off for the pavilion while DOTR was getting his photo stuff taken care of. The band that I found was a very strange looking band by its own right. They kinda gave ya the impression that they were a Stray Cats wanna be type band. They were wearing the custom outfits that made em look as if we had gone through a minor time warp. And to complement that, they were playing some interesting arrangement of instruments. For one, they had a full sized bass guitar which is way kewl in my book. Other interesting instruments included, but aren't limited to, a fiddle, steel guitar, and miscellaneous other noise makers. They were pretty interesting, and that interest led to some pretty interesting lyrics. They sang some song about the Andy Griffith show, which included some lyrics about Opie doing dope or something. I believe that they identified the song as the alter ego of the Andy Griffith show. But let it be known, they were fairly interesting. The biggest problem I had was finding out the name of the band, which I did by looking at some of the tour shirts they were selling. So the band name was, BR5-49. Don't ask me what it means, I haven't a clue, but I do know that they were fairly entertaining and I am gonna give them One Thumb Up!

Black Crowes Photo 2
Okie, with that said, I should really bring up the band for which I was sent to cover and that was the Black Crowes. First impressions upon arriving at the show was that this was going to be a very diverse group of people in attendance. And not only those in attendance but also the ones hanging around outside of the theater, as you see the theater is outside and on Navy Pier. Navy Pier is a pretty popular place to hang out - it has a beer garden and miscellaneous shopping places on it. So, basically, there is nothing that they can do to prevent people without tickets from stopping by and listening to the show which is pretty kewl if ya ask me. Anyhoo, the diversity of the crowd rivaled that of a Grateful Dead show which is pretty neat. Ya had all of your skid-row type people, your hippies, your preppies and your yuppies. You also had those wearing bras, those not, those that shoulda been, and those I wished hadn't. But then again, there I go being observant.

Once the Crowes finally hit the stage I realized that the band might actually be trying to become the next Grateful Dead. The guys on stage did not resemble anything that I remembered of them. Then again, I haven't seen or heard them since the Hard 2 Handle/Twice as Hard album era. But, the lead singer, Chris if I am not mistaken, had this goatee beard going and the rest of the band
Black Crowes Photo 3
just looked as if they were in a funk. But once again there I go being too damned observant.

The Black Crowes went on to play about an hour and a half to two hour show, I forgot to write down the starting time of the show so I am not totally sure how long it went. And it happened to be a pretty good show. It seemed as if the band was trying to get a feel for how the new stuff off of their upcoming new album would go over, and possibly just start tuning for the big tour coming in the winter time sometime. That's is why I guess I was surprised to hear that they were playing at the Skyline Stage, which sits about 1100 people.

Some of the new stuff they played wasn't too bad, but there was other stuff that I just wasn't real impressed with. Good Friday, a single that was getting some air time lately, was a pretty nice sounding song. I guess that is why it is getting the air time that it is. Right around the time that they played this tune, the rain came down in droves. It turned the area outside of the cover of the pavilion into one of the biggest wet T-shirt contests I have ever seen. But anyway, the band also did a bunch of their more popular songs, like Hard 2 Handle, and Twice as Hard.

Overall, the band did a pretty good job of putting on the show. I would not say that this band is a really entertaining band to see on stage, well other than their radical change in appearance from the last time I had seen them do anything. But, it was pretty good and for the most part everyone had a good time. Hell, the poor people that were standing outside of the venue got dumped on hugely by the rain and they stuck around to the final encore. I must applaud that, as many a folk I know might not even ventured out in the weather. So, I am gonna give The Black Crowes One Thumb Up, based purely on the enjoyment of the rest of the crowd.

Well, that is it for me for yet another review.


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