Washington Evening Journal
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In the spring of 1990, I received word that one of my favorite bands, Aerosmith, was going to be playing in Bristol, Connecticut, just a few hours’ drive from my home in Vermont. I quickly purchased tickets for the June show.
I saw that some band I had never heard of — The Black Crowes — would be opening the show. Wanting to make the most of my concert experience, I went straight out to my local record store and bought “Shake Your Moneymaker,” the Crowes’ debut album.
I sat down in my room and listened to the album from start to finish. Then, I listened to it again. I was blown away.
Something told me this band was not your typical forgettable opening act. They had their own unique style and sound, and the music made its way down into my soul like a wonderful elixir.
The concert did not disappoint other than the fact that the venue was in some old, dumpy amusement park. I was hooked.
A few days later, I found myself on the road to see these two acts again, this time in Saratoga, New York.
I still loved Aerosmith, but the Crowes were moving quickly up my list of favorite bands.
That fall, I drove to Montreal to see the Crowes again. This time they were opening for Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant.
By now, I had learned two things. One, the Black Crowes sounded even better live than on their studio album. Two, their days of being an opening act were numbered. I knew these guys were destined to be headliners.
For me, the live shows could be best described as “going to church.”
Something about their music just lifted me and carried me away to another place. I would close my eyes and hear and feel the music all around me and all through me.
Over the years, I attended several more of their shows. Each experience was similar, yet unique in its own way.
Fast forward to the fall of 2019. The band announced they were reuniting for a 30th anniversary tour in 2020.
For Christmas that year, my daughter, who was 20 years old at the time — the same age I was when I saw my first Black Crowes show — bought me tickets for their Chicago tour stop. Sometimes, the symmetry of life can really surprise you.
Well, we all know what happened in 2020 — COVID-19 canceled concerts and pretty much everything else for the year.
Eventually, the show was rescheduled for August 2021. I still had my tickets sitting in my dresser drawer, so I was ready to roll.
This past weekend, my wife and I traveled to Chicago for the show. Once again, they did not disappoint.
One thing I found interesting was the demographics of the crowd.
They were predominantly people my age, probably there for the same reasons I was. I could picture many of these people discovering the band 31 years ago, just like I had.
We’re all a little grayer and a bit heavier, but the spirit that unified us all was there.
The music, like in days past, carried me away, and I could see that I was not the only one.
It’s not often that you have the ability to genuinely recapture something you felt in your youth.
For a few hours on Saturday night in Chicago, I did just that, and my soul is better for it.
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