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Published: 2013/11/18
by Stephen Bloch

The Black Crowes, Riverside Theatre. Milawukee, WI- 11/8

The Black Crowes rolled into Milwaukee to play a show at the historic Riverside Theater as part of their Lay Down with Number 13 tour. The mostly 40-something crowd arrived early and began their chatting about setlists, most anticipated tracks, Jackie Greene’s presence, and what kinds of projects we’ll be getting when The Crowes start their hopefully-brief hiatus. As I do with many shows, I made some predictions and my own wish list. I’d been checking the tour stats and made a pie in the sky setlist which included “Soul Singing” > “Sting Me” > “Twice as Hard” as openers. I heard pssssh when sharing this. Will never happen. Well as it turned out, it did as Chris Robinson and Co clearly had the goal of starting things off with some boot stompin with this holy triumvirate of Crowes tunes.

Evergreen, one of my favorites off of the underrated release 2008 Warpaint followed. A simple song with straightforward lyrics, yet heavy hitting with fuzzy guitar and innuendo had the crowd at bay. They then progressed through hits, including a 20 minute long “Wiser Time” with which featured stirring key sequences from Adam MacDougall and a trading of intense guitar solos between Rich Robinson and Jackie Green. They simply didn’t want the song to end. As has been the case with most of this tour, the band peppered in some great covers and rarities. A down and dirty “Title Song” fit in the middle of the set. Covers included a groovy “Mellow Down Easy,” 70’s anthem “Hush” and a killer rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “Baby Don’t You Do It.” Closing out with Ry Cooder’s “Boomer’s Story” left people feeling immensely satisfied.

The Black Crowes have not skipped a beat since the first time I saw them in 1990. Let’s hope their hiatus is short and inspirational. Let’s also hope for some great side projects and tours from the members. Their loyal following of Freak Flag Flyers would be most appreciative.

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