Live: Tender Mercies and Counting Crows – Nob Hill Masonic

We headed out to the Nob Hill Masonic Theater last night to see Mean Creek, Tender Mercies and Counting Crows. I had never seen any of them and while Counting Crows were one of the seminal bands of my teenage years, Tender Mercies were kind of like the Eddie and the Cruisers of that era. They made really good music covered by everyone and were really well regarded in the Bay Area. I’d never heard of Mean Creek, but was told by Adam Duritz, as he introduced them that they were from Boston.

Mean Creek

So before I go on, do you want the good news or the bad news first? I guess I’ll start with the bad news and go out on a high note. Mean Creek was an awful band. Not bad, no they were terrible. The lead singer was like a 15 year old at a backyard show saying things like, “This song is about having no fear, man. Because, because when you have no fear then there’s nothing that can stand in your way.” These declarations of what every song was about would have been interesting if, perhaps, this was an episode of VH1’s Storytellers or the songs were even remotely good. The lead singer of Mean Creek seems like he’s about one day’s worth of missed meds towards a nervous breakdown. If I had to choose Mean Creek or a heroin overdose I’m not sure which I’d choose.

Adam Duritz

The other bad news was that Counting Crows did not play their seminal hit, “Mr. Jones” and that was only the second most surprising thing of the show (I’ll get to the first later). Now that that is out of the way, on to the good news. The Crows were dynamic, with Duritz playing the part of a theatrical lead singer to perfection. They rocked out and played it soft. They were everything we expected them to be and more. Funny, charismatic, energetic, all of this even though Duritz said he had been sick for the past three days. They covered the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil”, Tender Mercies “Mercy” and Teenage Fan Club’s “Start Again” which Duritz described as almost therapeutic for the band.

Counting Crows

Despite the surprising omission of their greatest song Counting Crows played just about every other song you’d want them to play and didn’t just play them, but destroyed them. They played like it was their last show ever. One of the problems with the venue is that it is entirely seated so the energy from the crowd is sort of sucked away since no one can really dance or get close to the stage. It would be difficult for most bands to even succeed in such a circumstance, but Counting Crows excelled as did Tender Mercies.

Tender Mercies

Tender Mercies, a band whose album I reviewed and who’s lead guitarist and part-time singer, Dan Vickrey also guitarist for Counting Crows) I interviewed. I expected them to be pretty good. I’ve been speaking a lot lately about opening acts and their tendency to tamper down the excitement so that most of the adulation goes to the headliner. Tender mercies did no such thing. They were not only energetic they actually got a fairly diverse crowd to get out of their seats and move around. I would call it dancing, but as we all know most white people do not dance well and this crowd was no exception. The attempts at dancing from my vantage point were so clearly atrocious that I felt like I was on some SNL skit.

Patrick Winningham

Patrick Winningham and Vickrey had such amazing chemistry on stage as they switched up vocal roles and played the song from their self-titled debut that I enjoyed so much. They were the biggest surprise of the night and maybe even the best band. It’s harder for the middle band to get much recognition, because they’re sandwiched in, but Tender Mercies were phenomenal at the Nob Hill Masonic Theater last night. They absolutely are everything we wanted them to be 20 years ago. They, like Eddie and the Cruisers II, are back from the dead and playing better than ever. The hope is that this is just a step toward many more years of playing. Despite an opening act that should be playing at random house parties, the show was brilliant and after 20 years of waiting to see two really great bands we were not disappointed in the slightest.


2 thoughts on “Live: Tender Mercies and Counting Crows – Nob Hill Masonic

  1. Having attended the Counting Crows show at the Nob Hill Masonic on Tuesday, I have to agree with much that was said here. I always catch the Counting Crows when they are in town and I have to say that this was one of their better shows. They played many of their best songs and Adam (despite saying he had been sick for a few days) gave a stellar performance. I was close up to the stage and wanted to stand but it was mostly a sitting crowd so I didn’t want to block anyone’s view. I agree the opener was not my taste in music but Tender Mercies (especially the lead singer) was a great surprise. I had never heard of Tender Mercies but sure hope they stay together and play shows locally. I rushed out to buy their CD after they performed. Counting Crows rocked the venue and Tender Mercies was a perfect opener

  2. Pingback: Eddie and the Cruisers / Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! (Totally Awesome 80s Double Feature) | WWW.DBESTREVIEW.COM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s