The Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in the northern Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Georgia, welcomed Grammy-nominated band Counting Crows to town on Friday night. Built in 2008, this 12,000 capacity venue became the latest stop on their 56-date Banshee Season Tour, which includes support from fellow ’90s artist Dashboard Confessional. For the first time in my recent memory, the venue actually closed down the general admission lawn on Friday night and instead allowed fans to fill in the empty covered seating. While I suspect the demand for this show was impacted by the swampy humidity in the air, it could more likely be blamed on Beyoncé, who was performing in downtown Atlanta at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
With the sun mercifully beginning to set around 7:30pm, Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz came out and introduced Dashboard Confessional to the early crowd. Lead by the charismatic Chris Carrabba, Dashboard Confessional kicked off the night with “Don’t Wait” from their 2006 release, Dusk and Summer. The energetic Carrabba, flanked by Scott Schoenbeck, Armon Jay, Chris Kamrada, Kenny Bridges, and Abigail Kelly (who returned to performing after missing the prior week of shows for unannounced reasons), delivered a 12-song set that pulled from all eight of their studio albums, including their most recent, All the Truth That I Can Tell (2022).
Admittedly I am not a dedicated Dashboard Confessional fan, but I was surprised by the number of songs I did recognize, including “Saints and Sailors,” “Hands Down,” and “Screaming Infidelities.” However, it was the crowd-favorite tune “Vindicated” from the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack that got the fans to their feet while Carrabba jumped around the stage and sung his lungs out. Following their amazing set, it was pretty obvious to me why Durtiz anointed Dashboard Confessional as one of his favorite bands. They were musically tight, entertaining to watch, and Carrabba gets super-engaged with the audience.
Chris Carrabba – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, keyboards
Scott Schoenbeck – bass, piano, keyboards
Armon Jay – lead guitar, backing vocals
Chris Kamrada – drums, percussion
Kenny Bridges – guitar, piano, keyboards, backing vocals, percussion
Abigail Kelly – backing vocals
1.) Don’t Wait
2.) The Sharp Hint of New Tears
4.) Carry This Picture
5.) Everybody Learns From Disaster
6.) Saints and Sailors
7.) Burning Heart
8.) Screaming Infidelities
9.) Again I Go Unnoticed
12.) Hands Down
With the evening temperatures finally giving some relief to the humidity, the Counting Crows took to the stage at 9pm. Known for changing up their setlist generally every tour stop, Duritz, dressed simply in a NASA t-shirt and black jacket, started their evening off with “Sullivan Street” from their debut studio album, August and Everything After (1993). With his casual demeanor and commanding soulful voice, Duritz then rolled the band into the tune “Scarecrow,” followed by their breakout single “Mr. Jones.”
Like Carrabba, Duritz spent a lot of time interacting with the audience, even joking at one point that his stage fan used to combat the heat made him feel like Fabio. The band also enjoyed an “oops” moment when Duritz messed up the first verse of “Anna Begins” mid-set and they had to start the song over again. While the band does take some refreshing liberties with their live delivery, tone and style for many of their songs now, the back third of their opening set was amazing.
Starting out with one of my personal favorites in the Joni Mitchell cover of “Big Yellow Taxi,” the Counting Crows then rolled through “Round Here,” “Palisades Park,” “Rain King,” and with Duritz behind the piano in the center of the stage, concluded with their hit “A Long December.” With a wave, Duritz announced the band would be right back, avoiding any question about an encore.
After kicking off the encore set with “Time and Time Again,” Duritz then invited Dashboard Confessional back to the stage, where they collectively performed their tune “So Long, So Long,” a track Duritz and Carrabba collaborated on. With Dashboard Confessional remaining, the Counting Crows then performed a crowd-pleasing rendition of arguably one their most recognizable songs, “Hanginaround.” In fact, Duritz recently reflected on a SiriusXM PopRocks show he was hosting that he was inspired to write “Hanginaround” after hearing “Steal My Sunshine” by the Canadian alternative rock band Len. The Counting Crows put a cap on their two-hour, 20-song set with an uplifting performance of “Holiday in Spain” from their 2002 release, Hard Candy.
The Banshee Season Tour runs through the end of next month, concluding at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, on Monday, September 25.
David Bryson – guitar, backing vocals
Adam Duritz – lead vocals, keyboards, occasional harmonica
Charlie Gillingham – keyboards, backing vocals, accordion, clarinet
Dan Vickrey – lead guitar, backing vocals, banjo
David Immerglück – guitars, bass, pedal steel guitar, mandolin, backing vocals, banjo
Jim Bogios – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Millard Powers – bass, rhythm guitar, backing vocals
1.) Sullivan Street
3.) Mr. Jones
5.) Butterfly in Reverse
7.) Recovering the Satellites
8.) Anna Begins
10.) Blues Run the Game (Jackson C. Frank cover)
11.) Angels of the Silences
12.) Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell cover)
13.) Round Here
14.) Palisades Park
15.) Rain King
16.) A Long December
17.) Time and Time Again
18.) So Long, So Long (Dashboard Confessional cover)
20.) Holiday in Spain
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Elliott is a music photographer covering shows in the Atlanta, Georgia and the surrounding area. The highlight of his photography career was back in the early 90s, selling Neil Diamond the rights to his negatives from a show and purchasing a set of tires for his 1979 280ZX during college with the money.