The Black Crowes sing the blues in the House of the mouse.

Black Crowes

House of Blues
Orlando, Florida
August 24, 2007

Despite slug-sized raindrops splashing ferociously upon Downtown Disney, folks determined to get themselves a heaping dose of unfiltered rock ’n’ roll made their way toward the House of Blues, wading through the whirlwind of weather and Mickey-loving tourists. On this rainy summer night, the Black Crowes were making a much needed southern stop for a sold- out show.

Never afraid to grasp inspiration from a time of free love, this scrufty flock took to the stage with a purpose as clear and strong as a shot of vodka: to penetrate our beings with toe-curling rhythms.  Fully-bearded Chris Robinson and the boys appeared like apostles of groove ready to take us on a spiritual journey into the depths of soul shaking sweetness.

Frontman Robinson clapped and rubbed his hands together as if to channel the energy from legendary performers now passed, while the anticipatory sounds of guitars and bass tuning teased our aural appetite.

The Crowes got off to a mellow start, opening the show with “Wiser Time.”  Robinson soulfully belted out the first words of the chorus like a progressive preacher rallying a congregation: “On a good day It’s not everyday we can part the sea.”  A spiritual vibe, along with Robinson’s distinct voice, bellowed through the venue.

Maybe it was the array of religious symbols that adorned the awning of the stage, or the words that proudly displayed HOB’s motto “Unity in Diversity”, that gave off a faithy feel.  Even “Good Friday,” a song about a relationship gone sour, conjured up images of religion.

Watching Chris’s moves was like observing a visual anthology of Mick, Hendrix and Iggy Pop with a slight twist of Janis Joplin thrown in for good measure.

"Sting Me," an upbeat tune that stretched back to the days of Southern rock, was complemented by the vocal stylings of two beautiful back-up singers, whose voices added a fierce feminine touch to the badass boy aura already present.

Now a few songs and cocktails into the high-energy show, concert attendees were finally starting to let their inner freak out by dancing as if no one was watching.  Sadly, one soul’s happy feet got him escorted out by HOB security.  Doing nothing more than fully feeling the funk, this curly-haired hip-shaker was dragged away as if he had committed some crime of dance.

The irony of an American flag with a peace sign in the place of stars hung over the keyboard, as our tenacious little dancer made his unwanted exit while his fist pumped in the air.

This ridiculous overreaction, although strange and uncalled for, didn’t truly dampen the mood of the show, but served as a reminder that some just don’t recognize the positive powerful effects of music when they see it.

Just a few strums by Rich Robinson opening “She Talks to Angels”, a poetic ballad that received lots of radio airplay in the 1990s, harbored up a sea of applause.  The crowd simultaneously swayed and sang consumed by the potent presence that is The Crowes.

Drummer extraordinaire Steve Gorman blessed us with a stellar tribalistic solo , knowing just when to speed it up and slow it down as his bandmates on stage proudly nodded, entranced by the tempo.

 Showing their love for raw blues, the Atlanta-based band jumped into an instrumental jam session, where Chris showed off his harmonica skills.

After performing "Remedy," The Crowes exited the stage, only to be lured back by the clapping hands and stomping feet of fans in need of more therapeutic melodies.

For their final song of the evening they opted for a cover of Ry Cooder’s “Boomer’s Story,” a tale of a traveling train-hopper who left his “gal” at the station. A bittersweet song signaled a bittersweet end to the night, one that made the crowd feel like that abandoned lover: left with nothing but the memories and the distant sound of a train whistle.


Set: Wiser Time, Gone, Sting Me, Jealous Again, Good Friday, My Morning Song, Miracle To Me, Isn’t It About Time, Soul Singing, She Talks To Angels, Cosmic Friend, Thorn In My Pride, Hard To Handle, Remedy

Encore: Boomer’s Story