By Nancy Saunders

The grand nature of the Community Auditorium means there’s a chance you’ll be compelled (by peer pressure) to stay seated during a rock concert. Luckily, the audience was united at the Counting Crows show on Sunday–standing, swaying, clapping and singing along for most of the night. This was due in part to the precedent set by opening band Twin Fork’s request that we all rise for their final tune. Chris Carrabbas’ (Dashboard Confessional) new offer was impressive with catchy songs, skilled musicians and vocalists, energy and fun banter; we didn’t mind showing our appreciation by getting to our feet.

In comparison, Counting Crows put on a noticeably subdued show. The live versions of their radio hits, while skillfully delivered, were missing their passion and angst, with singer Adam Duritz often choosing spoken word over singing. Explaining his minimal interaction with the crowd, he said, “Some nights I talk a lot, some nights I sing a bunch of songs. Tonight I’ll talk a lot. No, I’ll sing songs. I have nothing but nonsense to say tonight.”

With songs from many albums including their debut, August and Everything After (“Round Here”, “Mr. Jones”, “Rain King”) and the new Somewhere Under Wonderland (“Palisades Park”, “Earthquake Driver”), the set was varied, musically tight and accompanied by a good light show. They played cover songs including Big Yellow Taxi, before which Duritz paid tribute to Joni Mitchell, mentioning she is in the hospital. During the encore Duritz asked the audience to help stop violence against women by considering donating to Oxfam, the charity the band is raising money for over the course of their Canadian tour.

It was nice to see this band in concert–something that’s been on lots of people’s bucket list–although I prefer the album variations over their live renditions. I’m grateful to have been introduced to Twin Forks, and I’m much more likely to see them play again than I am to go to another Counting Crows show.