BLACK CROWES - Greek Theater Opening Night

"The Black Crowes" Greek Theater April 13, 2024

by Claudio Vernight

With showtime temperatures bottoming out at 49 degrees, the crowd for the Black Crowes came bundled up. But come they did, heating up the Greek for another rousing sold out opener for this, its 2024 season. A local youngster from Sherman Oaks, Billy Tibbals, warmed the crowd as best he could, doing his impersonation of a rock star with swagger. Decent songs but at least he was playing for an appreciative audience.

            When the Crowes took the stage, fever pitch approached pandemonium as the grey-haired rocker crowd roared with approval. The band hit the stage in front of a wall of vintage amps. These were not stacks of Marshalls like you would usually see. These were tweed Fenders, Vox's, even an Ampeg Reverberocket and, yes, Marshall Studios. It gave the impression of a show in Norm's Guitars or even Gruen's of Nashville.

            But when lead singer, Chris Robinson, grabbed the aluminum mike stand it was game on as he gave a master class in strut and swagger. I'll also say it right here. His voice never sounded better. Throwing his head way back and holding the mike stand high in the air above him, he was in complete control as his brother, Rich, filled Vermont Canyon with a sheen of sweetly distorted guitar. Rich's open-G playing harkens to Keith Richard's but all their material is quite original, if not derivative. Second guitar, Nico Bereciartua, fattened up their wall of sound and his leads, especially his Southern-rock slide was par excellence. Long-time bassist, Sven Pipien, held the bottom together along with drummer, Cully Symington, who pounded away high in the air behind everyone. Up next to him was keyboardist Erik Deutsch who commanded acoustic piano, some powerful B3 and a very Stevie Wonder-like wah-wah clavinet. Oppostite him were the girl background singers, Mackenzie Adams and Lesley Grant, giving the entire visual a feel of the Stones tour in the early seventies.

            Then the guests came. A flat-out surprise of the Stones' Ronnie Wood was a great choice. As Chris can sing as good as Rod, they did the Faces hit, "Stay With Me." Ronnie hadn't lost a step as he pounded his Zemaitis guitar with the same fury he did when Rod Stewart sang alongside him. I don't care if the song reeks with misogyny. It's a dose of fun rock and roll and was great to hear with the guy who wrote the riff, showing us all how it is done.

            Then a few songs later, they played their power ballad sing-along, "She Talks to Angels" with the keyboardist who played on their record, Chuck Levall. On this powerful, if not spiritual song, Chuck's full-hand chords up and down the keyboard were easy to spot as his signature sound. He also played on one of their first hits, the Otis Redding smash, "Hard to Handle."

            The last third of the set included such regulars as 'Flesh Wound," "I Ain't Hiding," "Jealous Again" and "Remedy." Stuck in the middle of those four was an extended jam on "Thorn in My Pride," showing that the band truly can play.

            As for the encore, they skipped their usual first hit, "Shake Your Money Maker," in lieu of the Velvet Underground's "White Light/White Heat." At that point the crowd would have done anything for their heroes, remembering that this was a crowd with no one under fifty.

What a great night and what a great upcoming season for our Hollywood gem, the Greek Theater. 

5900 satisfied music lovers left without realizing the temperature dropped.

If you feel like a riot, then don't you deny it.                                                                   Put your good foot forward,                                                                         No need for heroics, I just want you to show it.                                                               Now's the time to shine

-Black Crowes "The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion"

Chris Robinson - lead vocals, harmonica

Rich Robinson - guitar, backing vocals

Sven Pipien - bass, backing vocals

Erik Deutsch - keyboards

Nico Bereciartua - guitars

Cully Symington - drums

Mackenzie Adams - backing vocals

Lesley Grant - backing vocals

Ronnie Wood - guest vocals and slide guitar on "Stay With Me"

Chuck Levall - Piano "Hard to Handle" and "She Talks to Angels"

Posted By DH Magazine on April 18, 2024 03:05 pm | Permalink