The Post-Gazette Pavilion is like a hundred other corporate venues throughout America. A huge grandstand fanning out in front of thousands of seats that fade off into a gay grassy knoll behind, festooned on flanks with a village of retail huts.
The beer at the Post-Gazette pavilion starts out at a base cost of $5 for 12 oz. of swill. But there's the extra $2 you have to pay to get the 16 oz. cup. Also, built into the equation is a high tip over rate for the beers. Based on various things they treat the hill's dirt grading and grass with, and the specifically engineered dimensions of the cups, beers are guaranteed to spill on average 1/3rd of the time. Which brings the total cost of the beer to: $7 * 1.333 = $9.3
The show itself was unremarkable. The band wheeled out its time-worn hits, though the drunken catcalls during the exodus afterwards indicated that "Mr. Jones" should have been on the agenda. And though there was a song or two I had never heard, nothing sounded new. I just wish they had played "Einstein on the Beach."
The Counting Crows do a great job of capturing that blue-collar AND downtrodden sentiment of America, which plays particularly well in Pittsburgh. "Omaha" and "'Round Here" were faithfully rendered and both well-received. But Counting Crows is such a troupe of hired musicians playing such a known roster of standards that you come to expect more in terms of innovation and on-the-fly guitar mastery. I counted at least 3 guitarists on stage, and while none of them missed a note, their playing was unadventurous.
The Counting Crows are going to need to reinvent themselves on the road if they don't want to fade slowly into the sunset. They need to become more of a festival jam band, because they do have a special sound, a heartfelt singer, and the technical skills to bring down a house.
The Counting Crows left the Post-Gazette Pavilion stage at about 11:15 pm. The encore was one song if that's what they call the thing on the end. I bought a t-shirt for my boss, consulting co-worker Maura on the size so as not to destroy my career. Mike and Sean wandered back from the bathrooms. And we all went back to hang out and then to sleep it off.
I Was There, I Wrote, I Lived
The Counting Crows show, July 15, 2006.
Post-Gazette pavilion, formerly known as Star Lake Amphitheater.
Goo Goo Dolls also (sadly) in attendance.
Slightly tipsy, friends in tow.