Words by Adam Kaye

Drive By Truckers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band and The Black Crowes
06.14.06 :: Greek Theatre :: Los Angeles, CA

The Black Crowes by Casey Flanigan
On what felt like the first night of summer, The Black Crowes brought their rock and roll show to Griffith Park's gorgeous Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Along with them were the Drive-By Truckers and Robert Randolph and the Family Band, but it was the Crowes who everybody was thinking about the next day, and the day after that one.

Drive-By Truckers

The Greek, a spectacular and perfectly-sized outdoor amphitheater, holds close to 6,000 seats, but the vast majority of the audience members were still making their way to the show when the Drive-By Truckers took the stage at half past six.

Patterson Hood by Andy Tennille
So the Truckers had to endure an empty house and all the BlackBerry text-messaging and cell phone- talking you'd expect in L.A. at 6:30 on a Wednesday night, two and a half hours before the headliner is set to come on, but they persevered and won a handful of new fans with their growling three-guitar attack.

Currently touring in support of their great recent release A Blessing and a Curse, the band delivered three tunes from the new album, including "Feb. 14," "Easy On Yourself," and "Gravity's Gone." Lead singers/songwriters/ guitar players Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and Jason Isbell have their own individual styles but fit together perfectly when it's time to rock out. With the new album, they seem to be trying to move away from the "Southern" tag that has always accompanied them, but live, their sound will still please the Skynyrd and Allmans-lovers across the country.

Robert Randolph and the Family Band

Wearing Pedro Martinez's Mets jersey and a black fedora, Robert Randolph tore into his short set of rockin' pedal steel funk, which included covers of The Doobie Brothers' "Jesus Is Just Alright With Me" and Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile." In the "Only in L.A." category, your new American Idol Taylor Hicks stopped by to lend his harp to a tune. When he stepped out from backstage, Hicks had the potential to blow the place away, but he seemed timid or respectfully reserved and never really tore into it.

Robert Randolph by Andy Tennille
Randolph played more electric guitar than he has in the past and seemed to enjoy doing so, breaking up the steady stream of in-your-face wailing on the pedal steel. Anybody who has seen Randolph make a small room explode knows the ridiculous amount of charisma and talent that he possesses, but for some reason that magnetism and electricity didn't seem to overwhelm the Greek on this night. Just like the Truckers' set, it was still earlier than people were used to getting to a concert in this town, but among those who were there, Randolph had new people taking notice.

The Black Crowes

After years of bruised egos and bumps in the road, the Black Crowes decided to roll the dice one more time in March 2005 and have been earning rave reviews ever since, some even claiming their recent performances rival those of their heyday. To watch them work together again feels good – a reminder that sometimes second chances actually pan out. Since reuniting, the Crowes have played seven sold-out shows at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom and New Year's Eve at Madison Square Garden, performed five-nights at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, and headlined three of the most prestigious festivals in America (New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Bonnaroo, and Austin City Limits Festival).

Marc Ford by Casey Flanigan
The current incarnation of the band is as close as they've been to their original lineup in years. Brothers Chris (lead vocals) and Rich Robinson (guitars) are still the heart of the organism, but on this night Marc Ford (guitars) reminded everybody what an essential piece of the puzzle he is. Steve Gorman (drums), Ed Hawrysch (keyboards), and Sven Pipien (bass) - the only musician not a part of 1992's The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion - all contributed substantially, and background singers Charity White and Mona Lisa Young spun the songs with the soul that jumps off the band's recordings.

Over the course of their career, the Crowes have toured with Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Jimmy Page, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Oasis, AC/DC and Lenny Kravitz, but this summer's outing has the perfectly fuzzy and jammed-out feel of the Allman Brothers, complete with psychedelically colorful, mushroom-adorned backdrop. Fun covers from The Band ("Up on Cripple Creek"), Neil Young ("L.A."), and Derek and the Dominos ("Got To Get Better In A Little While") kept things interesting, but the most impressive aspect of the show was the unrestrained, improvised jamming.

Chris Robinson by Casey Flanigan
The Crowes' set opened solidly with "Cursed Diamond" and "Wiser Time." Next, "Got To Get Better In A Little While" was introduced by Chris as "the most political we get," and it was delivered in a manner that made it clear the band is not entirely happy about the current state of our world. Gorman's drums drove everybody forward, and the combination of Chris's lead vocals and electric guitar and the twin-guitar attack of Rich and Ford made you want to stand up and make a difference. "Soul Singing" from 2001's Lions came out straight-forwardly with the background singers taking the energy up a notch, but the band really opened it up after that. Everybody was moving together, but still there was room for some impressive individual showing off.

The "Cripple Creek" cover with the brothers playing acoustic guitars and Rich singing lead was fun but didn't really enter any uncharted territory before "My Morning Song" was stretched way out, including a spacey drum solo and serious key-work from Hawrysch. Young's "L.A." featured Ford on lead vocals and Chris again picking up the electric guitar before the guaranteed-to-please set-closing "Hard to Handle," "Jealous Again," and "Remedy" gave everybody the opportunity to sing along for which they paid admission. The last song of the night was a furiously hard-rocking cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well," which the Crowes have been playing since 1999, and it was the perfect way to go out with a bang. Just before leaving the stage, Chris thanked the crowd by saying, "It's nice to see people dancing in L.A."

Cursed Diamond, Wiser Time, Got To Get Better In A Little While, Sister Luck, Soul Singing, Welcome To The Good Times, Up On Cripple Creek, My Morning Song, L.A., Hard To Handle, Jealous Again, Remedy
E2: Oh Well

JamBase | L.A.
Go See Live Music!


[Published on: 7/19/06]

Take full advantage of all JamBase has to offer by signing up for an account!

You'll receive

show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!



kb4404 starstarstarstar Wed 7/19/2006 07:56PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Thats it!! Only one seemingly short set? I have seen the Crowes a few times and they always come with a longer set list than this one.

FormulaOBX Thu 7/20/2006 05:51AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Saw them for the third time at the NORVA.....I am sorry but it wasn't a night filled with improvisational music or exploritory avenues.35$ didn't make me holler.Better luck next time.

chevman Thu 7/20/2006 08:03AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

these guys just kick ass...

cocheese starstar Thu 7/20/2006 08:18AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Seen this show here in Nashville and I thought all 3 bands brought the heat. The Crowes are stretching it out a little bit more these days. I've been a fan of those guys since I was teenager. The Truckers just plain RAWK! They're steadly becoming one of my favorite bands, wish I could hear a complete show by them. Robert Randolph looks likes he's having more fun up there on stage than any other artist, maybe even more than some of the fans. Give some color here AK!

ladalmond starstarstarstarstar Thu 7/20/2006 12:48PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Best Band in the world and the guy with the Norva comment they played 3 hours and 90 percent of the audience bought the instant live and was saying it was one of the best shows they had ever seen. Stop hating and enjoy. Not to many real great bands left. Black Crowes own every stage they are on, look at bon. from last year.

cr2 star Fri 7/21/2006 12:43PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I saw these guys in Tampa, FL a few weeks back and the Crowes sucked. Robert Randolph and DBT were good, but the Crowes abolutely blew. They could not even sell out Ford Amphit, not even the seats, so the venue shut off the 'lawn' section and upgraded all lawn tickets to seats. Hang up Crowes.

manjotar starstarstarstar Mon 7/24/2006 04:58PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


the black crowes were great at all good,
i enjoyed the hell out of their show...

rockn Wed 8/9/2006 03:48PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I also saw the Crowes in Tampa a few weeks back and they kicked ass! cr2 couldn't be more wrong and I don't understand it. It was rainy all day and through the evening so they allowed the lawn people to get undercover. Due to the weather and it being a shed show it wasn't a surprise that there was no walk-up. Go to the Crowes site and check the reviews of that show and all the others (Norva, Chicago, Columbus)and/or pick up an Instant Live..they've never played better! They're tight, they jam, on their older songs, their new songs, covers..they're really on top of their game now.