As The Crow Flies Rocks New Orleans: Review, Photos & Videos

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Images by: Adam McCullough

Words by: Scott Bernstein

As The Crow Flies :: 4.29.18
Joy Theatre :: New Orleans

View Adam’s photos following Scott’s review.

Nearly two weeks into their inaugural tour As The Crow Flies are hitting their stride. On Saturday night, vocalist Chris Robinson led guitarists Marcus King and Audley Freed, bassist Andy Hess, keyboardist Adam MacDougall and drummer Tony Leone through a tight and passionate two-hour performance chock full of beloved favorites from the Black Crowes’ songbook as well as a few classic rock covers at The Joy Theatre in New Orleans.

As The Crow Flies has kept setlists extremely similar from one night to the next, which makes for a band more comfortable with the material at each stop. Chris was in full rock star mode in NOLA, strutting around, dancing and twirling the mic stand in between delivering powerful vocal performances. The six-piece opened with a fierce “Remedy” to the delight of the rowdy Crescent City crowd. 22-year-old axe-slinger Marcus King made his presence felt immediately both by unleashing a strong solo during the Southern Harmony And Musical Companion hit and providing spot-on harmonies.

Chris Robinson welcomed everyone to the Saturday night rock show following a raucous “Sting Me” and displayed he still can hit the high notes on “(Only) Halfway To Everywhere.” One of the early highlights of the concert was “Twice As Hard,” as the sextet gelled for the spot-on rendition of the song from the Crowes’ 1990 studio debut Shake Your Money Maker. ATCF has come far from opening night in Port Chester on April 17, when there were many tentative moments as the band members were still feeling each other out. “Sister Luck” and “High Head Blues” were two more examples of how tight the rhythm section of Leone and Hess has become. The pair were in lockstep throughout the evening.

One of the most intriguing pairings of the tour has been the way the sextet works “Good Friday” into Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Almost Cut My Hair.” The transition between the two songs sounded incredibly natural in the Crescent City and “Almost Cut My Hair” is right in Robinson’s wheelhouse. A goosebump-inducing moment came next, when As The Crow Flies lit into “Wiser Time.” The Black Crowes used “Wiser Time” to showcase their instrumentalists, especially over the course of the band’s final few tours. Saturday’s version continued that trend as MacDougall, King and Freed uncorked memorable solos. Each was built from a slow start to a rolling boil. The extended “Wiser Time” concluded with Audley and Marcus digging in for a freewheeling, climactic guitar duel.

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The end of Saturday’s set featured one crowd-pleaser after another. Robinson & Co. stuck close to the studio version for a gorgeous “She Talks To Angels” and then unleashed a potent “Thorn In My Pride” that was extended with a harmonica solo from Chris and dynamic solo from Audley. As The Crow Flies closed out the set with “Jealous Again” and “Hard To Handle,” a pair of tunes that helped put The Black Crowes on the map. The sextet included Billy Joe Royal’s “Hush” within “Hard To Handle” just as the Crowes did over the course of their final tour.

For the encore, the six-piece said farewell with a cover of Rick Derringer’s “Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo” – a fitting selection for a night focused on the genre. Chris and Rich Robinson have been trading barbs through the press for years and at the point it’s hard to imagine The Black Crowes ever reuniting. As The Crow Flies’ performance in New Orleans did a great job of scratching the itch for this Crowes fan that has been missing the band ever since their final tour.

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Photos by Adam McCullough

Videos

[Twice As Hard (Partial) | Captured by Rick Steadman]

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[Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo (Partial) | Captured by themeboudin]

Setlist

Set: Remedy, Sting Me, (Only) Halfway To Everywhere, By Your Side, Twice As Hard, Sister Luck, High Head Blues, Good Friday > Almost Cut My Hair, Wiser Time, She Talks To Angels, Thorn In My Pride, Jealous Again, Hard To Handle > Hush > Hard To Handle

Encore: Rock & Roll Hootchie Koo