The Black Crowes: new faces, same music

Ryan Romanski

After the unexpected resignation of long-time lead guitarist Marc Ford only two days before the start of the fall tour, as well as the departure of keyboard player Ed Hawrysch, the Black Crowes put on a fantastic show Tuesday, Sept. 12 at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, R.I.

The Crowes came onstage just after 9 p.m. and immediately went into the fan favorite, “Halfway to Everywhere.” New lead guitarist Paul Stacey got his opportunity to shine in this first song, ripping a squealing solo that got the crowd roaring.

Through the rest of the first set, Stacey seemed unsure of himself, almost constantly peering across the stage at guitarist Rich Robinson for his cues. However, this did not take away from the show. Even the normally stoic bass player, Sven Pipien, had a smile on his face through most of the show. Lead singer Chris Robinson summed it up when he said, “In case you couldn’t tell, we’re all having a lot of fun tonight.”

The first set ended with a jammed out version of “Thorn In My Pride,” a staple of the band’s live performances. New keyboard player Rob Clores got his chance to make an impression on the crowd during this song, and made a very positive one judging by the raucous applause he received. Drummer Steve Gorman also played his signature drum solo in the middle of this song, right before the band launched into a blistering jam to end the song and the first set.

The second set began with “Wiser Time,” another old Crowes favorite. The band played an unusually long jam out of this song, and that would prove to be the trend for the second set.

The highlight of the show, however, was when the band played a cover of “Fearless” by Pink Floyd. The music was very tight, everyone knew their parts and Rich Robinson’s vocals really went well with a song that was always previously sung by former guitarist Marc Ford.

The show closed with a couple of hits, as the band played “Jealous Again” and “Hard to Handle.” After leaving the stage, and the crowd in suspense for a few minutes, the band returned and played “Oh Well” by Fleetwood Mac before thanking the crowd for attending and walking off stage together.

No one was sure if the Crowes could pull off their fall tour given the recent departures of some of their band mates. They proved, though, that they can still rock and roll, and do it better than almost any band out there.