26 November 2017

The Wayback Machine: Counting Crows and Middle Age

I had a chance to see Counting Crows recently. Free tickets, free beers, super good seats. I opted not to attend. Skipped it because they have a tendency to get all jam-band-y in their live shows, which is definitely not my jam. (HONK) And also because the songs on August and Everything After mean a lot to me; I was afraid that hearing them again a lifetime later in a different context would have made me feel some feels, which is blah. I was also afraid I would feel nothing at all, which is worse.

When I first got a copy of the record on which this song appears I wore it out. If it were an actual record I would have had to buy a new copy because the needle would have smoothed the groove. As it is I just wore out everyone else's patience while I load-tested the speakers and repeat-offender'd my preferred cuts. Rain King remains my gold-standard, all-time favorite from this record. YMMV.

Covered this already in another post just over two years ago, so I will not belabor the unhappy sections. I will say that this song reminds me of spending time with Big Cheese and Sweet Katie when we were young. It's all a bit of a blur - it was a long time ago, and I spent entirely too much time drinking as much as I could afford, as often as I could afford it. The mere fact of my survival during that era is partly dumb luck, and partly my patient and generous friends.

As for generous friends, were we ever that young? I guess so, because there are pictures. I remember Sweet Katie was the best kind of beautiful (she still is). I remember laughing a lot. Big Cheese was funny (he still is), and he and I had a good time together, celebrating our infrequent successes and laughing about our many, many fuck ups.

It's been decades, but the Counting Crows remind me of the pure truth of Big Cheese and Sweet Katie's tremendous kindness towards me; it is a through-line that spans my entire adult lived experience. The other through-line, closely related to the first, is how much I love them. The only way I would see the Counting Crows at this point is if they were playing a live show at my cousins house and all of us were going together. In December. In 1993.

Also, not for nothing, but: this song fucking rules. Merry Christmas.

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