Arriving in Louisville, Ky., for a gig not too long ago, David Immergluck flipped on the computer.
There he was surprised to see video of his band Counting Crows playing "Cowboys" at a concert the night before.
"It was actually pretty shocking, but it was also really cool," Immergluck said of the YouTube viewing. "I was just glad it was good. I would have had a different reaction if it sucked. When you're on the stage in the heat of the moment, you perceive it differently."
Understandable when you consider that the Counting Crows trademark, almost since the band's 1993 breakthrough, has been a passionate, free-wheeling show during which founder Adam Duritz might extend or rewrite a song midshow. The band that hit it big with "Mr. Jones" also is one of a handful that encourages recording of their concerts and even hosts a trading network on their Web site in which no one is allowed to profit.
The current Traveling Circus and Medicine Show tour -- which features the Crows, California pop-rockers Augustana and other musical guests -- is even more jam band and improv, with all of the musicians mixing things up at any given time.
If you go Counting Crows Traveling Circus and Medicine Show with Augustana and other special guests Where: Pier Six Concert Pavilion, 731 Eastern Ave., Baltimore When: 6:30 p.m. gates, 8 p.m. show Monday Info: $35 to $80; ticketmaster.com
The laid-back attitude has upped the kudos tally from many critics, including Rolling Stone, which wrote: "The Crows bridge the worlds of rock, folk, and soul with an emphasis on living-room intimacy. ..." But don't equate laid-back vibes with snooze for the first hour of the show until the real music starts. Once again, Crows founder Duritz has told ticket holders that if they want to enjoy the show, arrive on time.
"I got tired of concerts where there are some amazing opening bands that nobody shows up to see and some fantastic middle band or co-headliner, and then the third band whose set wound up being too short, so I came up with this idea," Duritz told the Richmond-Times Dispatch. "I didn't want the shows to feel like you were getting less of a show, so I made it all about people playing together."
Not that such high-energy show are always easy. Duritz talked about a past show when he needed a cane to walk. Still, that didn't slow down his typically over-the-top performance.
"I was still jumping off everything [even though I] was injured, and I fell backward ... and hit a wet spot and couldn't catch myself," Duritz said. "I've just come to the understanding that it is OK to be my age and still jump around and sing hard."