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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Jones has left the building: New Crows live "bootleg" is one for the real fans,
Counting Crows has joined the trend of releasing your own bootlegs, made common by Dave Matthews and Pearl Jam, with this 15 track collection culled from the 2003 Crows European tour in support of the Hard Candy album. This is essentially a record for the true fans of the band, the ones who prefer Perfect Blue Buildings to Mr. Jones, the ones who appreciate the subtlety of Holiday in Spain, the ones who know the words to Richard Manuel is Dead. This is not a commercial album by any means, but can be a decent addition to your collection.
Sound quality is quite good for a live recording, the band is tight, and Duritz sounds less strained than he does when I have seen him live. The track selection delves heavily into Hard Candy tracks, which is logical considering this was the Hard Candy promo tour they were on at the time. A few classic tracks are thrown in like Omaha and Goodnight Elizabeth and Perfect Blue Buildings. Each song is performed quite well, Miami sounds especially good as does Richard Manuel Is Dead. Though there are some tracks I would have liked to hear, especially A Long December, I can't be too disappointed considering this was a fairly stealthy release with no massive publicity blitz. This was one released for the fans, not the hook hungry, rabid masses looking for the next commercial sensation. Overall this is a pleasing, relaxing album that makes for nice background music. I consider it a bonus until an album of new material comes out. Recommended for the serious Crows fan...
St Louis, MO
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If Ever Evidence Were Needed For The Feelings Of Adam Duritz...Here It Is.,
Initially I found this performance an odd choice for a Counting Crows live album. As much as the title 'New Amsterdam' taken from the establishment where lead singer Adam Duritz and Mr. Jones watched girls dance and drink alcoholic beverages, taken from Counting Crows most known song 'Mr. Jones', using a particular place and adding the album title to it, to go along with the fact that the live setting is Amsterdam, I find a bit silly. It's almost like they were trying to bring out an official bootleg to follow along the lines of the many thousand unofficial ones that are available.
It even sounds kind of like a bootleg. There's no fade on either ends of the CD, and the change between the final track 'Holiday In Spain' and the bonus track from a different live setting is very rough and there's no attempt to trick the listener into thinking that there's a difference in venue. Where it certainly isn't bootleg is in sound quality. It sounds great, nothing gets lost really and Duritz's voice is clear and strong for all to hear.
Upon listening to the first track the famous 'Rain King', it dawns on you why they might just have chosen this venue for such a prestigious package as an official live CD...'Rain King' which is one of the more upbeat songs in the Counting Crows catalogue, at least in pace, has been slowed down to the tempo of a 'Goodnight Elisabeth'. Don't get me wrong, this is a good thing. In a way. It sounds superb, but what you get from this is that Duritz is clearly not feeling the song for what it was, much like you got the same feeling on 'Mr. Jones' from their Across The Wire first disc where Duritz changed the lyrics about wanting to be a big star to being f*cked up because his wishes came true.
You also wonder if it is really the first track as it's such a touching moment which in most live performances would be left while the middle or end. Believe it or not, this works extremely well and probably as good as an 'Angel Of The Silences' would have.
Throughout the duration of the CD, Duritz's heart is very much on his sleeve. This is good as this is when Counting Crows sound at their best and the wonderful lyrics can truly take on the feelings that they initially were meant for. Even on such a bouncy song as 'Richard Manuel Is Dead', Duritz puts more sensitivity into the vocals than on record and it seems to make a big difference to the song. This is just one reason why the Crows are an essential live band...
The band back him up, and pretty much play as they normally would on the records, and they're almost there so if Duritz falls over from sheer pain they'll be there to grab him, that's how emotionally draining this record feels. So when he actually sings on songs that have always been about the sensitivity of the matter, Durtiz is simply heartbreaking. The likes of 'Goodnight LA' and the wonderful wrenching rendition of 'Perfect Blue Buildings' a nearly forgotten classic, make for intense listening.
You can wonder if Duritz was having an off-night with the old emotions or if he's always like this. Listening to their first live album from pretty much 10 years ago, he didn't sound this discontent, nowhere near in fact. This makes for Counting Crows most awkward and heart-wrenching album since 'Recovering The Satellites'.
What this record ultimately shows is that Duritz as of three years ago seemed like a pretty unhappy guy and boy can you tell. Gladly he puts everything into his performance which adds and makes for some wonderfully effecting moments. The new song 'Hazy' is also a wonderful moment, albeit a short one. Beautiful.
When Duritz does finally let go and gives it his all on the likes of their unusual rendition of 'Hanginaround' he sounds like he's been reborn, and it's here that he sounds the most happy. After that it'd probably be the title track of their last album 'Hard Candy', their best album to date. A touching albeit traditional rendition of 'Holiday In Spain' concludes things for the gig in style.
In recent times Adam Duritz hasn't felt in the least bit happy about entering a studio. Despite this he claims he has some songs, and it would suggest by his feelings about his own music right now that they might be more of what you hear on 'New Amsterdam'. I questioned whether this would be a worthwhile purchase for Counting Crows fans, and the honest answer is now a firm yes. It's their best live album, with their widest range of songs to date. Some of their career highlights might be missing, but on pure emotion the other songs carry this through in pure style.
Whenever the boys decide to re-enter the studio again in the future, if at all, I wish them the best and despite the wonderful music that the emotions that Duritz wears so powerfully on his sleeves helps to create, I hope he finds a better frame of mind and some happiness in his life.
For now, this is an essential purchase for Counting Crows purists.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great live album,
For Counting Crows fans this will be a must. I find it more similar in style to the 'acoustic' (disk 1) disk of the Across a Wire live album, ie more mellow than disk 2. A good selection of songs, with some of the less well known tracks that true fans may well prefer (Perfect blue buildings is a personal favourite of mine), although Anna Begins is absent (having said that, i'm not so keen on the 'heavy' version of that song, which they tend to play live). Worth every penny.
Only slight downside is the intro to a couple of songs sounding a bit 'weak' (you'll see what i mean), but they all get going after the first few bars. Still 5 stars for a fan.
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd take this one to my desert island,
Counting Crows are my favourite band and have been for many years. Its an over-used term but if such a thing as genius exists then Adam Duritz is a genius. This live album is so good, with Adam's vocals dominating. As other reviewers have noted, he pours out his emotions on this album in a way he doesn't on others and I love it. Perfect Blue Buildings is amazing and worth the price on its own. There have been other releases since this, but I still find myself reaching for New Amsterdam. Just brilliant.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Album,
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If you're a fan of the Counting Crows then this is a must, good to hear them in a live environment. It's probably stayed on my Ipod ever since I bought it.
5.0 out of 5 stars my favourite CC album so far,
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This may be my favourite live album ever - certainly my favoutite CC album, including as it does most of their, IMHO. best songs.
Stand outs for me are tracks 6, 10, 11, 12.
As in the studio albums, I always feel that(in contrast to REM , who could benefit from more treble), those vocal high notes and fast high guitar twangs, delicious though they are, would benefit from the contrast of more bass passages.
The sound reproduction is excellent, except, dissapointingly the "bonus " track, recorded at another venue, of "Mr Jones ". This recording sounds flat, monophonic, and the band do not do their best on it either, lacking the tempo changes and expressiveness that make other versions of it so good.
I regret that I was ignorant of the talents of this fine band when this tour took place in 2003. My loss.
5.0 out of 5 stars New Amsterdam,
There is something earthy and basic about this live recording. Right from the first few bars of Rain King it is true Counting Crows style and makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Full to the brim with old favourites (Mr Jones) and now new favourites (St Robinson In His Cadillac Dream)it is the perfect companion and a must for CC fans.
1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never dissapoint,
Counting crows can never dissapoint! All their cds have been fantastic and with this new addition all I can say is wow! I've always been a huge fan of their music and I'm so happy that at last they have released a live cd! Fans of Counting Crows this CD is Brilliant!!!
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New Amsterdam: Live At Heineken Music Hall February 6, 2003 [UK Version] by Counting Crows
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