One Song Wonders The Black Crowes Louisville Gardens

Rob Frayser

The house lights came down. The stage lights went up. The Black Crowes strolled out. They played one song. Chris Robinson cursed about "*@$#ing undercover cops." The house lights came up. The concert was over.

As most of you have probably heard by now, the Black Crowes concert on March 7 ended more than a little prematurely. Naturally this was a big disappointment, as I feel they are one of the more talented young rock and roll bands today. However, given the reputation that the Crowes and lead singer Chris Robinson in particular, have developed (rightly or wrongly), it is not very surprising. The incident which sparked Robinson's Morrisonesque tirade and the eventual cancellation of the show nearly 45 minutes later was a confrontation between undercover police officers and members of the Crowes' road crew. Apparently it was a "throw punches first, ask questions later" situation. The results: the police won, the T-shirt vendor lost and when the band found out, the fans lost.

The police were not the only ones to have problems with the Crowes' security staff that evening. The photographer who attended the show with me was unable to enter the arena with his camera, despite his official "Black Crowes Photo Pass" he had received only 30 feet away. A security man at the turnstiles informed us that we had to go outside and come in through the back stage entrance. Of course we were not allowed in that entrance even without the camera. We were told that we had to go to the front again. At that point we decided it would be best to ditch the camera, as it was not worth the trouble, especially considering the highly restrictive conditions on the outdated photo pass agreement.

Having been told that the Crowes did not put on a very good show when they opened for ZZ Top a couple of years ago, I was eager to judge for myself. Unfortunately one song with unintelligible lyrics is not enough to form much of an opinion. If the opener had been "Remedy" or "Hard to Handle," I might have been better able to gauge their stage performance. As it is, the Black Crowes have made some great music on their first two albums, Shake Your Moneymaker and The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. They are doing their part to revive both the rock sound and fashion (or lack thereof) of the '70s. They successfully conquered the sophomore jinx that has brought down other Southern rockers, such as the Georgia Satellites. It is hoped they will not self-destruct, but continue to record good Southern rock. Maybe they will even put on a complete show in the area in the future. Maybe not.

The Southern rock band Jayhawks opened the show. They seemed to have the potential of a band whose material has not yet been raised to their talent level. If it does, then they can one day look forward to being the headliner.