Even the Counting Crows got a bit political Sunday night in a two-hour concert on Old Campus.
Playing at the end of Yale’s final tercentennial celebration and just hours after the United States began bombing Afghanistan in retaliation for the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the Crows kept the mood light through most of the concert but did comment on national events.
All moshing and raucous cheering stopped when the Crows’ comic lead singer Adam Duritz turned serious. The Crows mixed their hit song “Round Here” with Pete Seeger’s classic “Where Have all the Flowers Gone?” and Bob Dylan’s wistful “Blowing in the Wind.” Their newly made rock anthem lasted nearly 10 minutes, and most audience members stood in silence.
Duritz spoke afterwards about what he called a “world run by the young” and urged audience members to keep thinking for themselves.
But despite Duritz’s political message, most audience members walked away cheerful and laughing at his many jokes.
The Crows are currently touring colleges following the April release of their fourth studio album, “Maximum Counting Crows.” Duritz compared the Old Campus greenery to the quad the Crows played in at the University of Texas at Houston.
“They didn’t have Yale surrounding the trees, but that’s Texas for you,” he said with typical deadpan humor.
In describing “American Girls,” one of the many new songs from their upcoming album — which Duritz said will likely come out next summer — he labeled all girls “weird aliens.”
Headed by Duritz and guitarist David Bryson, the Crows have made their mark on American culture since their first CD, “August and Everything After,” in 1993.
“When my babysitter got the Counting Crows CD, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Now I get to see them live,” Miriam Clinton ’05 said.
More recent Crows standouts like “Hanginaround” — also the Crows’ second-to-last song of Sunday’s concert — have kept the band alive and kicking, though hardly with the glory it had with early songs like “Long December.”
The Yale College Council crowded in front of the stage, pleased with the concert they helped to organize. The funding, which was provided by the University, totalled about $100,000, of which about $60,000 was for the Crows.
The Actual Tigers, the Crows’ opening act, started off the night with songs from their first album, “Gravelled and Green.” While many listeners were confused about the band’s identity — “What’s their name? The Almost Tigers?” many said — the audience for the most part seemed to approve.
“They’re better than the Roots’ opening act,” said Josh Barnard ’05, referring to the Roots concert a few weeks ago on the New Haven Green.
A charming folk pop quintet hailing from Seattle, the Tigers earned a B+ from E! Online for their debut CD. Their catchy, early ’70s sound comes through clearly in tunes such as “Yardwork in November” and gets funkiest with “Bourgeois Blues.”