The last time I saw Chris and Rich Robinson play together without a band as Brothers of a Feather was April of 2006. That was the first tour they had done under the moniker and seeing it was unbelievable. The songs came to new life in a new way and they had just recently formed The Black Crowes again and were in great spirits. Fast forward 14 years with another break up and then another rejoining and here we were again, seeing the two of them in a great spirits and without a band on stage at Brighton Music Hall in Boston.
The room was as packed as I’ve ever seen it and when doors opened at 7:30 the line went all the way down the block. Since the show didn’t start until a little after 9 there was a lot of drinking taking place and a lot of conversations about how much some folks paid to get into the room (upwards of $500 I heard from one couple). With a quick wave and a smile the opening riff of “Jealous Again” rang through Rich’s guitar and we were off. Chris’s voice was strong all evening and the crowd sang along with him almost the whole night.
The setlist was mostly hit after hit, but a few deeper cuts kept the crowd on their toes. After just one song Chris’s jacket came off and while it was an acoustic evening he did his front man hippie dance he’s best known for. It’s a testament to how good Rich is that it felt like he put no effort into playing all night. Watching his hands move versus his body language messes with your brain as most guitarists really get into it, but Rich just stands there and plays so beautifully.
While it was an acoustic evening the two of them still rocked the under 500 person room. “Wiser Time” was introduced by Chris as saying we weren’t wise back then but at least we have this song and off they went for a ten minute version that Chris laughed about after saying I bet you weren’t expecting that just like you weren’t expecting to see this again, pointing to himself and Rich. Chris picked up the harp a few time, notably in “Thorn in My Pride” and “Good Friday.”
The middle of the show was all about heart. Chris belted out “Cursed Diamond” after letting us know it was about being in the Hollywood Hills and seeing the twinkles of lights down below, but also seeing the other stuff happening in LA. What followed was a one-two punch that felt like a rally cry for Chris and Rich getting back together. “Josephine” with lyrics about not leaving love behind going directly into “Good Friday” with the first lyrics being “We’ve been avoiding this for so long, Luxury is temporary than it’s gone.” It felt like the trio was specifically put there to make everyone know that the two of them are happy to be together again.
Rich had an army of guitars all night being handed off the whole show song after song. At one point his 12 string was out of order and Chris joked that’s what he get for overachieving and for a moment the crowd didn’t want to laugh as it felt like a snide remark but with a smile from Rich everyone chuckled. “Soul Singing” let the crowd sing along and then the set closed with a great “She Talks to Angels” into “Remedy.” One thing that was nice to see is as the show continued through the night was Chris and Rich were progressively drawn closer to one another on stage. While the tour this year has been seen as a money grab by everyone, if they are as happy as they were on stage last night then everyone should be happy that Chris and Rich are back together. 15 years ago when they got back together the music and shows that came out of The Black Crowes was special. Hopefully this is what happens this time and it isn’t just the one tour this coming summer.
Article: Bryan Lasky