In the history of The Black Crowes live performances, certain nights simply stand out more than others. This is one of those nights. After a couple weeks of performances across the United Kingdom, Germany and Scandinavia, the band was firing on all cylinders. The high energy of "One Mirror Too Many" kicks off the festivities and is followed by one of the most compelling live performances of Amorica's bouncy "She Gave Good Sunflower". Next, the band unleashes a smoldering "High Head Blues" with a furious outro section, followed by a rollicking cover of Champion Jack Dupree's "Nasty Boogie Woogie", powered by Ed Harsch's classic piano playing. After swirling through the funhouse-on-acid sounds of "Evil Eye", the band lurches into a perfect take on the slow burn of "Feathers". A mean "Black Moon Jam" segues into a short jam on the main riff of "Life Vest" (which would fully develop into the finished song that appears on Band) and on into a tight "Black Moon Creeping". One of the highlights of the European 97' tour were the jams that the band were developing and experimenting with night in and night out most intriguingly, the instrumental passage that later came to be known as "Middle Eastern Jam". This piece of music made its debut a few days earlier in Oslo and developed quickly into a recognizable structure, which often preceded "Thorn In My Pride", "Black Moon Creeping" or, on this night, "Bring On. Bring On". The "Middle Eastern Jamsegues seamlessly into "Bring On, Bring On", making for a fascinating 13 minutes of music.
A spirited cover of The Flying Burrito Brothers classic "Hot Burrito #2" kicks off an upbeat trifecta of songs that continues with a stomp through The Southern Harmony & Musical Companion's "Hotel Illness" followed by the soulful Three Snakes And One Charm opener "Under A Mountain". The "How Much For Your Wings?" -> "Space Jam" -> "Hard To Handle" (or, on some nights "Nonfiction") sequence was one of the cornerstones of Europe 97' setlists and on this evening it is executed with effortless near-telepathic ensemble playing. The "Space Jam", like the "Middle Eastern Jam", was a new piece of instrumental music at the time that made its debut on this tour as well. Where "Middle Eastern Jam" explores Arabic chord structures, producing a narcotized sound and feel, the "Space Jam" is an exercise in controlled dissonance, fitting in well as a segue out of the cacophony and drone ending of "How Much For Your Wings". The encore features a powerful cover of Neil Young & Crazy Horse's classic rocker, "Come On Baby, Let's Go Downtown." Simply stated, it doesn't get much better than this. [BAND ARCHIVE]