No strangers to musical time travel, The Black Crowes have made several forays into the past for inspiration in addition to their bread and butter. From their collaboration with Jimmy Page, playing the Zeppelin classics, to their 30th anniversary tour celebrating their debut record, The Crowes sometimes seem like men out of their own time. The latest venture is a six song EP of covers from 50 years ago, entitled 1972. May 4th marks the 50th anniversary of Little Feat’s renowned performance at the iconic Whisky a Go Go. It seems fitting that the group chose this stage and this day, considering the EP contains a cover of Little Feat’s Easy To Slip, to unveil the project with a Live Stream on Twitch by Amazon Music. Being formally announced earlier in the day, the lucky 300 or so in attendance were treated to an up close and personal experience with the southern rock legends for $20.00.
The first half of the set runs through the six numbers from the EP, beginning with The Rolling Stones’ Rocks Off. Guest guitarist and fellow Atlantan, Charlie Starr from Blackberry Smoke displays his feel on the guitar in Rod Stewart’s You Wear It Well as well as the T Rex power blues number The Slider. Brother Rich Robinson takes lead vocals for the Little Feat tune. Drummer Brian Griffin pushes the tempo on the Bowie number Moonage Daydream. Longest tenured member not named Robinson, bassist Sven Pipien cuts out the groove for the temptations popularized Papa Was A Rolling Stone.
At the midway point for this show, singer Chris Robinson announces, “That was it, that was our 1972 record right there. If it’s alright, we’re gonna play some Black Crowes shit for you.” The band gets about 40 seconds into Thorn In My Pride, when Rich stops the song due to his guitar being out of tune. Some jokes are bandied about during the awkward interruption, but seasoned professionals find a way to laugh it off, and they did, and the show would carry on. They would play through five of their slower selections prior to the final number, with Chris being his affable and entertaining self. Perhaps a bit more subdued than usual due to the real estate restriction, he still finds a way to exhibit his physical interpretation of the music.
Clocking in at just about one hour and twenty minutes, the performance ends with the extended slow jam of Wiser Time, which features Starr and the younger Robinson trading guitar solos. Wiser Time gives way to the finale, the more upbeat number from their sophomore release, Remedy. The breakdown for the finisher features keyboardist Joel Robinow, to whom Chris would refer as a “magical woodland creature” on the electric piano, while Chris scats over the top of that. The closing number culminates in a wall of sound explosion. Having had a chance to watch the stream on YouTube, the sound was very good. The experience in the legendary Sunset Strip staple was quite different. For the size of the room, the volume level was entirely too loud. It could have been about 25% less loud and it would have been quite sufficient, other than that, this one-off special performance was quite a treat for those who were there, and if you have a chance to watch it online, you will most likely find it to be a very enjoyable 80 minutes invested in some good old fashioned rock n’ roll.