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Amphitheatre At Clark County, Ridgefield, WA, USA 10 July 2003
This was the opening event for a new amphitheatre about three hours away
from my home in Everett Washington. The amphitheatre is in Ridgefield, about
9 miles north of Portland, Oregon, and was just recently built. On a sidenote
before I get to the review, between this venue and the new White River
Amphitheater in Auburn, Washington (just south of Seattle), the legendary
Gorge in George, WA may be losing a LOT of business...Now, there's no need for
those of us in Western WA and Western Oregon to travel over the mountains, where
it's way too hot, just to see good concerts. Most of what plays at the Gorge
appears to also end up stopping at one of these two new venues.
I have to admit, at first, I wasn't expecting to enjoy this show AT ALL. My
wife wanted to go though, and since it's just outside of Oregon, it gave me
a chance to visit some relatives and get away for a weekend. I had seen the
Counting Crows once before and thought they were just about the worst live
act I'd ever seen, even though their CD's are very good. However, I was
The Counting Crows took the stage at 8:00 PM, and played for about an hour
and 10 minutes. They played most of their hits, with a major focus on material
off their first album, which was nice because that's my favorite of their 5
releases. They played a few songs from the new CD, Hard Candy, which I have
not picked up yet. They played most of the hits including "Mr. Jones", "The
Rain King" (of which they did an almost country-sounding version), "Hangin'
Around", and "A Long December". Also included were some non-radio tracks
from all their albums, as well as a couple very good covers. They played The
Grateful Dead's "Friend of the Devil", one of my favorite Dead tunes.
However,their version, musically, was more like the Lyle Lovett version of the
They followed that with their current hit, their cover of "Big Yellow Taxi",
which is available as a single, as well as on non-US versions of their new
CD. The only disappointment for me was that they did not play "'Round Here",
probably my favorite song by them. One cool thing was the way they kind of
altered the songs. Most of them were done much differently than the were
performed on the CD's. Very cool show.
After that, there was about a 35-minute intermission, after which John Mayer
took the stage. I'm personally not a huge fan, though I think he has some
okay songs. However, I was very impressed with his live performance. He's
definitely an artist with more talent than his current CD would lead you to
According to his website, Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of his
favorites/biggest influences, and it shows in the solos he plays during his
shows. He played just about everything off his current album, "Room for
Squares", as well as a couple songs I didn't recognize. There were a lot
more solos in the live show than there are on the album. My only complaint was
that there was too much volume on the bass player and the drummer, which drowned
John and his other guitarist out a few times. But, over all, not a bad show.
We were pretty close to the stage, which was nice. Usually, if we sit too
far back, people are standing in front of us and Heather has trouble seeing when
that happens, so being up fron was nice.
The Clark County Amphitheatre is a great new venue to see shows. If anyone
in any of these groups lives here in the great Northwest, it's worth the trip
if any of your favorite bands are playing there. The nice thing about this
place, that I think other venues around here could learn to do, is that the ticket
price also includes your parking space...So, no paying $10-$20 for parking
in addition to your ticket price. For anyone in the area who might want to know
who's playing there, go to www.clarkcountyamp.com.
Some upcoming shows include Ted Nugent with ZZ Top, Jackson Brown, Chicago, Kenny Chesney with Deana
Carter and Keith Urban, and many other great shows.
Text © 2003 Wes Cray