Chris Robinson has been on a path to notoriety since he joined up with his younger brother Rich and started performing as Mr. Crowe’s Garden in the 1980s. He is the quintessential rock star and he continues to produce an unfathomable amount of music in the studio and on the stage. The Black Crowes were signed to Rick Rubin’s Def American Label in 1989 where they would launch an internationally lauded career. Their debut album Shake Your Money Maker would be the label’s first major success and propel The Black Crowes to worldwide stardom. After various forays into other projects including New Earth Mud and performing with Phil Lesh; Robinson is back at it with The Brotherhood. The band consists of Neal Casal on lead guitar, Jeff Hill on bass, Adam MacDougall on keys, and Tony Leone behind the kit. They stopped in Colorado as part of an extensive tour that began in Chicago and ends at Terrapin Crossroads.
The show at Washington’s was billed as “An Evening With Chris Robinson’s Brotherhood,” meaning there would be no opener. Frankly I appreciate the desire to get down to business on a Tuesday night. The band arrived onstage at 7:20 PM for the first of two sets. Chris and company opened with the space coun-try tune “Roan County Banjo.”
Chris Robinson Brotherhood has a nostalgic approach to jamming accentuated by the massive musical talents of all involved. At times the music sounded like a Grateful Dead segue that never went into an ac-tual song. I mean that in the best way possible, and given both Chris and Neal’s credits that makes sense. “Badlands Here We Come” sucked in the audience and by the end everyone was swaying together in unison. All in attendance looked incredibly happy to be at this show. CRB plays with feeling and passion. That energy is palpable to all from the jaded vet to the first timer alike, and that is why this band continues to bring smiles wherever they perform. “Tornado” was a sprawling, meander-ing jam that featured the impeccable guitar work of Neal Casal. I’d go just anywhere to see that man shred. “The Chauffeur’s Daughter” included a massive McDougall solo behind the keys. The band went into a funky version of Bob Dylan’s “She Belongs To Me” before ending the first set with “Let It Fall.”
The break lasted about thirty minutes before the attentive crowd was treated to set two. Chris Robinson Brotherhood opened with a rocking “Coming Round The Mountain.” The band was in synch throughout the entire night. We were treated to a pair a fan favorites in the form of “Venus In Chrome” into “Rare Birds.” The band went deep and dark during “Narcissus Soaking Wet,” which again featured the delicate finger work of Casal on the guitar. The Brotherhood went into Chris’s scorched earth love song “If You Had A Heart To Break.” They wrapped up the set with the hard hitting “Rosalee.”
The band encored with the fairly rare Freddie Fender classic “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” for the first time in 2019. The fans were all smiles as they filtered out of the room. Chris Robinson Brotherhood is a tight unit ready rock even on a Tuesday night in the dark of a Rocky Mountain winter.