The Black Crowes 2021 Tinley Park Review


Photo by: Cody Wagner

Cody Wagner, Staff Writer

The concert was meant as a Father’s Day gift to my dad as I surprised him with both the purchase of the tickets and even invited some of his friends as an addition. Alongside my father and friends I enjoy much of the Crowes’ music but only knew their hit singles. The concert itself was a reintegration of large-scale concerts that I haven’t been accustomed to compared to the previous performances of tribute bands I was exposed to earlier this year because of COVID-19. Despite this issue, It was relieving  to see the concertgoers and musicians together again as the night sought out to remind fans of the connection of music in a time where we have never been more divided. 

The Black Crowes formed in Marietta, Ga. in 1984, but the group didn’t gain fame till the early 90s, creating a sound that combined classic rock with elements of blues that departed from the heavy influence of their grunge contemporaries. The two big influencers, and founders of the band, are the Robinson brothers Chris and Rich. Despite having a love and appreciation for music, the brothers constantly fought throughout their early days, both on and off stage. 

The continuous conflict between the brothers eventually became their overall downfall as the band broke up in 2015 and both musicians followed other creative paths. However, in 2020 the brothers decided to put their petty rivalry aside and announced  they would once again return to the stage. This triumph was unfortunately delayed by the rise of COVID-19, forcing the band to reschedule dates to 2021. Nonetheless, The Black Crowes kicked off their 2021 “Shake Your Money Maker” tour at Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park,  celebrating the 30th anniversary of the album that ignited their career as rock superstars.

At 9 p.m. the lights dimmed down.The crowd went nuts, as guitarist Rich Robinson played the opening riff to “Twice as Hard” instantly reintroducing the audience to the thrilling, exciting and connective experience of concerts.

As they played “Twice as Hard” I sang to my heart’s content with my father and his friends, and we all shared our love and admiration for the Crowes. The lineup consisted of the founding Robinson brothers, as well as their original bassist Sven Pipien, followed by newly incorporated drummer Raj Ojha and keyboardist Joel Robinow. The band performed the entirety of their debut album, “Shake Your Money Maker,” that consisted of timeless singles such as “Twice as Hard,” “Jealous Again,” “She Talks To Angels” and their cover of blues artist Otis Redding’s 1968 classic “Hard to Handle,” a tribute that further supported their influential blues sound. Ojha’s steady hands while on the drums, provided soldity for both the band’s sound and style while never deferring from the audience’s interaction. 

 Robinow’s keyboard brought both diversity and stylishness, as his sound deferred from the heavily admired distortion of rock ‘n’ roll guitar style, while also reminding fans of the upbeat tempo that came with the blues. It made the audience want to dance the night away Then there are the Robinson brothers. I was pleased to witness that their goal of civility with one another was still intact. Watching them work together on stage again carried promise for the band’s future rather than the disruptive decay that they had encountered years past. 

Rich’s integration of distorted riffs and steady chords resemble the band’s rock ‘n’roll style. The opening riff to their singles instilled nostalgia, especially for those who have followed the band since their formation, such as my father. Chris Robinson’s vocals were amazing, despite his age. Even at 54, the frontman maintained his vocal range and level while continuously interacting with the crowd. He also danced and grooved his way through the tracks that required it, allowing for the appropriate mood to be set. The backup singers dressed up as angels injecting  gospel into the band’s blues sound.

The performance reminded me of some of the best reasons why concerts are so great and fulfilling. The fact that you get to share your love for similar artists with like-minded individuals, brings a sense of connection and purpose that is one of the biggest impacts concerts have on our culture. The night provided much more than just the enthusiasm of seeing a popular band perform live. The greatest part personally aside from attending the performance with my dad, I was once again integrated back into the world of live music while also connecting with a highly influential and iconic rock band.

Ultimately, the event was well worth it, two hours of classic crowes singles was met with fairly priced lawn tickets at $30 plus tax. From attending this performance I not only shared yet another invigorating musical experience  with my father  but can also conclude as a music journalist that The Black Crowes’ kickoff to their 2021 “Shake Your Money Maker” reintroduced fans to a newer and much more civilized  Crowes that showed the band still has more to give to its fans and its future. 

Upcoming Dates for the Crowes 2021 tour are provided in the link below