Remember "One Headlight," the Wallflowers hit that propelled Jakob Dylan to temporary amphitheater fame? For those 20,000-seat gigs in '97, Dylan and company were joined by co-headliners the Counting Crows, the San Francisco band that hit it big in 1994 by combining Adam Duritz's plaintive vocals and heartfelt poetry with his backing band's mix of string-band instruments and standard-rock structures.
The Wallflowers have since been relegated to medium-sized theaters, while no one seems to care what the Crows' 2001 amphitheater mates, Live, are up to. As apt as the metaphors in most of Duritz's songs, the Crows have survived and retained popularity amid shifting popular trends as disparate as Britney's Lolita temptations or Nickelback's faux-grunge revival. They owe part of that to their down-home appeal, which makes college kids and adults alike feel rocked in a back-porch sort of way. More essential, though, is Duritz's teary clamor: Nearly every mall-emo band proselytized by Hot Topic stole Duritz' shtick -- and would do well to look back (see opener Augustana). After all, his co-headliners the Goo Goo Dolls owe their longevity to a movie (City of Angels).