Black Crowes go out with a bang at Palace

The Black Crowes may have been saying goodbye, at least for the time being, at the Palace Theatre Fr

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For Gazette music writer Brian McElhiney’s preview of this show, click here.

The Black Crowes may have been saying goodbye, at least for the time being, at the Palace Theatre Friday night, but by no means was this something to be sad about.

After their current tour, a half-acoustic-half-electric extravaganza known as “Good Night to the Bad Guys,” is through, the band will go on another self-imposed hiatus, after six years of non-stop playing and three successful comeback albums. The most recent of those, “Croweology,” helped to inspire this tour — the album is a 20-song acoustic retrospective of the band’s career, recorded in time for the 20th anniversary of their debut. The first 90-minute set of the evening featured the acoustic material, the second set full-blown electric songs.

But acoustic in the world of the Black Crowes definitely does not mean quiet, as the packed crowd at the Palace quickly found out. From infectious opener “Soul Singing,” it was clear that frontman Chris Robinson and company would be kicking out high-octane jams all night — instrumentation be damned. Song after song was filled with Robinson’s soulful wailing and dueling lead guitar fury from his brother Rich and Luther Dickinson.

Highlights early on included the slow burner “Good Friday” followed by the sunny “Garden Gate.” The group left room for covers, including a rough-and-tumble run-through of Joan Baez’s “East Virginia.” “What is Home” gave Rich a chance to shine on vocals, his smoother voice a pointed contrast to Chris’ wailing tones.

The band cheated a little on the supposedly acoustic first act, with Rich and Dickinson both ripping out the electric axes for an extended jam on “Wiser Time.” This ended up being the finest moment of perhaps the entire concert, as the song slowly built to an ominous and devastatingly brutal finish.

It was only a small taste of what was to come in the second set. After a brief intermission, the group came roaring back with a full-throttle “Jealous Again.” The simmering groove of “By Your Side” followed in quick succession, proving the band’s abilities with slow, tense rockers to be just as sharp as their long-winded jams.

Not that there weren’t plenty of those to go around in the electric set — “Another Roadside Tragedy” gave bassist Sven Pipien a chance to wail on a wah-drenched solo line, while “Could I’ve Been So Blind,” a classic from 1990’s “Shake Your Money Maker,” featured some of Chris’ finest harmonica playing. “Oh Josephine,” a dirty dirge of a rocker, creeped along with a satisfying intensity.

The one-two punch of “Twice as Hard” and the searing “Hard to Handle” provided the highlights of the evening, however. These are still the band’s best-known songs (and for good reason), and the group sunk its collective teeth in as if it were the last time they would be playing them. And in Albany, it was the last time — for a while, anyway, but hopefully not too long.

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