March 26, 1997
The Urban Art Bar, Houston TX

Review by Jo Beth and James Harlan. Check out the setlist.

Houston, TX - The Urban Art Bar is a tiny little club right in the middle of downtown Houston. It's a pretty good place for a concert, it's very small and intimate. The sound system there leaves something to be desired though. I don't know if it was the club's fault or what, but the sound system for the concert was awful! The opening band, Rasputina, didn't seem to have any problems. They were quite talented, and had a very unusual set. It was hard to hear them though, because the crowd wouldn't quit talking. The lead singer would say a few things before each song, a lot of which didn't make a whole lot of sense but tied in with the song they performed. A few things she said really pissed the crowd off, and after that no one seemed to pay attention to them except to yell at them. I thought they had a great set and sounded great, but I wouldn't recommend seeing them in Houston.

The local radio dj came out to introduce the Cranes. A couple of people yelled at him asking why they didn't play them on the radio. He got off the stage pretty quickly. The Cranes came out and launched into Tangled Up, and that's when the sound went to pieces. You could barely hear Alison over the music. We were standing in the back by the sound board, but the club was small enough that we should have easily been able to hear her. They got that adjusted, after a few painful microphone squeals, and then started messing with the echo. It would have been a lot better if they had left it alone, but halfway through the song he got it working, and all of a sudden there was the echo on Alison's voice! It would have been a lot less obvious that they were having problems if they had left it alone. Alison was obviously displeased, she kept shaking her head and making faces at the sound guy and pointing at things. It was really kind of funny, all through the concert the sound guy would run up as far as he could into the crowd, stand there and listen, then come running back to the board cussing to himself, stand there and fiddle with it, cuss it out, then run back up into the crowd. They got it working well probably about halfway through the concert.

Despite all the problems, The Cranes still sounded great. Reverie and Jewel were incredible, the music just pounded through you. One of my personal favorites was Brazil. By the time they played it the sound was more under control and it was spellbinding. They had a nice mix of old and new, and there were several great guitar solos and drum sounds. The band played really well together. They came out for one encore, and played Everywhere, Adoration and Lilies. The encore was great, it left you breathless and waiting for more. If you haven't seen them yet, I would really recommend going. Any band that can still play a great concert with that many sound problems is definitely worth seeing.

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