Photos Copyright © Mike Dare 2002
May 25th, 2002 Saturday
Review by Mike Dare
Tampa, FL - Final stretch of the tour. And what better place to be than sunny Florida? As originally planned, the tour was supposed to end in Atlanta the previous night, but due to the requests of some enthusiastic fans in Florida, two more dates were added for the sunny state.
All band members seemed to be in very good spirits before the show, despite the long drive from Atlanta that afternoon. Must have been partly due to the nice Florida weather that evening, unlike what everybody is used to in Portsmouth UK. Jim and Ali had a good laugh when they picked up the local Tampa Entertainment Guide and read the bizarre news blurb for tonight's show - "Cranes…..the band does a great rendition of Heart's 'Barracuda'."
And just for the record - the Cranes have never done a cover of 'Barracuda'. Matter of fact, Jim and Ali claim to have never even heard the song before. Don't ask me how that's possible.
State Theatre is a cool venue. Nice wide stage, high ceiling, good stage lights, and a balcony in the back. Tonight's gig had more of a "concert" feel to it, as opposed to the small intimate club gigs at previous shows. Decent sized crowd in attendance too. Guessing roughly 150-200 people.
Opening band Matthew put on a great performance. They're definitely the kind of band that grows on you more with each listen. Only the second time I've seen them play, but was digging their set a lot more this time around. Crowd seemed to enjoy them too.
More people began to file in after Matthew's set. Soon enough, the floor was filled pretty well and there was a good vibe amongst everybody in attendance. It's been over 10 yrs since Cranes last played in Florida, so the place was abuzz with anticipation. To set the mood in between bands, guest DJ and longtime Cranes fan "Cynthusia" played a broad range of music - everything from Nick Cave to Ladytron, to Boards of Canada.
Before getting into the Cranes performance, credit must first be given to the Cranes crew - Stuart (sound engineer) and Micah (lighting tech). They do a lot of the behind the scenes work to enhance the band's performance, and both did an exceptional job tonight working with the State Theatre's elaborate set up. Throughout the set, I wandered around all over the theatre (stage left, stage right, front, back, balcony) and the sound was rich and clear at every spot. You can tell Micah was having fun with the house lights too. Green laser lights circling the audience during 'Cloudless' complemented the song very nicely, and the crystal ball effect racing thru the backdrop during the build-up of 'To Be' was great.
Check out this 30 sec video clip from tonight's 'To Be' to get a better idea...
As for the Cranes themselves - excellent show once again. After the opener 'Submarine', Ali mentioned to the crowd how happy they were to finally be back in Florida after 10 yrs, which drew a warm reception from everybody. You can tell there were a lot of old school fans in attendance, by the reception for classics such as 'Everywhere', 'Jewel, and 'Shining Road'.
Setlist for tonight was pretty much the same as the Atlanta show the night before, but I was pleasantly surprised to finally see 'Reverie' added to the set. Always a crowd favorite, and even though it hasn't been played much on this tour, it still sounded better than ever. Ben played the bass on it this time around, which allowed Ali to focus solely on her vocals for the song.
Jim as usual was in a jolly mood throughout the set. Smiling a lot and even laughing it off when the occasional technical mishap occurred with his equipment. Not sure what that funny dance he was doing was all about during 'Paris and Rome', though.
Afterwards, there was the usual post-show mingling with fans. Being a holiday weekend, it was nice to hear that a lot of fans were planning on traveling to the next night's show in Orlando. So, just one more stop on the tour and just a short drive east of Tampa. If tonight was any indication of the how well Florida fans support Cranes, tomorrow should be a great night to wrap up the tour.
But for now, I'll leave you with one more video clip from the show. A Quicktime movie of Angel Bell, courtesy of guest DJ Cynthusia herself. Enjoy.
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