After spending a day with her two young sons at Disneyland, Sheryl Crow delivered a solid, if unremarkable concert at Pacific Amphitheatre on July 25.
Don’t assume that’s a backhanded compliment, because while I’ve seen a long list of better shows, the fact a svelte 50-year-old breast cancer survivor and single mother of two with meningioma – whether she’s rich or not – delivered as musically sharp and entertaining a performance as she did should make many of us feel like the lazy asses we are.
Crow crafted a 15-song set that seemed well catered to the county fair audience and routine time restrictions at the venue. It was a breezy tour of her greatest hits with a new song from her currently unfinished album and her contribution to the Pixar movie, Cars, thrown in. All of it washed over just fine with the mostly female 30-somethings to 50-somethings who sang along virtually the entire show and left with big smiles.
Leaning almost entirely on her first three albums, it seemed at several points Crow really wanted to stretch out musically. A few extra bars here. A deep album cut there. She must have wanted to promote her last few albums too. It’s unlikely the multi-instrumentalist and gifted singer gets to do that very often, but to her credit, Crow shows none of the contempt for her audience that Pat Benatar has demonstrated for decades.
Opening with “Steve McQueen,” before jumping right into “All I Wanna Do” gave the show momentum. But “Members Only,” in the first half of the set and “Home” in the second, were nice surprises and as close to the aforementioned stretch the evening got.
One of Crow’s biggest hits, the Cat Stevens’ cover “The First Cut is the Deepest,” got the first big sing-along of the night, followed late in the set by the girl-power anthem “If It Makes You Happy.” But the evening’s highlight was “Strong Enough,” the poignant ballad from her debut album Tuesday Night Music Club. Crow has publicly weathered her share of romance and as the women in the audience kept with her on every syllable, the moment of sisterhood was made complete.
Yes, you’ll see more exciting performances, but not many that go down this easily. And sometimes, you just have to relax and let well-made pop music wash over you on a pleasant summer evening, pretty much like Crow directed in her closer “Everyday Is a Winding Road.” Basically the lesson here: “Jump in let’s go/lay back enjoy the show.”