Concert Review: Sheryl Crow at BamaJam Music Festival
As BamaJam’s only female headliner, Sheryl Crow took the stage Saturday night, riding the wave of energy from a performance by Enterprise native Jamey Johnson and the anticipation of southern rock king, Kid Rock. The festival atmosphere was completely professional Saturday, as parking, security, and entry were a breeze, ensuring the crowd ample time to pack the natural amphitheater before Sheryl took the stage.
The Saturday evening crowd was ready for a good time, and Sheryl certainly delivered. Beginning the set with the Grammy winning “Steve McQueen” from 2002′s C’mon, C’mon, she came to Alabama ready to rock. Not one to try too hard, she dressed in a simple black vest and blue jeans, oozing rock & roll. Moving into her breakthrough hit, “All I Want to Do,” her lips parted in a genuine grin, happy to be on stage doing what she loves.
Other Tuesday Night Music Club offerings included “Can’t Cry Anymore” and “Strong Enough.” Both songs were quite stripped down, showcasing Sheryl’s raw sound, something that doesn’t always come through on her studio albums. As with many other artists, so much of what makes her such a joy to listen to live gets lost in the production.
Ms. Crow is certainly making the most of 2012. Her new album, 100 Miles From Memphis, references the distance from the blues capital to her hometown of Kennett, MO. She’s raising her two young sons, gracing the best dressed list at the Tony Awards, and doing damage control for forgetting her lyrics at a recent show; it’s hard to believe this woman has already celebrated her 50th birthday. She successfully fought breast cancer in 2006, but her more recent brain tumor was found to be benign and fortunately not life threatening.
It wasn’t long before the young southern boys started in on what an idiot Lance Armstrong was for not holding onto this one, and “MILF” was a resounding adjective from the crowd of boys behind me. I can’t say I can blame them; she is a beautiful, talented woman and maybe it’s those 50 years under her belt that give her such credibility and such soul.
She played a few of her Top 40 hits including “My Favorite Mistake,” the Cat Stevens cover, “The First Cut is the Deepest”, and “Soak Up the Sun,” rocking out with her band, obviously in sync with the new lineup of musicians. “Real Good,” from the Cars soundtrack, was accompanied by Sheryl on harmonica, leaving the already captivated crowd wondering how she could possibly be any cooler.
“If It Makes You Happy” and “Everyday is a Winding Road” from her sophomore album Sheryl Crow, were two additional highlights, as both songs, nearly old enough to obtain drivers licenses, have stood the test of time. I won’t be surprised to hear these classics covered by young rock’n'rollers 16 years from now.
Speaking of classics, Sheryl Crow ended the show with “You’re No Good,” the Betty Everett song that Linda Ronstadt made famous in 1975. Crow added her own spin on the storied classic to make it sound fresh and new.
Sheryl Crow may not always remember her lyrics, but she hasn’t forgotten how to rock a crowd. She brought the hits, tossed in a few new songs to chew on and left a handful on the shelf for the next show. After 20 years in the spotlight, Crow has finely cultivated her stage presence and tames the guitar like one of the greats of her generation. She knows how to throw gasoline on her audience’s desire and deliver on the promise she’s created over her seven album career. Crow is slowly finding her way into the role of one of rock’s elder statesman and it seems to fit her just fine.