Sheryl Crow: Kravis Center West Palm Beach, FL Feb. 18, 2013
“Will you give me what I paid for them? It’s sold out you know.”
And so began a great night at the Kravis Center. I don’t know why that middle-aged gentleman chose to part ways with his Sheryl Crow tickets just before 8 pm Monday night, but I’m glad that he did. I only wish that more of those in attendance had done the same, but more on that later.
At 9:02 pm Sheryl Crow and her band took the stage and launched into the rocker, Steve McQueen, from her C’mon C’mon record. Her long-awaited return to South Florida was a stop on her mini tour of the state, she said before “going back to Nashville where it’s going to be like 30 or 40. Boo-hiss.”
The 15 song set list was comprised mostly of her greatest hits from a 20-year long career. Mixed in were the new tunes Shotgun and Easy, a song “about the beloved stay-cation” she played during her recent one-night stand as Matt Damon’s bandleader on Jimmy Kimmel Sucks. The multi-talented Crow played acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and even some harp (during Real Gone from the animated film Cars soundtrack) that evening. The band she’d assembled was all new, save for longtime guitar player Peter Stroud, the lone holdover from her original touring band. Former Black Crowes ax man Audley Freed is part of the new administration that moved adeptly through the numbers. The set was a mix of up-tempo rockers, some country-infused numbers, and tender gems like Home, which started softly with Crow’s lovely vocals over guitar strumming, crescendoing into a back and forth guitar workshop by Freed and Stroud, before ending softly.
She is not so much the girl who won us over by declaring on her early hit All I Wanna Do is Have Some Fun “I like a good beer buzz early in the morning.” Her dog Scout isn’t her main focus anymore. She is now a 50-year-old veteran of the music industry who has met and played with her heroes, tackled nearly every genre of music, while managing to avoid mug shots, rehab, and sex tapes. She has survived breast cancer and become a Mom to two kids. Dressed simply, yet chicly in blue jeans, a black top, and boots, Crow –genuine as ever – interacted with her audience throughout the evening, shouting up to the folks in the balcony, which she hilariously referred to as “the Shakespeare seats.”
Opening act Holly Williams, daughter of Hank Williams Jr. and granddaughter of Hank Williams, joined by her husband on guitar and a bass player, played a lovely acoustic set of country songs from her record The Highway. She was gracious and showed that she comes from good stock during her brief set. She joined Sheryl Crow later in the show, dueting on Crow’s cover of Cat Stevens’ The First Cut Is the Deepest.
The show closed strongly with Soak up the Sun and the encore of Billie Holiday’s Nobody’s Business (segueing into Bad Company’s I Can’t Get Enough of Your Love) and her early hit Every Day is a Winding Road.
- Prior to playing Give It to Me, Crow said “I wrote a love song, don’t know who it’s for yet. Might be right here in West Palm Beach in the audience tonight, so pay attention.”
- She enjoyed the nice weather by bike riding with her kids during the day, lamenting how “it is always an issue” to get a 5 year old to wear sunscreen.
- “There’s Mommy!” Since most of her performances are at night after her kids are in bed, she said that they don’t have a full appreciation of their Grammy award winning Mom. She said that her work on the animated film Cars “is the only way they know their Mom is legit,” exclaiming “there’s Mommy!” when they watch the movie. But she also noted that they say “There’s Mommy” when they see Lady Gaga on TV.
- Cover Song: After her breast cancer treatment, being new to Nashville she had few friends nearby. Holly Williams, one of her local friends, called her up and said that 70s superstar Cat Stevens (Morning has Broken, Wild World) was at her place. Holly invited Sheryl over, leading to Sheryl’s cover of Stevens’ The First Cut is the Deepest.
- The economics of the music business: Sheryl encouraged the audience to buy Holly Williams’ record, saying “No pressure,” then followed it up with an immediate “You know what, Pressure!” Sheryl recounted that when she had met country legend Emmylou Harris, she offered her CD to Emmylou. Emmylou said that she’d buy the record. “It’s my way of voting.”
I first saw Sheryl Crow perform live in 1997 at the Sunrise Musical Theatre just as the band had gotten big enough to open for the Stones. I remember Jim, her drummer at the time, bringing out a pan of chicken wings to the few of us gathered at the bus after the show. I like wings, but a Sheryl Crow show is right up there, so when there’s Crow, you go. The audience Monday was one of the most subdued I’d encountered at a sold out Sheryl Crow show (usually a party atmosphere). They didn’t give her much energy back, beyond polite golf clapping until the last quarter of the show. It was a combination of a strict venue (no beverages/no cameras/no standing), more accustomed to hosting theater productions like Phantom of the Opera, and a stiff group of older well-dressed season ticket subscribers better suited for a Sarah Brightman or Tony Bennett show. A third of the crowd were enthusiastic fans, while others spent the evening shielding their eyes from the flashing colored lighting, before eventually leaving. If only they’d sold their tickets to fans who’d appreciate a great show in a cozy acoustically superior venue. All that said it was a terrific night and there are now some people like me circa 1997 who will make it a point to see her again the next time the circus comes to town.
Thanks to the gentleman who sold me my tickets, I got to see a very special event by one of my favorite performers. Clad in my Clapton tee shirt, I was lucky enough to make it to the stage with some other die-hard fans. I even got to lay a Best-in-Crow high five on Sheryl. Who had a better Presidents Day than I did? – Armen