Live Review: Sheryl Crow Soaks Up DC

Published on June 20th, 2010

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June 17, 2010 - Ask several Sheryl Crow fans to describe the singer-songwriter’s genre, and you’ll probably end up with more than one response. Is she a wannabe rocker? A pop star? Or maybe a folk singer? Crow’s musical direction has never been clear cut or exclusionary, but that seems to be a trait that fans are drawn to. Now nearing 20 years of success as a solo artist, there’s a little bit of everything in her catalog – and in her live shows. Taking the opportunity to showcase her folk roots alongside that inner-rocker, the sold out show on a mild summer evening proved to be Sheryl’s kind of party.

There must be a sense of completeness that’s felt when the singer who performs your opening set lists one of their major musical influences as…you. Colbie Caillat looks a lot like Sheryl Crow, and even sounds a bit like Crow, but at the same time she’s an artist of her own. Matching the mood of her music, Caillat breezed through her bright, but mellow set of songs with an enthusiasm for telling a story with her lyrics. Being on tour with one of her own idols still doesn’t seem to have set in for the singer. “I got to meet Sheryl Crow, and she is just one of the nicest people I’ve ever met,” Caillat recalled.

Starting off her set at the keyboard certainly wasn’t the most obvious route Sheryl Crow could have gone. But traditional fans fear not, it wasn’t long after that the crowd was treated to the familiar sounds of Crow and her guitar. Much of the set focused around the kind of folk-oriented rock that has shied somewhat away from radio, but has always been a major part of her writing style. The breezy, easy-going folk songs tend to bear much more sincerity in the live show than the mainstream material.

But the white lights flashed and screams erupted for familiar pop specialties like “Soak up the Sun” and “All I Wanna Do“. Crow was on top of her game vocally for the entire set, but shined through especially on these more challenging and upbeat numbers. With fans dancing and singing everywhere in sight, it was easy to see the reasons behind the singer’s appeal and longevity.

There were even some spontaneous surprises and special guests during the set. “Right now I’d really like to welcome out Kid Rock!” she exclaimed. Then came the punchline – “I really, really would.” But Colbie Caillat did join Crow on stage for “Strong Enough“, and as the two harmonized it was easy to note striking similarities in musicianship despite the generational gap.

The show’s closer was far from a predictable hit, instead a classic rock cover in the form of Led Zeppelin‘s “Rock N’ Roll” was chosen. The song seemed to bring the singer out of her more reserved shell into a style that was better suited for a straight-up dose of rock, Zeppelin style. Her voice may not fit the song quite as well as Heart‘s Ann Wilson (who frequently performs it), but Crow’s lighter version still had the crowd more than fired up.

100 Miles from Memphis is the title of Sheryl Crow’s forthcoming album, due in July. “Summer Day“, its first single, is now available for listening at www.SherylCrow.com.

 

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  1. Posted by Todd on June 20th, 2010, 17:16 [Reply]

    Did she sing “Real Gone” from the movie Cars?

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