Sheryl Crow has spent the last 35 years as one of the biggest and most successful names in music. She has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and been nominated for 32 Grammy awards and now she played for he fans at The Hollywood Bowl!
At 60, with a dream career, you might think there was not much left to accomplish for the singer-songwriter but rather than showing any signs of slowing down, in some ways she seems to be in her peak. She’s accomplishing new goals all the time, having released her first documentary, “Sheryl,” on Showtime earlier this year, as she begins writing for her next studio album.
Wednesday night was the final show of her current tour and she chose none other than the world famous Hollywood Bowl for one last hurrah before heading home. Opening the show was multi-Grammy award-winning blues artist, Keb Mo.
The crowd love his opening song, “Government Cheese.” It was a staple in his setlist that talks about being out of work, but still making the most out of the government-subsidized food with a smile on his face. He followed with “Perpetual Blues Machine” and “’62 Chevy.”
My personal favorite song was “Good to Be,” not only a wonderful song and an excellent performance by the whole band. He told the sold-out crowd about growing up in Compton and dedicated it to his classmates of Compton High School class of 1969. His guitarist Johnny Duke had an electrifying solo to close out “I Remember You” that I swear I saw smoke rising from his guitar.
Keb Mo switched to acoustic guitar and Duke strapped on a mandolin for a cover of the Bill Withers classic “Lean On Me” – it was a soulful rendition that did justice to the original. Keyboardist Kevin Stokes had a vocal solo to close out the song, which gained an applause break from the crowd. Keb Mo closed out his set with “Standin’ at the Station,” leading into an impressive slide guitar solo at its conclusion.
Usually for larger shows and big-time acts, the headliner will make you wait a significant amount of time before they grace the stage. As if somehow your celebrity status is determined by how long you make a crowd impatiently wait to see you. But Sheryl Crow has never been one hung up on fame or inconveniencing fans. I was pleasantly surprised when just 15 minutes after Keb Mo’s set, the lights went down and the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” started playing as Crow and her band took the stage.
August 3, 2022
I saw Crow play BeachLife Festival in May and was blown away by her incredible set. She played a similar, albeit longer, setlist at the Bowl, which was perfectly fine by me as she played every single song that I wanted to hear, I could tell the crowd appreciated her selection as well.
The fact that she can open with a hit like “If It Makes You Happy,” a song whose success alone would be enough to launch most artist’s careers, shows you just how vast her catalogue is. She followed up with another song off her self-titled second album, “A Change Could Do You Good.” Lead guitarist, Audley Freed adds a country-western flair to the music, for instance the slide guitar solo he brings to “A Change…” followed up with the slide outro he adds on. There’s also an organ highlighted in the song by the multi-talented Jen Gunderman. Its elements like these that bring the songs to life when played live. Throughout the night, Gunderman, who in her off-time is a music teacher in Nashville, provided beautiful piano and keys, with backing vocals that complimented Crow’s.
Crow told the crowd she was going to take it back to where it all began – her first single off of “Tuesday Night Music Club” – and launched into “Leaving Las Vegas.” Capitalizing on this moment in time, she then switched to acoustic guitar and played the gorgeous “Strong Enough.”
After a huge round of applause, Crow announced, “I never did get married. I never got divorced either.” She then strapped on a bass and said, “And with that here’s ‘My Favorite Mistake.’”
With the number of hits she has, you might ask yourself, “Does she still have the pipes?” Believe me when I tell you she is hitting notes like she does on “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Strong Enough” that she didn’t on the record. It seems to be one of those rare instances where recording simply cannot pin down how good she is when she performs and nothing really can compare to her live performances.
Crow got serious for a minute while explaining her next song. She said on this tour they were playing some older songs that had been forgotten, like this one – a song she wrote on the night “Tuesday Night Music Club” went platinum. She recorded it on cassette and her car was robbed. They took her backpack with all her cassettes and this was the only song she remembered and was able to re-record. At the time she was recording an album in Pasadena and there was a beautiful trans woman, which they didn’t really have a term for back then as the LGBTQ+ community was not as well established at the time. Crow used to frequent a coffee shop that this woman would also go to, but the manager eventually received complaints from patrons that she made them feel weird and the manager asked her not to return. The woman left a note that read simply, “If I’m not here, you’re not here” and signed it “Ms. Creation.” Crow said on that same day so many years ago a woman went in to get an abortion in Texas and her doctor was murdered. Crow stated what a lot of people have been preaching lately, that in some areas society is making progress, while in some others we seem to be stepping backwards. “We need to vote for people who are empathetic and compassionate.” She then began playing “Hard to Make a Stand.”
Crow played a pair of new songs. The first, “Forever,” is from the documentary that was just released about her life in May. She followed this up with a contemporary cover that she had just released the day prior on all music platforms. Her reworking of the popular Post Malone song “Circles” essentially transforms it into her own wonderful creation. Keeping up with the covers, she played her rendition of Cat Stevens’ “First Cut is the Deepest,” which she originally included on her “The Very Best of Sheryl Crow” compilation. She then played the Rolling Stones’ “Live With Me,” which she said was the first song she ever got to play with the iconic English rock band.
Crow closed with her monster hit “All I Wanna Do,” followed by “Soak Up the Sun” and “Every Day is a Winding Road.” She walked off stage with the band, only for a few minutes as they came back to a roaring standing ovation of 17,000 people clapping and cheering in unison. She graced the crowd with “Steve McQueen” and “I Shall Believe,” fittingly the closing track off of “Tuesday Night Music Club.”
Crow spent about 20 years living in Los Angeles, beginning shortly before “Tuesday Night Music Club” was recorded. In 2012, the singer moved with her two sons to Nashville, where she resides today. Although she no longer lives here, this was somewhat of a homecoming for her and a huge cheer went up as she said, “This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no country club either. This is LA” to start the intro of “All I Wanna Do.” The City of Los Angeles was more than ready to welcome her back home.
SID 220815 | TRACI TURNER, EDITOR
Header Photo Provided Courtesy of L.A. Philharmonic