Written by James Downing
I have always loved a pretty girl with a guitar… And when they could sing I loved them even more. Joan Jett, Susanna Hoffs, Nancy Wilson, Lita Ford and all of the rest of the female rockers always caught my eye. Now, the first time I saw Sheryl Crow on TV with that big red bass, I knew I was hooked before she ever opened her mouth. Over the years she has become my very favorite female singer. I was over-joyed when I heard that she was putting out a new CD this summer and was going on a tour to support it. I went to her web site to check for shows in the area. The very first date was Chattanooga, Tennessee at the Riverbend Music Fest. When I called about tickets the lady told me that the reserved seats were almost sold out. She asked me how many I needed and I told her one. She said she had one ticket on the first row. I grabbed that ticket before you could say “Soak Up The Sun!”
During the weeks before the show, I was very excited for the first of my four Sheryl Crow shows of the summer. When the day arrived, I worked half a day and then came home and got ready for the short trip to Chattanooga. My Google map took me right to the site of the Fest. The street was closed off and there were fair rides and food vendors set up all over. It looked like a state fair midway and was very crowded. I stopped and asked a police officer where the concert was and he pointed me in the right direction. When I got to the area where the concert was, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The stage was over 40 feet high. Now I had never seen anything like this before except for a big stadium show. There was a general admission section in front of the stage and the small reserved area was behind that section with another huge general admission area behind that. The usher showed me to my seat on the second row. I asked him why the second row. He said they had sold more reserved tickets than seats so they added a row in front. Now I would think it was be the smart thing to add that row behind the others but they didn’t ask my opinion! I thought about complaining, but decided not to. After all I was going to see Sheryl Crow shortly.
The ticket said that she was to take the stage at 9:00pm, and right on time the stage lights lit up the stage and you could see the band members walk on stage. The crowd roared as they took their places behind their respective instruments. Then the music started. The opening to “Soak Up The Sun” could be heard and out walked my girl, Sheryl Crow. I love this song and for me it was the perfect song to open with. There was a rail along the front of the stage to keep band members from falling off the high stage to a sudden death. About half way through the song, Sheryl leaned over the rail and looked down at the crowd and said, “This is the weirdest thing I have ever seen, I have never been on anything like this in my life.” This was followed by a song from the 2008 CD, “Detours,” “Love Is Free.” This album was a very personal record for Sheryl and my very favorite album of hers. A lot of fans didn’t like it but I loved it.
It seemed like I had picked the songs for the set list because each song so far was a favorite of mine and the next song was no exception, “Can’t Cry Anymore” from her first album “Tuesday Night Music Club,” “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Strong Enough” was followed by a song I could have done without, “Picture.” This is a song she recorded with Kid Rock and my personal dislike for him gets in the way of me liking the song. It was good to hear it without him for once. Next Sheryl asked the crowd “Do you mind if I do a new song? Well it doesn’t matter if you do or not because I am way up here and you guys are way down there.” Again referring to the height of the stage. The new song was called “Summer Day.” I really like it. Kind of a throw back to the soul sound of the sixties. She followed this with “A Change Will Do You Good” and “My Favorite Mistake.” The next selection was one of her biggest hits. A Cat Stevens song that has been a hit for several other artists over the years, “First Cut Is The Deepest.” It was from her “The Best Of Sheryl Crow” package which stayed on the Billboard Charts for 36 weeks.
I had never heard Sheryl do the next song live and I am glad that she did it because it is another one of my favorites, “Steve McQueen.” This is one of my favorite driving songs. It makes me want to hit the road on a summer day with the windows rolled down. We revisited the “Detours” album when she did the title track followed by “If It Makes You Happy.” Another selection from “Detours” was next, “Out Of Our Heads.” The crowd was dancing along to this one, especially the general admission section.
At this time Sheryl took her place behind an electric keyboard and did another new song, “Our Love Is Fading.” She ended the regular set with “Everyday Is A Winding Road.” She told the crowd good night as she and the band left the stage. The crowd was on their feet at this time and was not about to let her get away without an encore. After a short while, Sheryl and band returned to the stage and did another one of her big hits, “All I Want To Do.” I have see videos of Sheryl doing Led Zeppelin’s “Rock And Roll,” but again I had never see it live before. I was hoping she would do it and she did. I don’t know which cover version of this I like more, Sheryl’s or Heart’s. They are both great in my opinion. After this rockin’ performance, Sheryl said her final goodbyes and the show was over.
Like I said earlier, I felt like I had given Sheryl a set list that I wanted to hear and she did each and every song on it. I could not have asked for a better selection of songs. Her band was tight and right on the money the whole night. I have seen several set lists from other cities on the tour and she has changed the set a few times. I was glad I got to see this show before she changed it. Being a huge fan of 90% of the songs during the night I am going to have give the show the highest rating on the Concert Blast Scale of 1 – 10 and that is a solid 10. I can’t say that I would go back to The Riverbend Fest again unless it was someone I really wanted to see because I felt cheated with the stage being so high and so far away, but Sheryl’s excellent performance made up for it!
Sheryl Crow’s new CD, “100 Miles From Memphis,” comes out July 20. From what I have heard from it and read about it, it is a different sound for her and I am really looking forward to hearing it. If the rest of album is as good as the two songs I heard at this show, Sheryl Crow fans are in for a real treat.
Written by James Downing
Tags: 100 Miles From Memphis, A Change will do you good, blog, Chattanooga, concert blast, concert review, if it makes you happy, James Downing, Riverbend Fest, rock and roll, Sheryl Crow, Sheryl crow greatest hits, soak up the sun, TN