Beacon Theater, New York City, NY (USA) - May 2nd, 1999

The cutest tomboy in town

By Mason Hawk

A couple of friends of mine, who accompanied me to the Sheryl Crow concert at NYC's Beacon Theatre on May 2, 1999, insisted on doling out a few pointers on how to cover the show. Mention Sheryl’s roots, her bluesy influences, her progression from backup singer for blah, blah, blah, to her triumph as a modern-day yada, yada, yada. They didn't seem to understand – I was concentrating on her ass.

Now, I don't know why this particular phenomenon took place. The fact that Sheryl was wearing a pair of jeans that were blissfully two or three sizes too small for her medium-sized build may have had something to do with it. Of course, this is not to say there isn't anything redeeming about Crow other than her butt. She is, in fact, what we in the music biz call a musician's musician. She's fluent in multiple instruments. She sings like a siren and writes infectious rock-and-roll material. Add nice looks to that mix and you have a certified star on your hands.

Crow kicked off the Beacon gig a little after nine o'clock, surrounded by a triptych of screens displaying campy old movies. Early numbers included "A Change," "Leaving Las Vegas," and her most recent single, "Anything But Down." One instantly notices there is no tomfoolery on Crow's recordings to enhance her vocals. There is none needed. Her voice is, in fact, an incredible instrument. Smooth but clearly powerful – like a good belt of Chivas Regal.

Crow's voice was not the only thing in good working order on Sunday night. The instrumentation coming from the entire band was par none. No need to blame a bad mix on the soundman or the walls, Crow's band is one of the best around. Sheryl is no fool. She surrounds herself with trim young lads whose chops are beyond reproach. Sandwiched between these charismatic virtuosos, Crow appears the perfect Tomboy, occupying a pleasant space between femininity and masculinity, wowing the crowd with a set of flawlessly delivered tunes.

If there were one complaint I could dredge up, it would be that a lack of fluid motion on Sheryl's part sometimes makes for some slow-moving spaces in her set. Nevertheless, I'd take Crow's brand of sure-footed rock and roll than some Spice Girls muck any day of the week. Madonna can dance her way from here to the Himalayans a thousand times. I don't care, she still can't sing worth a salt. Don't get me started...

About a half-hour into the set, Sheryl traded in her acoustic guitar for a Music Man bass and ripped into "My Favorite Mistake." A song or two later, she strapped on a machine-blue Fender Telecaser to perform "Can't Cry Anymore." The crowd responded favorably enough for Sheryl to ease them into a ballad or two before winding the set back up for the finale. Crow's one of those polite performers. Is this all right? Is that all right? Can I slow down? she asks the crowd. Sure Sheryl, you're the boss. Lay it on us...

During this final phase of the show, Crow performed the obligatory "All I Wanna Do." Interestingly enough, the song still sounded good, though I imagine Crow has played it a million times. As I was taking note of this, a woman in the row in front of me, who just so happened to have the largest ass in the world (I read it in Guinness) decided to stand up and waddle it to the music. I politely craned my neck to the left in order to continue watching the show.

It was at this point that Crow positioned herself at the stage's edge, turned about and wiggled her own ass at the crowd, confirming the fact that she does indeed have a nice backside. Not that this is important, of course. Just thought I'd mention it one last time before wrapping things up.


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