Moran Theater - Jacksonville, Florida (USA) - October 8th, 2004

Review by Brett (Spike1818)

My mother and I set trek on Friday around noon up to Jacksonville. I had three classes on Friday and paid no attention to my professors, only to my handy dandy watch. When it struck noon, I flew out of there like a bat out of hell.

It had been a year and two months since I last saw Sheryl in concert and I surely was not going to be late. We swung back home before getting on the interstate to pick up our suitcase and cooler, we didn't stop for anything except gas the whole way. When we went to start the car again, it didn't crank right away and I was panicking at this point. My mother tried again and viola we were cruising, phew!

Luckily my favorite cousin Stacy lives in Jacksonville and we were able to shack up at her place instead of forking out money for a hotel room. After stopping in and quickly changing, I had to get political for the concert so I changed into my BUSH LIED PEOPLE DIED REGIME CHANGE '04 shirt and gathered tickets, sharpies, album sleeves, cameras, and was set.

As unfamiliar with downtown as we were, stopping at a little cafe for dinner was extremely confusing and getting to the venue from there was also confusing but we finally managed. My mother was almost TOO excited that the parking garage adjacent to the venue only charged €1.55 ($2) to park compared to the €7.77 ($10) and €16 ($20) we've paid to park while seeing Sarah in Atlanta and Nashville. "Two dollars, Brett. Two dollars! I cannot believe it. Two dollars!"

We walked over to the venue and walked around to see if we could spot where the buses or trucks were parked. We couldn’t find anything (we were walking the wrong way around the building), so we decided to head in and find our seats. After frantically passing tickets up on Ticketmaster when they were on sale last month, I finally scored second row seats in the left center section of the orchestra. When we arrived at our seats, I was very pleased. The seats directly in front of us were on eBay the day of the show so I knew no one would be blocking my view unintentionally. As I sat waiting for the show to begin, the orchestra pit seemed to quickly fill with the older crowd. Did the senior home let the residents out for a trip to see Bonnie? Or were they that hip they were there for Sheryl? This couldn’t be! At least I knew their excitement level would be slightly mild and they wouldn’t stand and block my view the entire time either and that soothed my jealousy. My mother also spotted Linda from Arizona near the middle of the orchestra as the show was about to begin.

The stage set up was very basic. There were amps scattered about along with keyboards and microphone stands. No drums were set up. I speculated throughout the night if Sheryl would be performing unplugged, but had to wait until the very end to find out. A Vote for Change banner hung in the background and red white and blue lights illuminated the stage.

At five past eight, Keb Mo’ (Not Keb Less as Bonnie would say) came onto stage to a very enthused and anxious crowd. It was just him, his guitar, and the voices that talk to him in his head. I was unfamiliar with his material but the ladies behind me kept referring to whichever song he played as “Oh my god, that’s my favorite. It is number two on the CD I just bought!” He played for around forty minutes. The number one Keb Mo’ fan was front and center in the pit. She was proud to be a Keb Mo’ fan fo sho’! She got up and kept dancing during one of his upbeat numbers which was funny because during the song he sang about a woman dancing and there she was going to town in the front row. I don’t think he had seen a welcome to any city like he had in Jacksonville, everyone loved him. After every song he received a standing ovation and the crowd just went wild. He even received a few birthday wishes. “Aw, you remembered!” He could have been the Britney Spears of the fifty and over group. I can’t remember all he played, I’m sure it didn’t vary much from what he has at previous shows but I distinctly remember “Change” and “France” being played. I enjoyed those.

After he walked off stage I rushed to the bathroom but as I was about to wash my hands I heard Bonnie doing “Nick of Time” and opted that could wait and ran back into the auditorium jumping over stairs frantic to find my seat and catch the rest of the song. She was accompanied by her bass player Hutch Hutchinson. I had never seen Bonnie before, so Sheryl and Bonnie at the same show was such a treat. She has the coolest color hair and joked about it during the show saying she never needs light; she has this big flame on her head that could light up anything! She launched into James Taylor’s “Rainy Day Man” next. She even sat down at the keyboards to do a song and joked that she might not be able to remember it. Keb Mo’ came out and joined her on a song. She made a comment about preserving the environment before launching into “Mother Earth” which was excellent. During “Thing Called Love,” she wailed on her guitar! Hot damn! She is incredible on that thing. She even attempted to do the drum part and made a joke about being Jethro Tull on the flute. She closed the set with the song Katie would have killed to hear “Angel From Montgomery” as she brought Sheryl on stage to sing with her. Sheryl looked giddy up there beside Bonnie. You could tell she was very excited and honored to be playing alongside her. Unfortunately Bonnie didn’t play “Love Sneaking Up On You,” but she was incredible. What a legend and a performer. I will definitely be seeing her again.

However, throughout her set a couple came down and sat in those seats that were on eBay, I knew they did not have tickets for those seats and the guy was over six feet tall and sitting right in front of me which pissed me off, so I switched seats with my mother so I could actually see passed his balding head. He kept leaning over to talk to his wife which blocked my mother from seeing anything two inches in front of her so she said something and they turned and faced the stage and watched the rest of her set. After every song he was about the only one to stand up, put his hands in the air and clap as if we were supposed to follow his lead. He was an annoying nerd. I liked his Pretenders: Last of the Independents shirt he had on though. I kept looking at it when everyone was clapping and couldn’t make out the signature on it, but when the lights went on I saw Chrissie Hynde had signed his shirt and thought… “I can’t hate him that much now.” Ha, what a joke.

After Bonnie left the stage there was around a twenty minute intermission as they brought in all the guitars and switched the microphones around and whatnot. As much as I could see on the stage, there were no drums or keyboards being set up so I was hoping for an unplugged show. After a fake out from the lighting guy, he dimmed the lights and no one came out, so another five minutes and it was time for Sheryl!

Tim, Peter, and Sheryl walked onto stage with a warm welcome from the crowd as well and launched into “A Change Would Do You Good” on their acoustic guitars. Sheryl was wearing a black USMC shirt, which is funny because when she played in Clearwater she also wore that shirt. Sheryl interjected during solo guitar parts “That’s what this night’s all about, right!” The crowd roared. I managed to utter a few words to the song here and there, but was just so flabbergasted that I was seeing Sheryl perform unplugged that I was just savoring every single moment. “If It Makes You Happy” followed and the crowd sang along as Sheryl belted the chorus that carried beautifully throughout the theater.

She mentioned watching Cat Stevens or Yusuf Islam on Larry King the other night and what they did to him was wrong and she explained a little about his religion and how it was interesting. She also said she loved listening to him as a kid, how he was going to make a new album since her cover of “First Cut,” was so successful, and then launched into “The First Cut Is The Deepest.”

Sheryl told how she was invited by the First Lady at the time, Hilary Clinton to go over to Bosnia in 1996 during a time of crisis and what it was like playing for the troops. She talked about the oil greed and also described some of the horrible images she had seen and how that affected her and inspired her to write this song. I was thinking “Hard To Make A Stand,” but didn’t even think that she would play “Redemption Day.” She started playing the chords do “Strong Enough” however and quickly stopped herself. “Oops, that’s the next song. I can’t even read my set list. Can I do this one now instead? Ok!” The screen with all of the quotes would have been perfect for the show. Too bad that couldn’t have been set up.

”I’m going to ask Keb Mo’ to join me for this next one. I asked him if he’d sing it for you all but since it’s ‘Strong enough to be my man…’ I don’t think he would. That would be for another rally! [Crowd laughter] So he’ll just play the guitar part.” He added a nice twist to the song, finger picking in the beginning and then joining in with Sheryl and the boys. The crowd also enjoyed this song and the women were singing along. We actually got some other color lights during Sheryl’s set instead of red, white, and blue. I think I saw some yellow, pink, and even green! I can’t believe it.

Bonnie came out again and joined Sheryl for “Home.” She subbed for Peter as she played the electric guitar part and almost out did him with the guitar solo. She was awesome! That deserved a standing ovation. “All I Wanna Do” followed.

Sheryl joked as she talked about the debate, “I hope my TiVo is working. I don’t want to miss a single George W. Bush facial expression. You pretty much know my stance on Bush.” On a lighter note, a nice rendition of “Soak Up The Sun,” followed as the pit stood and danced away. “Help me sing it off now!” “I’ve got my forty five on….” And the crowd finished it off “… so I can rock on!” “Woo, you’re good!” It was definitely time for a standing ovation, the nerd jerk in front of me went into the pit during the song to snap a picture with the flash on and security had enough. They finally made him sit down, but moments later they were discovered and were asked to move back to their seats way in the back. Halleluiah, I could see!

Before Sheryl’s last song, “Everyday Is A Winding Road’ she thanked the crowd for coming out and thanked Bonnie and Keb for joining her on stage and mentioned how much she loved Bonnie and how tickled she was to do “Angel From Montgomery” with her. “The Earth can’t take four more years, the economy can’t take four more years, and our children shouldn’t have to pay for it!” I think everyone was in agreement with her statement as they clapped back. Sheryl walked off the stage throwing picks into the pit.

After a few minutes of solid cheer and applause, Peter, Tim, Sheryl, Bonnie, Keb, and Hutch all came out. Sheryl sat down at the Piano next to Peter on guitar and they launched into one of my all time favorite song’s “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield. Everyone stood and migrated closer to the stage. Some bobbed along and others swayed along, but everyone sure as hell was singing along. Everyone had their own part to sing in the song and they switched throughout. It was excellent and Bonnie wailed out a verse that just sent goose bumps up and down my body. She is just incredible. The show came to a close. The message was across, it is indeed time for a change and oh what good that change would do us! Enough of the Dubya! The show ended a little past 11PM.

As soon as people started to clear from the pit, my mom and I hurried down there because I was not leaving without a setlist. After politely amplifying my voice asking for a setlist, a roadie answered and asked “This one?” “Yeah!” I believe he pulled Peter’s setlist up and handed it to me. Thank you! As I was walking out of the theatre a man passed me with his thumbs up “Niiiice!”

My mother and I decided that if the theatre was there, the side or back entrance had to be on the opposite side we entered so we ventured down the side of the venue to where a tiny crowd of people were already situated by a semi truck, a van, and a black Mercedes. This had to be the place. My mother ventured further and spotted a black SUV that people were standing around with the doors open and thought someone might go to it, but a few seconds later and old woman with a cane was hopping in. I don’t think that was Sheryl!

I waited around with everyone else and felt a tap on my back, it was Linda! I’m glad you were able to find me. She was in a taxi going around the venue and spotted me and got out. We caught up from the last time we saw each other which was in NYC and talked about meeting Sheryl there and how I was in shock. The other people standing around joined in and talked about the other shows going on around the state tonight and who else they’ve seen this summer and we shared our stories about seeing Sarah in July and Sheryl all these other times. Tim came outside and smoked a cigarette and talked to one of the roadies for a bit and I was hesitant at first but decided to go up to him and ask for a signature on my ticket stub. I waited for him to stop talking before I asked “Could you sign this?” He seemed a bit perturbed I somewhat interrupted him so said it was too bad there wouldn’t be the chat on Saturday and that seemed to lighten him up a bit and he said “Yeah, I don’t know what was up with that but I have a Mac.” “Well hopefully another time! Thanks!” So I walked back and others walked up asking me “Who is that?”

We stood around waiting a little while longer for Bonnie, Keb, or Sheryl to come out. Keb’s number one fans joined us while waiting and were just so excited and anxious for him to come out. They both had shirts with silk screens of their pictures with him on them with the date and signature from today, so they must have already met him but wanted to again! We waited a little while longer and watched the door as we saw Sheryl and Bonnie pass by inside. They kept going back and forth. So about a half hour later, all the doors on the white van opened and we all inched up closer to the Mercedes because someone was about to leave. The Omni Hotel was directly across from us and I would have thought they’d be staying there, but Sheryl opened the door and came out with a security guy and well asked if she’d come over and sign some stuff. I had the setlist, four album sleeves, and three ticket stubs in my hands and I had a sharpie somewhere! She walked right over to me and I handed her the setlist and reached for my sharpie but couldn’t find it. Being the good girl scout Sheryl is she said “I have one!” but security had one faster so she signed my setlist. “Do you mind signing the collection, too?” She didn’t mind and started signing away as my mom said “See Brett, Liz Phair isn’t the only one who will do it!” Sheryl smirked and kind of laughed at the comment. I managed to ask “So how is the new record coming along? “It’s going good. We’re hoping for an April release.” To which I replied, “Ooooh, news for my website!” She smiled and looked up at me and said “Well, that’s what we’re hoping for!” She was about to reach over for the next person’s stuff but I just had one last question. “Sheryl, can I ask you one more thing?” “Sure!” “Could I get a hug?” “Absolutely!” She reached over and hugged me and I was in heaven. I’m surprised I don’t have cracks in my lips because I was smiling from ear to ear and so was she! Thank you, Sheryl! You made my entire month! I had to make up for the wimpy handshake she gave me in NYC, LOL! I kicked myself afterward because I left the camera in the car ever since I got caught with one, I’ve been weary of bringing one in. Peter came out the door next and my mom started to walk toward him, but the security guy said he’d get his attention so Mr. Stroud came over and was just so nice and polite and signed the setlist and my ticket stub and was just so happy to do it. We complimented him on his guitar work tonight and thanked him. He’s such a nice guy.

So after they all were settled and buckled into the van we waved goodbye and wished them a good night… oh and thanked them! They were off. So I couldn’t stand it, I had to call someone and let them know who just hugged me. “Allyson, guess who just gave me a big ole hug? “Hmm… SHERYL CROW!” Haha! I think I rambled for twenty minutes about something that happened for maybe a minute.

The van returned and opened the doors again. We knew Bonnie and Keb would be following soon. A woman came out and tried to shoo us away by saying Bonnie had already left but we knew that was a load of shit. A security guy tried to come out and tell us to leave the sidewalk too or he’d rough our asses up but Keb Mo’s number one fans were not tolerating that. “This is public property, you can’t tell us that! We paid fifty dollars and you aint gonna even let us get an autograph? I don’t think so!” So we all stayed put. Someone in the crowd of ten thought that applauding would make them feel special and want to sign autographs, but wouldn’t that just draw attention to them or would it draw their attention to us? I didn’t join in on the clapping as Keb came out, but it got Bonnie to come over and sign. Poor Bonnie everyone flocked around her with whatever they had in their hands. I was one of the last people able to inch in for an autograph and I thanked her for dueting” with Sheryl on “Angel From Montgomery” and told her she HAD to do it again! As she moved to the next person I saw her sporting a Livestrong bracelet and remembered Sheryl didn’t have hers on when she was signing, so she must have given hers to Bonnie. I said “Oh right on, you’re wearing a Livestrong bracelet too and she just smiled back!” She was great and I’m glad she signed for everyone because it was almost 12:30 by now and they must have been tired. Just meeting Sheryl and Bonnie closed the deal. I had a fantastic time and was so glad I went. I even got some compliments on my shirt and few honks while walking down the street.