Mohegan Sun Center, Uncasville, CT, USA - September 1st, 2002
It's not a question of Sheryl Crow being able to rock as well as any man. Rather, can any current solo male rock singer outside of perhaps Bruce Springsteen hang with Crow?
From the opening riffs of "Steve McQueen" to the closing number -- a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Rock And Roll" -- Crow and her four-man backup band put on a good old-fashioned fun rock 'n' roll show for more than 90 minutes Sunday at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Outside of a giant video screen that only occasionally showed images, there were no frills, no pyrotechnics, no fancy stage setup or any extras to dress up the performance.
That meant all eyes stayed on Crow, which, given her attire, was pretty easy.
Wearing a black leather vest cut low down the middle and pants that resembled the American flag, Crow, who turned 40 earlier this year, didn't overdo her sex appeal. It was enough to keep the male members of the audience happy, yet not too much that it took away from the music.
While it's songs such as "All I Wanna Do" and "Soak Up The Sun" that put Crow at the top of the charts, her strongest performances Sunday came from the harder guitar-driven tunes such as "If It Makes You Happy" and "A Change (Would Do You Good)," which she and her band blended with The Who's "I Can't Explain."
She did the same one-two punch with her hit "Leaving Las Vegas" and the Steve Miller Band's "The Joker."
Crow gave the audience a good mix of new songs from her album "C'mon, C'mon" and her popular hits from the '90s. After ending the set with "There Goes The Neighborhood," Crow came out for her encore. She sat at a piano and sang the haunting single "Safe And Sound," a cut from her new album that she also performed recently at the MTV Video Music Awards. Disturbing images of nefarious figures such as Osama Bin Laden, Adolf Hitler and members of the Ku Klux Klan were shown on the video, along with more peaceful clips of Martin Luther King Jr. and Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon. The video montage ended with a mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion.
Not wanting to end the night on a downer, Crow kicked up her heels and took to the top of the piano, where she danced and sang "Rock And Roll."
It was an appropriate song to finish the night. With all the hip-hop and bubble-gum pop that inundates radio today, it has been a long time (or at least a good while) where one singer has allowed audiences and listeners to just rock 'n' roll. After Crow's show, that was no longer the case
If you missed the concert, try catching Crow Thursday at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, with opening act Michelle Branch.
The Christian rock group Jars Of Clay opened Sunday's concert with an upbeat 50-minute set. The performance included the group's biggest radio hit "Flood" as well as a new single "Fly," a song about a couple dealing with cancer.
It was the second time Jars Of Clay performed this summer at the Mohegan Sun Arena. In July, the band played at the Dare To Dream benefit show.
Sheryl Crow's set list: "Steve McQueen;" "Every Day Is A Winding Road;" "My Favorite Mistake;" "C'mon C'mon;" "You're An Original;" "Leaving Las Vegas/The Joker;" "Strong Enough;" "If It Makes You Happy;" "Lucky Kid;" "A Change (Would Do You Good)/I Can't Explain;" "No One Said It Would Be Easy;" "The Difficult Kind;" "All I Wanna Do;" "Soak Up The Sun;" "There Goes The Neighborhood;" (encore) "Safe And Sound;" "Rock And Roll."