20 September 2014
[LIVE REVIEW+PIX] POP Montreal festival - 19 September
By Mark Lepage
Photos: John Mahoney
Four songs into her show in a packed L’Olympia Friday night, Sheryl Crow dropped her voice into the blue-hued My Favorite Mistake and the thought watching her and her five-piece band was: okay guys, make one.
Make an error. Boot something. Because from the bloozy grind of opener Maybe Angels, followed by Crow turning to guitarist Peter Stroud to roll it into the stomp of A Change Will Do You Good, through the sprung, stoned groove of All I Wanna Do and into Mistake, this was as near-perfect a quartet of mainstream country-kin pop-rock songs as could have been imagined.
And so, forgotten: what is Sheryl Crow doing at POP Montreal? It had ceased to matter. What did register was the songcraft of Maybe Angels, with a chorus that took time to unfurl into its minor-chord drop. Next registered was her symbiosis with a road-seasoned band, framed by Stroud and Audley Freed on guitars and swung by longhair drummer Fred Eltringham, who shook everything so beautifully loose that it would have been filthy had it not been so pocket-happily groovy. As Crow greeted the crowd with a “Merci beaucoup!” in her glitter cowboy boots, you remembered why people used to love Americans.
She would win the affection of the full house with a well-paced overview of the majors since the 1993 debut Tuesday Night Music Club. Recent country-conversion song Easy was “about drinkin’ beer at home – I write about the things I know” and the first of a couple of mid-set songs before Can’t Cry Anymore and the intro to Strong Enough – “I’ve been engaged now three times, and I’ve had a rockin’ good time not getting’ married” – united the ladies in Friday night white-wine empowerment. Especially enjoyed the accompanying slo-mo rodeo footage of bulls kicking cowboys ass-over-teakettle.
Crow called on the ghost of Johnny Cash, dropping vocals and video of him into Redemption Day before opening up the anchor leg of hits. She brought La Voix finalist Remi Chassé out for a cheery duet of If It Makes You Happy, then bopped through Soak Up the Sun and Everyday Is a Winding Road, their blissed-out and seemingly effortless sunny froth a reminder of why Crow is just this side of underrated. On the night, she was not: POP Montreal had its Pop, and its Americana centrism. Steve McQueen and Led Zep’s Rock and Roll were as loose and celebratory as an encore should be, sending the mainstream crowd into the night past hipsters who might have wondered why they were smiling.
SOURCE: Montreal Gazette