21 SEPTEMBER 2014
[LIVE REVIEW] Toronto, Canada - 20 September
Sheryl Crow, Rascal Flatts hit Amphitheatre
By Jane Stevenson
“Any single men in Canada?” asked still sexy singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow as she opened for country-pop-rock act Rascal Flatts on their Rewind Tour at a packed Molson Canadian Amphitheatre on Saturday night.
The sly question came right before her song Strong Enough, as in: “Are you strong enough to be my man?” from her 1993 breakthrough debut, Tuesday Night Music Club.
Now, if you’d told me two decades ago that Crow, whose sound fuses pop, rock, folk, country and blues, would one day be opening for a country band I wouldn’t have believed you.
She herself recalled opening for New Zealand pop act Crowded House in Canada in 1994.
“I just love Canada,” said Crow, who had spent the day in Toronto vintage shopping. “You know America is going to move here one day. I’m just kidding!”
But Crow’s last disc, 2013’s Feels Like Home, found the 52-year-old Kennett, Missouri, native and single mother of two boys make her first official country album from beginning to end after a permanent move to Nashville in 2006.
Still, the only song from that latest recording that made it into her 50-minute set was Best of Times despite, as she said, “the news in America being particularly rotten and crappy.”
Instead, Crow - decked out in a white fringed leather jacket and playing a red-white-and-blue electric guitar - and her crack six piece band crammed mostly hits into her all too brief time on stage including All I Wanna Do, My Favourite Mistake, If It Makes You Happy, Soak Up the Sun and Everyday Is a Winding Road.
The one major detour was a new rendition of her 1995 song Redemption Day that was interspersed with recorded verses by Johnny Cash, who covered the song in 2003 before its eventual release in 2010.
Thankfully, Crow returned to the stage to sing her song, Picture, towards the end of Rascal Flatts’ 90-minute set, and stuck around to sing on their tune, My Wish.
I would have been happy if she had been up on stage with them the entire time.
As for Rascal Flatts - singer Gary LeVox, bassist-backing vocalist Jay DeMarcus and guitarist-backing vocalist Joe Don Rooney - and their five-piece band put on a splashy, crowd pleasing 90-minute show with dazzling graphics even if DeMarcus’ goofy stage banter could have been shortened.
LeVox is a strong singer with a gospel sound, particularly on such standouts as the title track from Rewind, These Days, and covers like The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Bless The Broken Road, Canadian singer-songwriter Tom Cochrane’s Life Is A Highway and Motley Crue’s Kickstart My Heart, the latter complete with fireworks that kicked off the encore.
And the entire group all joined in with lovely harmonies on a capella versions of Love You Out Loud and a cover of Pharrell’s Happy.
Cute too was when the band’s fiddler played O Canada and we all - this was a young skewing crowd - dutifully stood and sang along.
SHERYL CROW SET LIST
All I Wanna Do
Can’t Cry Anymore
My Favourite Mistake
Best of Times
If It Makes You Happy
Soak Up the Sun
Everyday Is a Winding Road
RASCAL FLATTS SET LIST
Here Comes Goodbye
What Hurts the Most
Fast Cars and Freedom
Bless the Broken Road
Love You Out Loud
DJ Tonight/Hot in Here/Here’s to You
Life Is a Highway
Kickstart My Heart
Me and My Gang
REVIEW #2 (from Toronto Star)
By Nick Krewen
Speaking of the seemingly ageless Crow — looking marvellous at 52 as she did at 32, around the time Tuesday Night Music Club introduced her to the rock mainstream and multiple Grammies — she delivered a solid hour-long set in which she seemed a little livelier than in previous performances.
Also accompanied by a six-piece band, Crow delivered enjoyable renditions of “All I Wanna Do,” “If It Makes You Happy,” “Soak Up The Sun” and “Everyday Is A Winding Road” with the rock edge she’s known for, as well as a political and pensive “duet” about war with the late Johnny Cash of “Redemption Day.”
Although largely sticking with guitar, she also played a bit of keyboard, bass and harmonica, loosening up to venture out to the extended stage in the pit to slap hands with the crowd. For a woman who has been accused in the past as being a staid entertainer, it was nice to see her loose and relaxed.
For the RF acoustic portion, LeVox announced he was taking a pee break and returned to the stage with Sheryl Crow, who performed her song “The Picture” and then stuck around to help the band with “My Wish.”
SOURCE: Toronto Sun and Toronto Star