21 JANUARY 2015
[LIVE REVIEW] Kennett Crossroads Day #2 - Concert - 19 January
Kennett Crossroads a success for all
Review by Steve Hankins
Photos: Rachel Herndon
The nearly unbelievable sounds of world-class music filled the halls of Kennett High School Monday night as a once-in-a-lifetime event unfolded for a standing-room-only crowd.
It was a welcome home party the likes few of us are privileged to witness when the school played host to the second round of Kennett Crossroads and the return of former students Noll Billings, Trent Tomlinson, David Nail and Sheryl Crow.
No seats were empty inside the auditorium as the attentive, enthusiastic audience of friends and family cheered for their favorite hometown artists who pulled out all the stops to make the event a singular, heart-stopping success. It was almost an impossibility to choose a favorite song from the multitude of hits that echoed through the room.
Noll and Blackjack Billy thrashed their way through an incendiary, raucous set of material that promises to burn down billboard charts.
Trent Tomlinson and his band of outlaw country renegades thrilled the crowd with hit after Nashville hit that culminated with an inspired cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”
David Nail performed what many would think the impossible by following Tomlinson’s Springsteen-like show with his own brand of soulful, country-flavored skyrockets that included his top 10 wonders “Let it Rain,” and “Whatever She’s Got.” Nail proved his father was correct when he advised him, “Country’s not the way you talk – country’s the way you are.”
And all this preceded the evening’s headliner, nine-time Grammy-Award winner Sheryl Crow and her band.
Crow was in wonderful, powerful voice Monday as she ripped through a torrent of hits that included “Soak Up The Sun,” “If It Makes You Happy,” “The First Cut is the Deepest,” and “Picture.” She played a giant Guild bass guitar, her acoustic Gibsons, and her beloved sunburst Fender Telecaster.
And yes, that was Crow blowing harp like Delbert McClinton in a Jacksboro Highway barroom on a summer Saturday night.
Crow’s band was right on the money, with acclaimed guitarist Peter Stroud and his bandmates never missing a lick. Instruments were passed among Crow and the band seamlessly by a crew that added to the program with its quiet professionalism and well-rehearsed game plan. It definitely was not the crew’s first rodeo.
The overall mix was smooth and full without being overwhelming – except when it was called for by Tomlinson and company. Kudos to a Sikeston sound engineering firm who served to hit the ball out of the park.
So Kennett Crossroads was a success for the school’s Fine Arts and Athletic Departments, which will receive the show’s proceeds for new gear.
It was a success for the friends and family in the audience – probably the finest ever to attend a show of this magnitude. No antics that could minimize a great evening. No smoke-laden atmosphere. No attitude save for a good time.
It was a success for Viretta Sexton, who was the honored music educator of the event. It was a success for the stellar performers who put away egos and gave their all for their alma mater.
But most important, it was a success for the city. These kinds of triumphs are few and far between. They really are beautiful symbols that build lasting memories and foster hopes for successful futures – the gift of what is possible when people come together to achieve a common, positive purpose.