[LIVE REVIEWS] The Bowery Ballroom - 19 April 2017




REVIEW #1

By Spencer Dukoff
New York Daily News

If it makes you happy, Sheryl Crow is down to play her hits all night long.

At a sold-out Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday night, Crow teased songs off her upcoming album, "Be Myself," and reminded a rapt audience just how many massive hits she has in her back catalog.

For a bonafide star like Crow, the Bowery Ballroom is a tiny venue, much smaller than the Beacon Theatre, which Crow will play in June as part of the "Be Myself" tour.

The gig's intimacy meant Crow had no place to hide. That vulnerability and the up-close-and-personal nature of the evening was a treat for hardcore fans packing the room.

Crow opened the show with high-energy performances of "Everyday Is a Winding Road," "A Change Will Do You Good," "All I Wanna Do" and "My Favorite Mistake."

Her first words to the crowd?

"My life does not suck."

With that, Crow launched into the title track from her new record, which fits right in with the classic ’90s sound that propelled her to worldwide domination and massive commercial success.

Rocking a bass and giving off major McCartney vibes, Crow began the song with the very-Sheryl-Crow lyrics, "Saw my shrink today/ He said girl I can't help you." The chorus is engineered to instantly get stuck in your head, like all the best Sheryl Crow songs: "If I can't be someone else I might as well be myself."

Crow seemed to understand that most of the audience was not there to hear songs off of "Be Myself," which drops Friday. Instead, she tastefully threaded in new material between crowd-pleasers.

The new album, which features "a bunch of songs" that Crow "barfed out" back in August, explores the songwriter's relationship with social media.

"As young as I feel, I feel like a total dinosaur when it comes to 'tap, tap, tap' and likes and dislikes and (snores)," Crow shared.

It was a perfect segue into "Alone In The Dark," the new album's opening track. The "darkness" in the song is a nod to unplugging and going dark on your devices.

For Crow's seminal Cat Stevens cover, "The First Cut Is the Deepest," Crow had the crowd less singing along, and more emotionally shouting along (tequila and white wine were flowing at the pre-show happy hour downstairs).

She also paid tribute to music legends we recently lost, and the effect those deaths had on her songwriting.

"Last summer sucked. Prince died and that totally took the wind out of my sails," Crow said.

But Prince and David Bowie's deaths were compounded by a year of "hate rhetoric."

"The people that are supposed to be the best of us are acting so ugly," she said.

It was all an introduction for "Grow Up," a song that Crow said was dedicated to Prince because he never seemed to lose his innocence. Perhaps unintentionally, the song also showcased how gracefully Crow, who turned 55 this year, has aged.

After a raucous "There Goes the Neighborhood," Crow quipped, "That's just clean, family entertainment."

The evening peaked emotionally with a bewitching "The Difficult Kind."

She introduced "If It Makes You Happy" as the second-most popular karaoke song of all time, and closed the set with possibly the guiltiest of pop pleasures, "Soak Up the Sun," before a three-song encore.

If you closed your eyes at any point during the evening, you could've been back in the ’90s, when Crow was the reigning queen of radio.

But Wednesday night was no shallow nostalgia trip.

It was a reminder that Sheryl Crow's never left and she's here to stay.

Setlist

Everyday Is a Winding Road
A Change Would Do You Good / All I Wanna Do
My Favorite Mistake
Be Myself
Long Way Back
Alone In The Dark
Can't Cry Anymore
The First Cut Is the Deepest (Cat Stevens cover)
Grow Up
Heartbeat Away
There Goes the Neighborhood
Leaving Las Vegas
Strong Enough
Rest Of Me
The Difficult Kind
Roller Skate
Halfway There
Best of Times
Picture / If It Makes You Happy
Soak Up the Sun

Encore:

Run, Baby, Run
Real Gone
I Shall Believe


REVIEW #2

By Everynight Charley Crespo
The Aquarian Weekly

Born in Kennett, Missouri, Sheryl Crow attended university in nearby Columbia and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music composition, performance, and education. While at the university, she sang in a local band, Cashmere, and after graduating worked as a music teacher at an elementary school in Fenton, Missouri. Teaching during the day granted her the opportunity to sing in bands on the weekends and record advertising jingles. After years of singing backup and writing songs for others, her debut album won three Grammy Awards in 1995 and sold more than seven million copies. Crow’s ninth and most recent studio album, Be Myself, was released on April 21, 2017. Crow currently lives on farmland near Nashville, Tennessee.

Perhaps as a warm-up to a tour of much larger venues, Sheryl Crow performed a two-and-a-half-hour set at the Bowery Ballroom. The lengthy show allowed her to introduce a few new songs and play all the hits. The concert began with “Every Day Is a Winding Road,” with Crow on acoustic guitar and crystal clear vocals while the band played a driving rock; Crow spent more time dancing than strumming on this energetic opener. Crow later rocked the bass and eventually the keyboards. For the most part, Crow eschewed her recent country music excursion for her signature energetic pop rock that was nevertheless tinged often with country melodies and hooks. Even the uninformed in the audience knew which songs were the hits; those were the songs with the very repetitive choruses that the audience chanted with her. The live arrangements were largely up-tempo, all propelled by crisp and fluid guitar leads and an undercurrent of honky-tonk piano. Ever personable, Crow chatted with the audience and offered anecdotes for many songs, particularly her newer songs. All in all, Crow performed a highly enjoyable concert that gave the fans everything they wanted.


 

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