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Review and Photos by Frank Ralph
Sheryl Crow brought her ‘Be Myself’ tour to Manchester’s Albert Halls and treated everybody in this wonderful venue to a career spanning 2 hour show that had absolutely everything. To say I was looking forward to this show might be an understatement – well… definitely an understatement. I once paid an extortionate amount of money for Rolling Stones tickets purely because Sheryl was supporting them and I’ve traveled the length of the country to see her in the past….
Opener C. Macleod did a great job of warming the crowd up with a batch of melancholy songs and a version of Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ but it was when his guitar broke and the crowd grouped together to help him get through the technical difficulties and finish the song that was the first memorable point of the night.
The rapture that met Sheryl and her band as they took the stage was incredible. It’s been a while since she’s played in Manchester but she picked the ideal venue for tonight with sunlight still pouring through the stain glass windows and a giant pipe organ dwarfing the stage, the Albert Halls really is the hidden gem of the city. The venue and the act combined magically – it was like hearing an angel in church.
As I mentioned the set had everything you could wish for as a Sheryl Crow fan, opening with the likes of ‘Everyday is a Winding Road’, ‘A Change Will Do You Good’ and her breakthrough tracks ‘All I Wanna Do’ and ‘My Favorite Mistake’ before delving into her latest album. A tribute to Prince and a cover of Cat Stevens’ ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’ fleshed out a set of highlights old and new. ‘Strong Enough’ is always a favourite but it was probably ‘If It Makes You Happy’ that got the biggest reception of the night.
Personally my highlights included old cuts like ‘Leaving Las Vegas’, ‘There Goes The Neighborhood’ and ‘Can’t Cry Anymore’.
One notable thing was how talented Sheryl is – moving from bass, to guitar to keys and leading a stomping Stonesesque romp through Best of Times from her ‘country’ album on the harmonica. All the while, singing perfectly with a voice that has so much range and power to it. You have to have some chops to be Michael Jackson’s backing singer, which she was at one point and it’s a voice that hasn’t faltered one bit over the years.
Succumbing to the ‘When in Rome’ syndrome Sheryl dropped a full pint of beer – something that probably occurred in numerous locations across Manchester tonight, the following explosion of beer left the stage soaked and gave man servant Rick a big clean up job. Sheryl took this in her stride though and carried on while the mopping up continued around her.
Her next beer was handled much more carefully.
The only odd choices of the night were the encore, not the songs, they were the always jaw-droppingly good Run, Baby, Run and a soul drenched I Shall Believe. No they were a brilliant way to close the show, but Sheryl played them both sat behind keyboards at the back of the stage hidden away from anyone not on the balcony.
A great duo to hear but possibly not the ideal way to close the show – but that’s probably only because I didn’t want to take my eyes of Sheryl all night and not being able to see her was a little disappointing.
Having said that I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a show this much in a long time and every chance there is too see Sheryl Crow in concert should be taken. Love you Sheryl!
For more photos from the night visit our Flickr page.
Everyday Is a Winding Road
A Change (Would do you good)
All I Wanna Do
My Favorite Mistake
Long Way Back
Alone in the Dark
Can’t Cry Anymore
The First Cut is the Deepest
There Goes the Neighborhood
Leaving Las Vegas
Rest of Me
Best of Times
If it Makes you Happy
Soak up the Sun
Run, Baby, Run
I Shall Believe