[ GO TO PHOTO GALLERY ]
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Tuesday, 10 July 2018
Sheryl Crow is one hard-working single mother
by Mike Ross
When Sheryl Crow talked about being a mom at her show in Edmonton on Tuesday night, it struck a deep chord with her mainly middle class, mainly middle aged white audience. In short, soccer moms. Is the soccer over yet?
Illustrating the virtues and challenges that modern motherhood entails, the 56-year-old singer showed a depth of character one might not expect from a mainstream fluffy popsmith. Like this rock star can’t possibly be a human being, right?
You see, this single mom worked hard for almost two hours last night – a sold out show at the Jubilee Auditorium – so her boys, ages 8 an 11, could frolic in the amusement park and water park at West Edmonton Mall, where they’d already spent the entire day, she said. They really like West Edmonton Mall.
The boys probably already saw the show a few times already – a generally innocuous and unassuming yet impressive concert, with a great six-piece band who occupied that mysterious nexus betwixt country and rock, between soul and blues, and pure pop all around. Sheryl Crow is the master at this sort of thing, the Carole King of her time. It’s a grown-up thing.
Bonus points for working both “Edmonton” and “the mall” into her cover of First Cut is the Deepest, written by Yusuf Islam aka Cat Stevens, and made famous by Rod Stewart. Cheesy, right?
But wait. Soon came the obligatory patter about how she loves playing Canadian cities, naming them, so far, calling the whole thing a “vacation,” which it is, a working vacation, and chiding the crowd for a pre-emptive boo of Calgary (as is tradition in Shelbyville).
“I understand booing the other cities,” Crow said, “but try living in America right now.”
A cheer of empathy wafted through the hall. Those poor Americans. Think of this: Sheryl Crow, with her gifts of songcraft and voice could’ve been a HUGE country star, bigger than Taylor Swift – if only she wasn’t such a Leftie. Oh, well.
Crow dared to insert new tunes that technically weren’t “hits” into the “Greatest Hits” set that included all the expected songs: Opening with All I Wanna Do, and into material like A Change Would Do You Good and If It Makes You Happy. Hits every one, all expressing a more or less escapist worldview – especially her first hit in 1994, Leaving Las Vegas, which is literally about escape. Crow said later she doesn’t pay attention to the news, but she clearly does – who can escape it? – and it has obviously made an impact on her recent songwriting. It has darkened.
The first new number was the relatively upbeat Be Myself, the title track of her 2017 album. which is about the age of social media she said can’t imagine growing up in. The key line goes, “If I can’t be someone else, I might as well be myself.” Harder than it sounds. Later came the spooky Leftie anthem I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You, clearly a shot at He Whom Shall Not Be Named. OK, it’s Donald Trump. Happy?
The capper: A very short speech about how despite America’s problems, we – Canada, too – still have freedom of speech. For now. She said, “We have to figure out how to agree to disagree without being assholes.”
Spoken like a true mother.
* * *
- All I Wanna Do
- A Change Would Do You Good
- My Favourite Mistake
- Be Myself
- Leaving Las Vegas
- Can't Cry Anymore
- The First Cut Is the Deepest
- Wouldn't Want To Be Like You
- Halfway There
- There Goes the Neighborhood
- Rest of Me
- Strong Enough
- Everyday Is a Winding Road
- Best of Times
- If It Makes You Happy
- Soak Up the Sun
- Midnight Rider
- Real Gone
- I Shall Believe