Veteran rocker Sheryl Crow teaches younger bands on triple-bill a thing or three about professionalism and the art of putting on a great show
Sheryl Crow onstage at San Manuel Amphitheater
(Photo By Kathryn White-Esposito)
(San Bernardino, CA) – A method to her madness? Clearly a case could be made that veteran rocker Sheryl Crow knew exactly what she was doing in accepting the warm-up slot for new country stalwarts Rascal Flatts during the latter’s “Rewind” tour, that came to San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino last Saturday night. One could see Crow’s logic here: A great chance to expand her fan base with the many thousands of country music-loving teens and tweens who were there to see Rascal Flatts – a move that appeared to work, given the resounding applause Crow received from the both young and not-so-young attendees at the sold-out show.
Looking as good as any 52-year-old possibly can in a shimmery white sequin top, tight white jeans and “smart” heels (not the overly awkward-to-walk-in type), Crow – who also played a lot of guitar as well as a few mean harmonica licks during the course of her set – deftly breezed through her fifty-five minutes onstage playing songs primarily of her vast catalogue of hits: “Soak Up The Sun,” “All I Wanna Do,” “Strong Enough” and “If It Makes You Happy” among them, as well as more recent material such as “Best Of Times” from 2013’s Feels Like Home album. Judging from those around me, it seemed as though at least half the audience sang along word-for-word to most of the songs. If Crow doesn’t rock quite as hard as she did in the days where guitarist Todd Wolfe was in her band, that’s okay; remember, this lady has licked cancer not once, but twice (breast cancer in 2006 and a malignant brain tumor in 2012). What Sheryl Crow clearly brings is ebullience and professionalism to her stage show that every young band and/or solo artist would do well to study and emulate.
Rascal Flatts made their headlining entrance on a scaffold thirty feet above the stage
(Photo By Kathryn White-Esposito)
Headlining act Rascal Flatts came onstage to the sound of a thunderous boom that clearly shook the 65,000 or so in attendance (now that’s how you make an entrance!). That they performed their opening number on a scaffold approximately thirty feet or so above the stage was apropos – after all, the group’s popularity is now at an all-time high since forming in Columbus, Ohio in 1999. Their fan base contains a surprising number of teens – which, given the band’s recording background on Disney Music Group’s Lyric Street Records from 2000-2010, is easy to understand. Although Vocalist Gary LeVox may not have the physical presence of, say, a Jason Aldean, Eric Church, or Dierks Bentley, LeVox’s vocals shine and made virtually every song the trio (also consisting of bassist-vocalist Jay DeMarcus and guitarist-vocalist Joe Don Rooney) performed on this night appealing, including the title track from their latest album (and tour name) Rewind, which LeVox proudly announced had just risen to #1 on the Billboard Country Radio charts. The feeling here is that Rascall Flatts will see more of the same chart success before they’re through.
Opening the evening was a young country trio called Gloriana. Their twenty-minute set was solid but uninspiring, in that none of the songs really jumped out and made one take notice. Still, they appeared to have some fans of their own who sang along to some of the band’s songs.