Sheryl Crow returned to Ravinia Festival for her third time on Friday, July 19, 2013. My family and I have always been huge fans of Sheryl Crow and were very excited to see her live for the first time. At first, my father and I were not sure what to expect because we thought her earlier rock albums were her best music. Her more current albums are somewhat too “country” for us. Usually, when singers tour, they promote their current albums and perform songs from those albums, and we thought those would be the primary songs that night. Fortunately, that was not the case, and the concert surpassed our expectations.
Sheryl Crow is a singer, songwriter and record producer. Her musical explorations include rock and roll, country, pop, hip hop and folk, inspired by Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Al Green and Marvin Gaye. She started her musical career as a backup singer, for performers such as Michael Jackson. Crow got her big break in 1993 with her debut album Tuesday Night Music Club, which won two Grammys. About ten years ago, Crow started experimenting with country and soul music. Her first country album will be released later this year.
The concert at Ravinia was fantastic. My father and I had a great time rocking it with Sheryl Crow. We were very happy that she performed more of her older rock and soul tunes. It was a sold-out concert and the crowd clearly enjoyed several of her old favorite songs such as Leaving Las Vegas, Can’t Cry Anymore, Steve McQueen, Strong Enough, If It Makes You Happy, All I Wanna Do, My Favorite Mistake, A Change and Every Day Is a Winding Road. We really enjoyed the few country songs she did sing. Crow’s style is more country-rock. These songs included The First Cut Is the Deepest, Easy, and Soak Up the Sun.
Sheryl Crow took command of the stage and gave freshness to songs she has been singing for several years. She seemed to really enjoy herself on stage that evening. Her backup band was also excellent and they all seemed to interact well with each other. Her band included Audley Freed (guitar and backing vocals), Peter Stroud ( guitar and backing vocals), Joshua Grange (pedal steel , keyboard and backing vocals), Jen Gunderman ( organ, keyboard, and backing vocals). Robert Kearns (bass and backing vocals) and Fred Eltringham (drums). The lead guitarist combo of Freed and Stroud did an excellent job of exchanging riffs and complimenting one another’s superior playing all night.
Crow’s opening act, Kristen Kelly, gave a very impressive performance for her Ravinia debut. Though Kelly was much more country than Crow, her vocals blew us away. She had a very strong singing voice and could belt out just about anything. Her first major hit called He Loves to Make Me Cry was my favorite. The backing band, looking younger than Ms. Kelly, were a tight, accomplished group, and gave her big voice plenty of room and counterpoint during her too-short set. Kelly’s band included John Shaw( lead guitar), Zak Runquist (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), Chris Hurst (keyboard and backing vocals), Clint Stallons (bass) and Brett Byars (drums).
My Dad and I were thrilled that we had the opportunity to hear Sheryl Crow live for the first time. We enjoyed hearing all her old favorites one after the other. When we finally had to leave the concert at ten o’clock, she was still performing.
For more information on Sheryl Crow’s tour dates, photos, tour journals, audio and video, and news., visit http://www.sherylcrow.com/.
For information about the Ravinia Festival, visit http://www.ravinia.org/.
Photos: (1-3, Jennifer Lunz), (4-8, Patrick Gibson)