NEW YORK, NY—It was a night of easygoing folk-rock as Mississippi chanteuse Sheryl Crow and band took over Irving Plaza for a two-night stand in support of her new release Detours. Wallflower. Looking like a radiant jewel of California cool in ripped jeans and vest, Crow belted out the new ones with ballsy confidence as she took to the stage, roving back and forth between bouts on acoustic and electric guitars with her newly formed band of past vets from her debut, Tuesday Night Music Club, including percussionist Brian MacLeod.
Her first one since 2005’s Wallflower, Crow has undergone a lot since then, including a very public relationship with big wheeler Lance Armstrong and a battle with beast cancer, as well as adopting a child.
The eight-piece unit included backup singers and a bassist for the first time since Crow decided to give up the four- stringed behemoth, at least for this tour. The backup band played behind her like a well-oiled machine as they churned out the numbers to Crow’s pristine and concise arrangements of verse, chorus, guitar solo, bridge, etc. They breathed life into some of the hits that were interspersed throughout the set like ear candy in a set that showcased songs from Detours.
The new release has a political bent to it as well as a philosophical one that Crow expanded on in a bit of some unplugged storytelling throughout the hour and a half performance, adding at one point that she’s “trying to get banned on the radio.”
Opening with the first three cuts from her latest, “God Bless This Mess,” “Shine Over Babylon” and the radio ready “Love Is Free,” they all combined for some sugar coated swipes at George W’s wicked ways. Politically charged pop, the jibes went down like challenges to the G.O.P. that morphed into the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” taking us back to another era of upheaval.
Taking a breather between songs Crow confided, “We’re poppin’ the cherry of this new record on these NYC shows,” as she laced into the hit “Change Would Do You Good” from her 1996 CD. Proving that she still gets stoned, “If It Makes You Happy” had the crowd singing the highs in two-part harmony on the chorus as Crow banged away on her Fender Strat guitar.
“Out Of Our Heads” combined some Latin-esque beats with the bottom heavy rumble of reggae into a rumba-thon that was actually danceable. Encores and hits that followed included “Everyday Is A Winding Road,” “Soak Up The Sun” and a cover of Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes” that the band turned into a straight ahead rocker.
Photo Credit: Glyn Emmerson