Sheryl Crow performs lively show for outdoor concerts at Harveys | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Sheryl Crow performs lively show for outdoor concerts at Harveys

Dana Turvey, special to Lake Tahoe Action

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune

If rock, blues, pop and country got together and had a beautiful baby, they’d name her Sheryl Crow. On Saturday, Aug. 23, the singer-songwriter, along with James Blunt, plus Toots & the Maytals, entertained a sellout crowd at Harvey’s Outdoor Concert Arena.

The Grammy Award-winning Maytals started the night with their longstanding irie blend of reggae, ska and rock. When Blunt took over, the growing audience delighted not just in his hits, but also when the British singer charged through the aisles, high-fiving the crowd, then reappearing onstage to hang 10 atop his piano. Naturally, Blunt’s set included his breakthrough hit, “You’re Beautiful,” and although he’s best-known for mellower tunes, his show rocked enough to amp the crowd up for the stellar main act.

When Crow first appeared, she stood alone onstage ” fit, tan and lovely ” with a huge peace sign behind her as she soulfully sang “God Bless This Mess,” with only her acoustic guitar for company. Then the curtain dropped, to reveal her two backup singers and six-man band, and they all ripped into “Shine Over Babylon.” Next, they ratcheted down the volume with a throaty, sincere offering of “Strong Enough” ” one of the many No. 1 hits Crow performed.

They kept ’em coming, with “Can’t Cry Anymore” merging into a brilliant, cover of “I Can See Clearly Now,” a Johnny Nash original from 1972 that Jimmy Cliff covered in ’93. The crowd loved it, even as the band roamed their way back to the main song.

Through the evening, Crow switched deftly between her acoustic and electric guitars, blending in with her band. She introduced each artist with tongue-in-cheek sass and obvious affection. Peter Stroud on electric guitar, Jon Button on bass, Jeremy Stacey on drums, Mike Rowe with keyboards, Tim Smith on mandolin and guitar, and Wally Ingram with congas and percussion, shared the stage with backup singers Nayanna Holley and Stephanie Alexander.

Crow shouted a question to the audience: “Can I just call you Lake Tahoe? Where you from?” At which point, the singer proceeded to name every tiny outpost of our area, delighting the crowd.

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She introduced a new tune, “Motivation,” which she called “a song about people who are famous for no reason, like Paris Hilton.” With the pop backbeat and sly lyrics, the nine-time Grammy winner has another hit on her hands. This tune rolled right into the opening riffs of “My Favorite Mistake,” which Crow sang sans guitar.

A conga backbeat lent a murky tone to Crow’s diatribe about “gas prices pissing me off.”

In “Gasoline,” her voice finds soft underlayers not always apparent on her pop hits. Then the song went right into a rousing cover of the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” which finished with the entire band chiming in on vocals.

Crow also makes a more subtle political and environmental point with her donation of $1 of every concert ticket to the U.N. World Food Program. And the singer donates the proceeds from that Buddy Holly tune she covers in Revlon ads to breast cancer research ” the disease the Missouri native has battled.

Crow started her next song by asking, “Do any of you read tabloids? Stop it! But if you have, you’ll know I’m cancer-free, I have a baby, and it’s the detours that help you figure out where you want to be.” Then, the band laid into “Detours,” with Crow’s low, husky voice playing off Smith’s mandolin.

Crow’s voice is loveliest when she stays with a soulful, earthy sultriness she’s developed over the years. In her mid-40s now, she modulates her vocals more, bringing a sexy undertone. Add some strong guitar licks and a connection to her audience, and Crow’s material is delightful.

As the night grew late, the audience got jacked up for “Soak Up the Sun,” which Crow accompanied with a cherry-red electric guitar ” a perfect visual accessory to her faded jeans and white top. A yellow and orange light show completed the sun theme, before Crow reminded everyone to Rock the Vote.

After much ruckus and shouting from the still-hungry crowd after the band went off stage, Crow & Co. came back for a romp through “All I Wanna Do,” with the singer saying quite plainly, “I’ve got a feeling there’s a party going on here tonight!”

Then she finished the night by covering Led Zeppelin’s “Been A Long Time” ” complete with a Bonham-inspired drum solo. Although younger and prettier, Crow belted out the song like Robert Plant’s blonde offspring. Blues, country, pop and definitely rock ” not a bad heritage … and a great finish to a perfect night.

Crow’s voice is loveliest when she stays with a soulful, earthy sultriness she’s developed over the years. In her mid-40s now, she modulates her vocals more, bringing a sexy undertone. Add some strong guitar licks and a connection to her audience, and Crow’s material is delightful.

As the night grew late, the audience got jacked up for “Soak Up the Sun,” which Crow accompanied with a cherry-red electric guitar ” a perfect visual accessory to her faded jeans and white top. A yellow and orange light show completed the sun theme, before Crow reminded everyone to Rock the Vote.

After much ruckus and shouting from the still-hungry crowd after the band went off stage, Crow & Co. came back for a romp through “All I Wanna Do,” with the singer saying quite plainly, “I’ve got a feeling there’s a party going on here tonight!”

Then she finished the night by covering Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” ” complete with a Bonham-inspired drum solo. Although younger and prettier, Crow belted out the song like Robert Plant’s blonde offspring. Blues, country, pop and definitely rock ” not a bad heritage … and a great finish to a perfect night.