Sheryl Crow and Colbie Caillat played to a nearly sold out crowd at Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary on Aug. 15th. Crow was an idol of mine during her first three albums, but since then I have wondered if her fans have changed along with her style. This Sunday, I don’t know whether it was a new fan base, the dedicated, or Colbie Caillat opening the show, but something was clicking at Koka Booth.
The crowd consisted largely of middle-aged couples and groups of women who clapped and sang along with the music. Men starred wide eyed at Caillat as she cutely hopped around stage like a pretty blonde bunny. One of her guitarists shredded a skilled short solo on the song “Realize”. Her other dread-locked guitarist, Justin Young, shared chemistry with her that made me wonder if her relationship with him is more special than the ones she has with other members of the band. She introduced “Shadow” by telling the audience it was written for Caillat’s best friend who has been dating a guy who refuses to say that he is her boyfriend. “It makes me really upset”, she said. She then performed “Lucky”, which was co-written by Jason Mraz. Other well-known songs performed by Caillette included “The Little Things” and “Bubbly”. During “Bubbly” many female audience members sang along with gusto while a man a few rows behind me shouted “Please shut up!” Read on for more about him. Caillat sang “I Never Told You” which she says is about going back to someone that you know you should not be with. Besides her lovely voice and cute boots, what I loved most about her performance was the grey-haired man sitting in front of me who could not help raising the roof during her cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go your own way”. It was a classic performance.
Sheryl Crow walked onto the stage waving. I did not recognize her at first with her long crimped blonde hair and her sparkly tank top. She looked as if she had been dressed by a teenager, but it made me happy to know that she feels so comfortable wearing cargo pants and sparkles together. Someone’s got to do it! One of the first couple of songs that she started with was “A Change Would Do You Good’. This reminded me of what I miss about her music. The blues influenced style of Tuesday Night Music Club and her second self-titled album is what got me hooked on her as a kid, but the new “mainstream” pop sound has found my interest lost. Thankfully, performed live her music holds more grit than the recorded versions. There is something lost in the recording and editing process that lets itself be known out in the open air. I think it’s her emotion. “100 Miles from Memphis” in my opinion is a lost cause and nothing can be done to make it a good song. I have loads of respect for Crow for following her heart and doing what is true to herself, but I cannot say that it is true to me to be listening to her new work. She sang “Can’t Cry Anymore” and I loved it! The attitude and assertiveness behind that song was just what I wanted to hear. Her inner diva really showed through in that performance. She proposed getting down off the stage to eat fried chicken and drink beer with the folks seated in the lawn section. “Do you still smoke pot on the lawn?” she asked. “I’m too old for that”. A tall middle-aged bald man seated in the front row did not hold back on standing up, shaking his hips, and jumping around in circles. “I want what he’s on” said Crow. His drunken dance paid off later in the show when she got down from the stage and let him give her an elegant twirl.
Crow was not afraid to get a little political and sassy with the audience. “I’m sure you all probably know that I am not a Republican”, she said to lots of cheers. She went on to discuss her concern about local rallies while the “shut up” dude a few rows behind me repeatedly yelled “Just sing!” Obviously, there were some Republicans in the audience. But even he, who could have walked out on a singer who uses up time to preach politics instead of perform their art, loyally stuck around to the end. He even took the opportunity to preach his own politics when Crow told a story about her recent meeting with the Dalai Lama. She asked the Dalai Lama, “How do you raise your kids to be peaceful?” The man a few rows back shouted, “Believe in God!!!” The Dalai Lama answered, “Be peaceful in front of them”. Then she went into her song “Stop”. During her classic, “Strong Enough” she threw in the lines, “I’m looking for a man who is really divorced and not just separated”. Several women stood up and cheered. This made me wonder if the men they were with felt sheepish or proud.
Her bass player, Tommy Sims offered us a smooth blues interlude a couple songs before the band took the imminent ‘before encore break’. She returned with “All I Wanna Do”, and then sang her Jackson 5 cover “I Want You Back”. The grooves brought out some amazing dance moves in audience members. This is when the drunkenness really set in. Wild dancing commenced and it proved that no matter what where or how, a Jackson 5 song will always bring the party. Crow finished off the night with an absolutely beautiful gospel version of “I Shall Believe”. It was my favorite performance all night.