[LIVE REVIEW] BEALE STREET MUSIC FESTIVAL, MEMPHIS, TN
Sheryl Crow Live: Quite Literally Rain or Shine
By Jessica Draper
Sheryl Crow is a trooper. I’ve always liked her music, but I’ve come to respect her on a different level after her performance at Memphis in May a couple of weekends ago. A friend and I drove over to Memphis on an ominous-looking Friday afternoon to check out the mud fest that is the Beale Street Music Festival. I had been warned that it would be super sloshy and the mud would be up to my ankles, but what I didn’t know was that we’d have to contend with major lightning and tornadoes!
We arrived in rainy Memphis, checked into the hotel, donned our rain shoes and 89 cent ponchos from Wal-Mart and headed down to the river to catch the rest of the evening’s lineup. As expected, the downpour began the very moment we stepped out of the hotel lobby. I was soaked within four blocks, even with my hardy 89 cent poncho. So well prepared, I know.
After getting to the park and fighting the crowds leaving the festival, we finally made it to the stage on which Sheryl was set to play. Only the rain was so heavy we could barely see 10 feet in front of us! Luckily there was a large tent under which we took cover during the persistent deluge. The things I do to see shows! After about half an hour (after the rain subsided a bit), Sheryl’s crew began to squeegie the stage and uncover gear.
When Sheryl and her band took the stage at 11:15 p.m., they did not disappoint. Always good at making the best out of a bad situation, she played a energetic set that included familiar hits like “My Favorite Mistake” and Cat Stevens’ “First Cut Is the Deepest,” as well as material from her new album Detours. I was impressed by her tenacity and artistry, but more importantly by her work ethic–while every other scheduled headliner cancelled, Sheryl gave a performance that the crowd in attendance will always remember.
Before the band headed into the seventh song, Sheryl announced they had to cut the set short due to news that tornadoes were headed in our direction. During that last song the rain started in again, with high wind and lightning, too. I noticed the rain was pelting her and her two guitarists in the face, not to mention soaking the electronics of their instruments. They finished the song, though, and were cheered quite enthusiastically. As soon as the band left the stage the crowd split and began running for the exit gates. I don’t know how many more rain-soaked festivals I’ll be attending (if any!), but this short and riveting performance was well worth the trouble.
Source: Performing Songwriter (performingsongwriter.com)