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Words and Photos: Sheryl Crow at GrindersKC

Sheryl Crow. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
July 21, 2022

GrindersKC - Kansas City, MO

Sheryl Crow is a singer-songwriter from Kennett, Missouri (a town with a population of 10,000 in the state's southeastern "Bootheel") who achieved stardom in the nineties and early aughts for her sunny, infectious style of pop rock and country. (Early in the set, Crow shouted out her Big Slick pals Paul Rudd and Eric Stonestreet, led fans in an "M-I-Z, Z-O-U" chant, and shouted out her sorority.) The beloved Crow had sold out the wood chip backyard at Grinders, attracting throngs of suburban moms and dads to see her first Kansas City show in many years (the last one I can track down was at Starlight in 2008). This show was originally scheduled for the summer of 2020 before COVID postponements.

It was another hot and humid Missouri evening with temperatures hovering around 90 degrees. Those who were properly hydrated were able to properly "Soak Up The Sun," but at least three different attendees collapsed (most likely due to dehydration) throughout the show. Crow spotted one of these folks who had been standing front and center and calmly spoke into the microphone mid-song (which the band brought to a quiet hum for a moment) to ask staff for help.

Crow knew that most of the audience had not likely kept up with her newer material through the late aughts and '10s, so the setlist was a hit parade with a couple brief detours. Right out of the gate, fans received "If It Makes You Happy." A recent sexagenarian, the belted-with-eyes-closed-and-head-tilted-back chorus of this 1996 hit made it clear that her voice is arguably better than ever.

Her powerful, crystal clear singing voice may in part be thanks to what Crow described as a lifestyle where she is not often inebriated. This spiel preceded "Still The Good Old Days," a song she wrote with Joe Walsh of the Eagles for her 2019 album Threads. Though all in attendance were thankful for Crow's health, the song was one of a couple duds on this evening, thanks to its clunky, third-rate classic rock type riff. Another rock-n-roll moment that fell a bit short (aside from Crow busting out a harmonica) was a cover of the Stones' "Live With Me."

But truly, the main story was that barrage of hits Crow presented (in pristine form). Songs that had been tucked away, some last heard during my childhood in the car with my mom, were excavated from my memory. "The First Cut Is The Deepest," "All I Wanna Do," "Soak Up The Sun," and (the very cheesy, but cheery) "Every Day Is A Winding Road" all produced smiles and drinks held high. Crow's band never made a misstep and if you made it out of the yard still conscious (I see you, wobbly drunk wine moms), you likely had a more-than-pleasant evening with a Missouri icon.

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