Sheryl Crow’s ultimately satisfying performance Wednesday night in Costa Mesa should have been the crowning gem of Pacific Amphitheatre’s short season, a standout amid predictable repeat visits from all manner of nostalgia peddlers and plenty of kid bait.
Maybe that was an unfair expectation, for Crow has never been anything more than solidly predictable herself since she emerged nearly two decades ago with the sleeper smash “Tuesday Night Music Club.” Yet unlike all but a few younger acts on Pacific’s roster, the 50-year-old rocker is still a relevant figure in contemporary music – more than she has been in the past decade, actually, thanks to recent forays into richer musical heritage and a successful crossover into the country market.
That’s why it was so disappointing to see Crow cruise through a hits parade with little regard for either the rest of her first-rate catalog or what direction she might take next.
Of course, the fact that she stuck almost exclusively to radio fare that built her reputation is probably reason enough for Wednesday’s near-capacity crowd to consider this among the best shows of Pacific’s five-week run. Give the people what they want, indeed, and Crow obliged: Out of 15 songs in roughly 90 minutes, only three tunes were less than familiar to even casual admirers – four if you count her “Cars” contribution “Real Gone.”
Photos by Armando Brown, for the Orange County Register.
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