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LIVE: Sheryl Crow + Melissa Etheridge, Perth – 3 April, 2018

| 15 April 2018 | Reply

LIVE: Sheryl Crow + Melissa Etheridge, Perth – 3 April, 2018
Riverside Theatre, Perth, Western Australia
Review & photography by Peter Gardner

Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge, two of America’s finest singer songwriters gave stellar performances at Perth’s Riverside Theatre on Tuesday night with their “Make Rock Great Again” tour.

Taking the spotlight first, Melissa Etheridge gave her adoring audience an eighty minute retrospective of her best work, interspersed with chatting about her time travelling and performing in Australia across the years, and acerbic comments regarding the current state of politics in the US and how her home country appears to be in the middle of a nervous breakdown.

Playing through songs from her early albums, including No Souvenir, and a very well received Similar Features, Etheridge’s smoky vocals have not changed over the years, giving weight and emotion to her songs of love and loss.

Introducing Royal Station 4/16 from her second album, Etheridge switches to a beautiful black custom 12 string ovation guitar and dons a harmonica, explaining how early on she realised that to be a successful singer song writer she needed to learn the harmonica, before executing a great rendition of the number, complete with a long, if slightly indulgent solo, exhibiting her skills on both harmonica and guitar.

Joking how I Want To Come Over is a song about stalking, the audience is in fine voice for the chorus, before setting back down for a wonderful acoustic version of Sleep While I Drive. Chrome Plated Heart picks the tempo back up building to another big guitar solo.

Cycling through her collection of guitars, she returns to her signature black Ovation for Come To My Window, and switches to a sparkly Gretsch for I’m The Only One, complete with another excellent harmonica solo. Finishing the main set with a rocking version of Bring Me Some Water, the crowd is on its feet and rushing to the stage front, Melissa, obviously having a great time interacting with the crowd as she draws the instrumental break out to several minutes.

After the obligatory encore break, the band return, Melissa now using her custom white six string ovation, leaves the crowd happy with Like The Way I Do, many couples down the front taking the opportunity to take selfies with their idol in the background.

Melissa Etheridge’s songwriting is very accessible, and although I’m not overly familiar with her back catalogue, she played a an excellent set pleasing the faithful and the uninitiated alike, and this performance from a very experienced professional set a very high bar for Sheryl Crow to follow.

After the interval break, the audience reconvenes drinks in hand, as Sheryl Crow takes the stage with her 5 piece band. Firing up with Everyday Is A Winding Road, A Change Would Do You Good, and her breakthrough hit All I Wanna Do, it is obvious we are in for an excellent performance. I confess I’m biased, I’ve loved Sheryl Crow’s music since the release of Tuesday Night Music Club. It is one of those albums which always takes me back to a certain time and place, and having not seen her live since the mid ‘90s when she toured her second album, I sat there transfixed as she delivered a career spanning set.

After stopping to say how much she loves Australia, and how lucky we are at present, compared to the divisive politics of her home country, the band play Be Myself from her most recent album, written against the backdrop of the current US situation. The country riff of Can’t Cry Anymore leads into a beautiful cover of Cat Stevens’ First Cut Is The Deepest, with excellent supporting guitar work from her band. Segueing into a mesmerising soulful version of Difficult Kind from the Globe Sessions album, the tempo lifts back up for a rousing version of There Goes The Neighbourhood from the same release.

The band are experienced and play extremely well together as a unit, the sound in the theatre is excellent throughout, except for Sheryl’s voice getting lost in the mix when she lowers to a more alto tone during some numbers. Taking another chance to chat with the audience she tells the story of her first visit to Australia as a backing singer for the Michael Jackson Bad tour, during which she ate “emoo” for Thanksgiving, oblivious to the cries of “EMU” from the audience correcting her pronunciation.

Introducing Halfway There from the new album, she describes how when writing the song she had to address the current American tone of hate and divisiveness, made worse when that is fuelled by the current president, and how everyone needs to learn to agree to disagree. The sound and stage lighting takes a darker tone during the song, and it is clear Sheryl Crow’s songwriting skills have not diminished over the years with the new songs easily a good as the old classics.

 

Following an acoustic version of Strong Enough from her debut album, Sheryl introduces Best Of Times from her country style album Feels Like Home, telling us she has to believe the best times are ahead of us as she has small children, a sentiment I can only agree with. Sheryl plays a magnificent harmonica break during the number, easily as good, if not better than Melissa’s performance earlier.
For the second time in the evening, the crowd rush to the stage during If It Makes You Happy, with the set ending with an uplifting and joyous version of Soak Up The Sun.

Returning to the stage for the encores, the band play a new song which Sheryl says she is still learning, with a strong bass driven riff. Atom Bomb proves to be a worthy addition to the repertoire. Finishing with I Shall Believe, Sheryl and the band close the show after a wonderful set. With both artists giving a full show, the night was worth the price of the entrance ticket, with nearly 3 hours of excellent music. Neither artist is a stranger to Australian shores, and may that continue for a very long time.

Shane

Category: Live Reviews

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