Continuing the new trend of virtual concert entertainment, Sheryl Crow kicked off her two-day concert series on September 18th 2020 with her live stream, Songs From The Big Green Barn. Before the show began, fans from across the world entered the chat to view and talk about the performance as they watched it live. Some of the places fans gathered from were New York, Illinois, California, Kansas, Canada, South America, Australia, Ireland and even Japan. Fans in the chat were more than excited to hear what kinds of fun things and sounds Sheryl Crow and her band had in store for them.
Opening the show with her 1996 hit “If It Makes You Happy” (from her self-titled album Sheryl Crow), it was clear that this performance was to be entertaining and made her very happy to be doing so! The vibe of the concert was chill and positive, trying to make light of the state of the world and help fans ease their minds with some light music for a bit. It was almost like a fun and classic late-night backyard hang out session. While Crow had explained that she was simply in her driveway and in front of her ‘big green barn,’ there were hip garden string lights hanging above the band on either side, a couple external lights, a few amps and the four-piece band. It was kept simple but definitely felt very intimate and cozy, as much as a live stream could.
Following “If It Makes You Happy,” Sheryl kept up the energy with the 1996 tune from the self titled album Sheryl Crow, “A Change Would Do You Good.” The pop-country song not only seemed like a very natural song for Sheryl and her band, but it also seemed like it was just a fun time for everyone. People could tell they were all excited to be there and to be playing music together for any kind of audience, even if it was virtual.
Sheryl then introduced her bandmates that were socially distant on her law set with her: her guitar player Peter Stroud, her bassist Robert Kearns and her drummer Fred Eltringham. Keeping it COVID-19 friendly and following all the guidelines, Sheryl had two face masks hanging from her microphone stand. It felt very personal and like Sheryl was connected with fans despite the fact that she and the band were “playing for a few cameras, and probably a few neighbors that were being kept up.” Regardless, she had a fun and upbeat attitude, and she was ready to give fans across the globe a little entertainment.
Stepping away from her guitars, Sheryl sat at a nearby keyboard to play the 1993 hit “All I Wanna Do,” from the album, Tuesday Night Music Club. This song was smooth, and her effortless transition from guitar to keyboard was impressive and exciting. Sheryl was bopping along to the song (as was the whole band). While watching, it was almost like people could forget about the fact that it was a stream, and it was a casual backyard hang out with one’s neighbors. The song was familiar and fun, and fans were so excited to hear it on her setlist for the evening.
In between songs, Sheryl would share short, lighthearted stories of how her and her family were staying safe during quarantine. She made it a point to ask her bandmates about their experiences in quarantine as well, and how she was just grateful for the event happening now.
Towards the middle of the show, Sheryl slowed things down a bit with the 1996 soft jam, “Home.” The slower song did not bring down the energy or excitement from the show. If anything, it made the show feel even more personal and intimate than it was. One fan even wrote “totally from the soul” in the chat and viewers could tell that it very much was. The chords paired with Sheryl’s relaxing voice created a very calm atmosphere. It felt nostalgic and sweet.
Picking it right back up, but keeping with the nostalgic feeling, following “Home,” came the 2013 song “Easy,” from the album Feels Like Home. And it definitely felt like home! The song was one of those songs people would have on their ‘summertime chill’ playlists. While a little slower in tempo, it was still lively and fun to listen to. It was like people could feel the lyrics she was singing and associate them with a very specific memory or time in your life. It was easy to see that Sheryl Crow and her band put in just as much time, energy and work, even though they were ‘just playing for some cameras.’
While it’s known that Sheryl Crow is a multi-instrumentalist, tonight she alternated between electric guitars, acoustic guitars, a bass guitar and a keyboard. She told the fans on the stream that it was still a “few lawn chairs and cooler kind of vibe” even if it was just “really strange, but kinda cool.” She explained how this was new for them too as usually, she’s on the road and touring. She even made a joke about how she would address the virtual audience and then there would be sounds of crickets. She said, “how is everybody out there?” and as if on cue, a cricket in her yard chirped. She smiled, laughed and turned to her band. She shrugged it off so casually and playfully, and hit the crowd with more classic and rocking tunes.
Towards the end of the show, Sheryl ran with a classic song from the 2002 album C’mon, C’mon. Deciding that she wanted to play bass guitar, she started the band with “Soak Up The Sun.” Fans in the chat loved every part of her spunky hit. The song’s catchy lyrics and fun spirit make it easy to have a good time while listening along.
One of the cool things about the stream was the location. While it was in part in Sheryl Crow’s driveway, she talked about her barn behind her. Her big green barn actually has a saloon inside with horses, and above is a recording studio. She explained how artists such as Kacey Musgraves and Chris Stapleton wrote and recorded music in her barn studio. It was definitely evident that this was a happy place and set, which made the stream even more unique and individualized.
To finish out the show, Sheryl closed with “Everyday Is A Winding Road” from her 1996 self titled album, Sheryl Crow. Sheryl explained that the song was about ‘a balance’ and how to figure things out and make them work, despite the circumstances circling everyday life. The upbeat tune was a fun and positive way to finish out her show. Sheryl dedicated the song to everyone going through tough times due to COVID-19, and also the individual losses that some people have gone through. While there are so many daily challenges in the world right now and everyday can feel hard, it was a nice and positive reminder that, “everyday is a winding road, [we] get a little bit closer to feeling fine.”
Overall, it was clear that fans missed her live shows, but from the chat, the event tonight was something special and welcoming for everyone to enjoy. It was a chill and relaxing evening full of what seemed like some sweet memories and fun times all over the world. With a smile and a bow, Sheryl Crow finished her show by simply saying, “it’s like showing COVID who the boss is!” She definitely did just that!
If It Makes You Happy
A Change Would Do You Good
All I Wanna Do
My Favorite Mistake
Run Baby Run
Can’t Cry Anymore
It Don’t Hurt
Woman In The White House
In The End
Soak Up The Sun
Everyday Is A Winding Road
Photo Credit: Boston Lynn Schulz