What better way to spend a Friday night than a joy-filled trip down memory lane, singing along to each and every word of some all time classics? This is what I did a couple of nights back, in the company of Sheryl Crow at Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
With the West London venue more jam-packed than I’ve ever seen it, we squeeze in just in time to catch opening song of the night – a jubilant rendition of 1996’s ‘Every Day Is A Winding Road’. As Crow’s vocals ooze from the stage, as crystal clear and energised as ever, she gets the night off to a euphoric start as the empire heaves in appreciation of this hugely uplifting wave of nostalgia.
Treating us to another ‘96 classic, Crow’s flawless rendition of ‘A Change Would Do You Good’ exudes her truly infectious joy, that sweeps across the crowd in an instant. “Remember this…?” she playfully asks before blasting into the infamous ‘All I Wanna Do…’, as everyone does indeed seem to be having a whole lot of fun. Ending the run of old favourites, ‘My Favourite Mistake’ is greeted with a mass of cheers as all continue to sing along with the rapturous energy of Crow and the whirring riffs of guitarist Peter Stroud.
Fast forwards to 2017, and to the title track of her latest album Be Myself, followed by another new song ‘Alone In The Dark’, and the mood remains high as Crow sings her heart out. And, despite every single word not being repeated back to her, as with the older offerings, these soulful reflections on life in the modern world are thoroughly enjoyable.
Whether we’re being treated to an epic play off between Stroud and Crow accompanying the sweeping emotion of 1993’s ‘Can’t Cry Anymore’, once again singing in unison with a mass of adoring fans to every word of Cat Stevens’ ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’, or shaking our hips to the blues-rock goodness of ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’, every moment of this two hour set is a sheer joy to behold.
From impressive harmonica solos to the emotion-strewn power of ‘Are You Strong Enough To Be My Man?’, and the empowering spirit of ‘If It Makes You Happy’, Crow’s endearing cheerfulness and breathtaking vocal range remain constant. Despite a couple of absences (‘Redemption Day’, ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’), with each offering throughout the night, every person crammed into this iconic venue appears utterly in awe of the euphoric, nostalgic spell that Crow’s managed to cast on us all.
And then, after a short but impassioned encore of old timers ‘Run Baby Run’ and ‘I Shall Believe’, it’s all over. But, whilst we’re suddenly brought back down to earth, we’re all left a little better off than when we arrived – each with a slice of Crow’s warm joy seeping through our veins.