Mixing rock, pop, country blues and reggae while singing about the war, gasoline prices, celebrities and even her own trials and tribulations, the many sides of Sheryl Crow were on display Monday night at the USANA Amphitheatre.
Crow took the stage with just her acoustic guitar and a peace sign projected on a black curtain behind her for the anti-war laced "God Bless This Mess."
Then it was time for the full band to take the stage (six musicians and two backup singers), but a muddy mix that drowned Crow's vocals contributed to a very sluggish start.
By "Leaving Las Vegas," however, Crow and company had shaken off the slow beginning and put together a solid performance the rest of the way. "Strong Enough," an early highlight, was followed by "Can't Cry Anymore," which included a sample of Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now."
"Have you noticed how many famous people there are now?" Crow asked the crowd, noting that most of them were just getting out of rehab. "I can't figure out why they're famous," she added before name-dropping Paris Hilton and launching into the catchy "Motivation."
Opening act James Blunt joined Crow for Cat Stevens' "The First Cut is the Deepest." Other crowd favorites included an excellent "My Favorite Mistake," "If It Makes You Happy" and the beach party dance number "Soak Up the Sun."
Crow, who recently teamed with the group "Rock The Vote," aimed at getting people registered to vote, addressed Big Oil with the bluesy "Gasoline," which segued into a sample of the Rolling Stones' classic, "Gimmie Shelter."
In "Detours," the nine-time Grammy winner who in the past few years successfully beat breast cancer and adopted a child, sung about how no matter how much you think you have your life together, there's always unexpected challenges in life.
Opening act Blunt delivered his catalog songs about relationships, mostly the kind that didn't work out.
"I have plenty more miserable songs coming up," he told the crowd at one point.
Despite some of his sad material, Blunt remained in good spirits and good voice for his one-hour set. At one point, Blunt jumped into the crowd and made a lap around the reserved seating area, high-fiving fans (and getting at least one kiss) along the way.
The war-hero-turned-musician-turned-tabloid material even seemed to make light of himself, specifically recent pictures that popped up showing him on a beach with a topless woman.
"I was wondering if I might take an item of clothing off," he asked the crowd before removing his jacket. "You might do the same."
Between all of that, Blunt gave a good performance with songs such as "Goodbye My Lover," "Wisemen," "1973" and the big radio hit, "You're Beautiful."
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