I’ll admit that I never quite got a handle on Sheryl Crow. As catchy as some of her songs are, her hits always seemed all about the chorus. No harm there—just nothing that made me want to go out of my way to hear more.
Her concert opening the season on the Lawn at White River State Park on Monday evening didn’t change my feelings either way, but like most pop and rock concerts, it pleased the fans. Crow was in solid voice, delivering a plaintive “Strong Enough” and an effective “First Cut is the Deepest.” But for me, the “all I wanna do is have some fun” singer never quite jibed with the statement-maker who kicked off her set with “God Bless This Mess.” Does she really want us to “Lighten Up?” Well, then, why the lengthy BS of “Gasoline?”
Opening the show was Brandi Carlile —a talented singer- songwriter who says she was inspired by Crow’s Lilith Fair appearances. Carlile pleased those familiar as well as the previously uninitiated. Her cover of the Leonard Cohen tune “Hallelujah” didn’t show off her voice or the song, but when she ripped into a raucous “Folsom Prison Blues” mid-set, she owned the place.
All in all, it was a great night for loyalists and a pleasant night for the rest of us. As I’ve mentioned before, the Lawn is a great place to bask in music and feel good about Indy. It’s remarkable to sit there and consider how much, just within eyesight, has changed in the past 10 years. Next up: Death Cab for Cutie on June 14. For a complete lineup, click here.