More often than not, I don’t listen to too many female musicians. Most of them fall into the hard rock (Lita Ford, Donnas) or 80’s/90’s pop dance (Taylor Dayne, Sheena Easton). Occasionally, I will be wowed by good looks and a magical voice. I am a man after all. But when I received Sheryl Crow: Miles from Memphis – Live at the Pantages Theatre, on Blu-Ray, I was not sure what to think. Sure, she had looks but Crow’s music is ever-changing. However, I am certainly willing to give it a listen.
Most people know Sheryl Crow from her multi platinum albums, and selling well over fifteen million records domestically and probably a good thirty five million records worldwide. However, her start was kinda ominous. When she left college, she was teaching music to elementary school kids in Fenton, Missouri. Then came a couple of McDonald’s and Toyota commercial jingles. Before she knew it, she was a backup vocalist for Michael Jackson during his Bad tour.
Even Sheryl Crow’s first album was actually scrapped and rejected by her label. Her songs were mostly transferred to artists like Tina Turner and Wyonna Judd. Sheryl finally got an album released in 1993 with Tuesday Music Club. However, the album before it went 7x times Platinum in the US alone had a rocky start. It was not gathering much attention until the infamous single All I Wanna Do steamed up the pop rock charts.
Subsequent albums lit up the charts with such hit songs as If It Makes You Happy, Everyday is a Winding Road, The First Cut is the Deepest and Picture with artist Kid Rock. She has done a theme song for a James Bond film (Tomorrow Never Dies), been banned from Wal-Mart (on her second self-titled album), and even been in an acting role or two including The Minus Man with her then boyfriend Owen Wilson.
100 Miles from Memphis is Crow’s seventh studio album. Sheryl worked on the album with her now dating partner, Doyle Bramhall II and Justin Stanley. The style of the album again does not have a true genre that can be pinned down. However, it does strike a soul infused chord and even includes a few covers. In late 2010, she decided to tour for her album and eventually ended up in the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California for her November 16th performance.
The performance is naturally not just a showcase of her newest studio album, she also takes the time to perform many of fan favorite hits. The songs as been said many times do not follow any certain format. They go all over the dial from rock to country to pop and dance to a soulful ballad. Basically, if it has a drum beat (as Crow has been quoted), she will sing it. Some might disagree, but Sheryl is simply rock and roll and borrows from however she feels when she wakes up.
Sheryl shows off her many talents whether it be her voice, guitar or even a little piano. If I had to find a complaint, it is that her band of thieves outside of Doyle and drummer, Victor Indrizzo, seem to be kinda standing there. But honestly, it is a minor issue at best. By the way, one minor song note. I Want You Back does not suit you girl. But the rest of the hits and new material shows that Sheryl Crow is a celebrated artist for a reason. She simply rocks.
The video is in 1.78:1 widescreen presentation in 1080i resolution. Well, we know that Sheryl Crow looks good, heck she is pushing nearly 50 now, but I’ll be darned if she doesn’t look a day past 35. Anyhow, how does the concert look? Honestly, not bad. There is a lot of dark going on here with the usual assortment of concert slightly changing color lighting. Flesh tones look pretty good, far away shots suffer a bit and lose their detail. There is also the occasional blurred fade in. It’s a bit above average for a blu-ray.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 English DTS-HD track (5.1 Dolby Digital and PCM 2.0 tracks also included). As usual, we get a very strong audio presentation from Eagle Rock. Sound is loud and Sheryl’s voice is nice and clear (for those who are not familiar with her voice, one might have to get used to her highs and lows). Surrounds are used frequently for the rest of the band. It has a real concert feel, crank it up. Subtitles (only for Behind the Scenes) are included for English, Spanish, French, Dutch, and Japanese.
- Behind the Scenes with Sheryl Crow 18:49: This is narrated by Ms. Crow, and she speaks about the tour and her feelings about the theatre. It feels like home and lets her play as if she is sitting in her living room. We get some of the usual rehearsal type footage. Sheryl goes over the band members which shows how much she cares about her band. There is also some rehearsal music in this featurette not found in the show in the form of Eye to Eye and Stop. Not a bad featurette, but there is a reason these two songs were not a part of the actual filmed concert, they are dull unfortunately.
Lots of guys are probably of the thought process that unless you have the hots for Sheryl Crow or have the hots for a girl who likes Sheryl Crow’s music, a guy does not have much business listening to her songs. The truth is that she can be compared to a female Bruce Springsteen. Much like Springsteen, her music is based in rock but gives way to every genre under the sun from country to folk to a little bit of soul. This concert in Pantages Theatre proves that in spades.
The disc is also excellent. The video is above average and the audio is exceptional. If I was to ever feel like I was sitting at a concert with a laptop, I wouldn’t even notice that it was actually on a tv screen and instead I am sitting front row. Sheryl Crow’s fans will eat it up and it might even get a few random people who only know her from “All I Wanna Do” to go back and research her other great songs. Recommended.
Our Love is Fading
A Change Would Do You Good
100 Miles from Memphis
Can’t Cry Anymore
My Favorite Mistake
Long Road Home
Everyday is a Winding Road
Roses and Moonlight
If It Makes You Happy
Soak Up the Sun
All I Wanna Do/Got to Give it Up
I Want You Back
I Shall Believe