Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 1:37 p.m.
Matt Oliver / OC Weekly
"This ain't no disco. This ain't no country club, either. This is Orange County."
As pop-country rocker Sheryl Crow sang her 1993 hit "All I Wanna Do," modified for her performance at the OC Fair, the screaming crowd flung their hands in the air with glee. The night would be one of happy nostalgia, where audience members would frequently turn to their neighbor and shout, "Ahh, I love this song!" Crow's familiar lyrics center on letting go and living in the moment, a sentiment that everyone in the packed amphitheater--from thirty-something gals in cowboy hats to that one older dude who stood there pumping his fists emphatically the entire night--could relate to.
She likes a good beer buzz early in the morning. Hey, me too. She's got a crummy job that don't pay near enough. Hear, hear. Let's all just soak up the sun.
Crow, a 50-year-old breast-cancer-surviving mother of two, is a machine. Dressed in skin-tight leather pants, super-high heels and a fitted blazer that she shed halfway through the show, the petite crooner looked relaxed as she opened with the crowd-pleasing "Steve McQueen" while jamming on her guitar with her shaggy-haired bandmates. She entered her true element with "Leaving Las Vegas." Her voice was strong, bright and riveting as she hit the chorus, prompting the audience to nod their heads and sing along.
Crow emphasized how happy she was to be back in California. She had moved back from LA to Nashville, not far from the town she grew up in, while battling cancer, and continues to live there today. After some banter about county fair gluttony, she announced she'd be playing a song that "unless you're a real fan, you wouldn't know," then launched into "Member's Only," a song from her 1998 album The Globe Sessions.
One of the most heartfelt moments of the night came when Crow sang the Cat Stevens cover "The First Cut is The Deepest." All females in the crowd, I'm sure, reminisced on their first heartbreak as they belted, "Baby, I'll try to love again, but I know . . ." So cheesy, so good.
After introducing a song from the new album, she ended with some all-time Sheryl Crow favorites, including "Strong Enough," "Home," "If It Makes You Happy" and, finally, "Soak Up The Sun."
The night reminded fans why they love her so much. She's a gutsy, gorgeous woman with a pretty normal life. (She mentioned that unless she's at a show, she's in bed by 10:30 p.m., and her kids have no idea what she does for a living, nor do they care.) And her songs are so catchy, so real, so fun.
And hey, if that makes you happy, it can't be that bad.
"All I Wanna Do"
"Leaving Las Vegas"
"My Favorite Mistake"
"A Change Would Do You Good"
"The First Cut is the Deepest"
"Can't Cry Anymore"
"If It Makes You Happy"
"Everyday is a Winding Road"