I’m not one for crowds, but for as long as I can remember, I have loved Sheryl Crow’s confident, playful, introspective, songwriting and I was finally going to see her live, at The Theater at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. Not only was I going to get to see Sheryl Crow, but another one of my favorite artists was opening for her, Brittany Howard. What a dreamy combination. If there was ever a time to endure a crowded space, it was for Sheryl Crow and Brittany Howard.
We find our seats and the lights go out. A spotlight sets in the center of the stage and Brittany Howard steps out. Her presence is intangible. The energy in the audience is uncontainable. She had a full band, but she vacillated between playing with her backing band to playing acoustically. The only word I can think of to describe her performance was “godly”. I’m still so impressed when I think back on the power of her voice floating effortlessly above the acoustic guitar.
Finally, it is Sheryl Crow’s turn to perform. As expected, she bursts onto stage with such exuberant energy, starts by playing some songs from her new album along with her hits, “All I Wanna Do”, “Soak Up The Sun”, and “If It Makes You Happy”. Suddenly, Sheryl stops playing and apologizes. She had pneumonia and couldn’t go on. Up until that point, it was completely unnoticeable. The amount of effort and energy she exuded, and the quality of performance was completely incredible. I’m so impressed by her resilience. She potentially sacrificed her health to entertain us, which unfortunately is continuously expected of artists. I’m so lucky I was able to see her perform, if only half a set, and I’m grateful to the women who continue to inspire and empower me to write and create.
Dana Williams Talks Sheryl Crow: Dana Williams’ “End of the World” is out now.