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Sheryl Crowe, live in London

Sheryl Crow latest album swings towards Country, but she rocks at Bluesfest

There's a rush onto the stage as the lights dim. No fancy intro music. No introduction. Just six musicians led by Sheryl Crow and launching straight into Maybe Angels. It's the start of a buzzing, blazing two hour performance underpinning this lady's right to be regarded as a modern day giant. Crow draws from country rock, folk, southern rock, americana and AOR, melding all these influences into a seamless coterie of charismatic Crow combustion.

There’s a tireless energy about this lady, and she’s comfortable whether strumming on a guitar, or slinging the instrument round to her back and grabbing the microphone. She’s also not afraid to take the piss out of herself. This comes across when mention is made of her three engagements, none of which led to marriage. “But I had a great time not getting married,” she japes. And after delivering a sparking cover of The First Cut Is The Deepest, Crow informs us all about how she met Cat Stevens not so long ago, after a late night phone call from Holly Williams, Hank Williams’ granddaughter. “So, I threw on some clothes and went to the studio to meet him. Well, I’m a rock star and we’re supposed to do that sort of thing!”

While the entire night is ebullient and uplifting, there are some real standout, incandescent moments. The first happens at the climax to Best Of Times when, flanked by four guitars, Crow blows up a sensational harmonica performance. It’s pure southern blues mania. And the main set finishes with Everyday Is A Winding Road, during which the band pay their respects to the late Jack Bruce by injecting in a sliver from Sunshine Of Your Love. And the whole night concludes with Zeppelin’s Rock And Roll, done with a tasteful realignment towards Sheryl Crow’s own strengths.

But the unquestioned highlight comes with Redemption Day. This was beautifully covered by Johnny Cash just before he died, and using his recorded version Crow memorably duets with the great man, as the screen behind her is lit up with footage of Cash. It’s a presentation that’s moving and articulate, invested with the touch of dreams.

Sheryl Crow’s recent album, Feels Like Home, has moved her more towards a country regimen. But this performance is a skilful, seismic reminder that she’s a peerless rocker.

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Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.