February 22, 2020, Indio-
I have promised myself that this year, besides being my last year of full-time work, will be focused on the arts (especially music), honouring First Nations and reaching out to the rising generations as an ally.
With that in mind, some time ago, I accepted an online invitation from the singer Sheryl Crow, through her publicist, to attend a concert in this revitalized city on the eastern edge of California’s Colorado Desert. It’s been forty-eight years since I attended a performance by a musical A-Lister (1972, Harry Chapin). Since Sheryl is one whom I follow on Facebook, it was a natural choice.
Making the trip resulted in not attending more spur-of-the-moment performances by local artists, back in Prescott, but I do spontaneous events back at Home Base,, all the time. A major recording artist, or any touring musician, has to book venues and make plans, in consultation with the band and staff, well in advance.
Indio, over time, has had the good sense to nurture resort tourism, especially with the lucrative music festival in nearby Coachella becoming huge, on the concert calendar. Fantasy Springs Resort is owned and operated by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians. With its golf course, casino and three-star hotel, the sparkling resort attracts top-flight entertainers.
Though the show started late, so as to give the audience’s many stragglers time to get seated, I felt I got my money’s worth, and I had a great seat-in the front and to the left of the stage. Had I been a bit less shy, I might have made a new friend of the comely lady sitting, and at one point dancing, alone on the other side of the stairway, but I was primarily there for my friend’s music. Excuses, excuses.
Sheryl and her band put on a rousing, energizing show, with her major pop hits of the past three decades and, reassuringly, her new material. She included a couple of songs on which she had collaborated with the Eagles’ Joe Walsh, known for his unique high-pitched voice, as well as his intense guitar licks. The lead guitarist emulated Joe’s command of the instrument, whilst a rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist nailed Joe’s vocal style. All of the guitarists, including Sheryl, also showed mastery of the keyboards, as they moved from one great delivery to another.
The nicest thing about bands like this is the sense of family. Sheryl is the head of the group, but is no prima donna. They are appreciative of the audience, but there is no pandering- the band took no breaks and at the end of the one hundred five- minute set, there was a heartfelt thank you extended to the audience, the band left the stage and the road crew began dismantling the equipment-no gratuitous encore. A recording of Sheryl’s past concert material filled the air, as we filed out. Ten o’clock is late enough for everyone involved in putting the show together, to get their work done, and get their deserved rest.
The one aspect of the trip that had concerned me, returning to Prescott for tomorrow’s morning events, would turn out to be quite routine. In the meantime, and always, I can say with a couple of other, very vocal, concert-goers: I love you, Sheryl!