Sheryl Crow has taken “100 miles From Memphis” on the road, and the album, released just last month, got a warm Georgia welcome Thursday night at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Alpharetta.
Somehow Crow managed to get at least 10 of the 12 tracks off her new album onto the set list with no sign of resistance from a near full house. Perhaps it was the fun, reggae influenced “Eye to Eye” or the soulful remake of Terrance Trent D’Arby’s “Sign Your Name” or the captivating lyrics and vocals on “Stop.” Maybe it was the vintage, comfortable feeling you lean into in “100 Miles” title cut.
Crow titled the album after the distance from hometown Kennett , Mo., to Memphis, Tenn., original home of the soul Stax Record label (which signed Macon’s Otis Redding). Though, she admitted to fans that “the distance is really 106 miles, but 100 miles just sounds better.”
Even when Crow, not surprisingly, brought politics front and center with “Say What You Want,” no one seemed to visibly mind. The 48-year-old singer said she wrote the song after reading in the paper about a certain woman using the term reload.
“When I think of reload, I think of guns…. Would Martin Luther King Jr. say reload, would Bobby Kennedy ever say reload?” she asked the crowd.
And so the lyrics go: I saw you ranting on TV today. I heard you tell me to reload. You got a lot of nerve to talk that way. Someone unplug the microphone. … Say, say what you want to (If this is America you’d never know it.
And from there, she detoured to the soft, country ballad “Are You Strong Enough” from her debut album “Tuesday Night Music Club” before taking a U-turn back to the new album with the gospel-bluesy “Long Road Home.”
Luckily, Thursday night’s ride, with Crow partying hard on stage along the way, included fan favorites “Can’t Cry Anymore,” “If It Makes You Happy,” “Soak Up the Sun,” “My Favorite Mistake,” and “Everyday is a Winding Road.”
And the encore, you guessed it: Crow’s breakout hit “All I Wanna Do,” which featured a surprisingly nice remix to Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.”
Crow, who once sang back up vocals to Michael Jackson on his Bad tour ended the night with a cover of the Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back,” a bonus track on the new album. Not everyone can do the song made popular by a young MJ justice, but Crow’s voice fits like a glove — no pun intended. Not a bad way to end a road trip.