he Downey Theatre is a relatively small community venue. Yet, when Sara Evans took its stage, she did so with such confidence and professionalism, you quickly forgot where you were. She gave this small, but loyal, audience an entertaining show that made you wish there were more there to witness it.
Evans, who started her musical career extremely young as a member of a family band, still tours with a few siblings. Her sister, Lesley, provides vocal harmonies, while brother Matt plays bass and is also her touring band's musical director. Evans drew liberally from her recent "Words" albums, starting with the opener, "Long Way Down," and finding room along the way for "Marquee Sign," the title cut and the tropical "Diving in Deep."
Although her audience appeared to be already be familiar with these newer songs, they gave Evans loudest applause for a few of her older hits, which included the countrified "Suds in the Bucket" and "Born to Fly," as well as the inspirational "I Could Not Ask for More." Evans then wisely choose to cover a few crowd-pleasing danceable songs to closeout her encore. She bopped around the stage like Cyndi Lauper for "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," before sending fans home with the irresistibly motion-enhancing "Shut Up and Dance with Me."
Temecula Road, a local trio, opened with a set emphasizing the act's strong vocal harmonies. Although the act deserves a demerit for covering Florida Georgia Line's "Meant to Be," this acoustic version was at least better than FGL's pop recording of it. Last seen opening for Josh Turner, the group's management deserves kudos for getting Temecula Road high profile gigs.
Los Angeles is so media-saturated, many of its concerts can seem more like media events than performances. This Sara Evans outside-the-city-limits show, though, was clearly one for the fans.