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Crows brings the guitar

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, October 30, 2013

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

With the Pittsburgh Steelers sitting at 2-5, their home venue was in need of some excitement. Heinz Field's Great Hall finally got it when Sheryl Crow headlined the benefit "Girls With Guitars" show. While Danielle Bradbery, Sara Evans, Kellie Pickler and local favorite Sara Marince were billed as co-headliners, they proved to be a quartet of openers for the far more seasoned Crow.

Indeed, Bradbery, Pickler and Marince are platinum blonde carbon copies with virtually interchangeable, albeit excellent, huge voices.

Marince showcased her power by performing a cover of Martina McBride's Where Would You Be that the superstar would have been proud of.

17-year old season four "The Voice" winner Bradbery used her 25 minutes to showcase cuts from her upcoming Nov. 27 debut release. The single Heart Of Dixie was a raucous romp, while Who I Am was tender and empowering.

Pickler's set had one of the funniest concert moments in recent memory. An enthusiastic fan walked uninvited right on to the surprisingly accessible stage to perform an impromptu duet of Best Days Of Your Life. The obviously shocked Pickler took it in stride, letting the enraptured fan even take the mic for several verses.

The beautiful and charismatic Sara Evans knows a thing or two about headlining and hit making. The 42-year old showcased number ones Real Fine Place and Born To Fly for an opening one-two punch. Guitarists Frank Wilson and Bill McClaren proved to be the most capable of the evening.

Superstars carry themselves differently and there is an energy about them that is unique. When Crow parted the crowd flanked by security, the atmosphere filled with confidence and familiarity. She has touched everyone in some way through her timeless songs and very public battle with cancer and brokenrelationships. She makes fans exude the confidence to foot stomp and clap to the infectious riff of My Favorite Mistake or shed tears during the heartbreaking favorite Picture.

For a show billed as "Girls With Guitars," Crow was the only artist that actually played one. She injected some levity, saying "You all know about the music business and realize I never would have gotten this far without this rack."

Confident self-deprecation about serious personal issues further endears her to fans. The finale featured each artist performing once. Crow's Picture was the unsurprising highlight.

With two reality show winners on the bill (Pickler, "American Idol" and Bradbery, "The Voice"), the evening was more of a pop showcase with a country bent. Given her massive success on the pop charts, even Crow's affiliation with country is tenuous. However, with her roots rock background and guitar prowess, she was the closest this power packed quintet came. No matter where you classify her, Crow fits in at the top anywhere.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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