published Saturday, June 12th, 2010, updated June 12th, 2010 at 4:36 p.m.

Phillips: Crow one of Riverbend's most interesting openers

If you thought the three sentences about Sheryl Crow that were put up at 11 p.m. last night were all I had to say about the opening headliner, you were sadly mistaken. After all what would life be like if I couldn’t share my cutting, occasionally insightful observations?

Unfortunately, on this go around at least, I have a serious dearth of cutting remarks to make about Crow, who frankly, was the most interesting opening act I’ve seen since I started covering the festival in 2007. Looking back, Chris Daughtry was an arrogant jerk, as were the Black Crowes, and Willie Nelson would have put a nursing home to sleep. I’m not a huge Crow fan, but she was none of those things.

She remained mostly immobile during her 16-song set, but if you were expecting something closer to the vivacious antics of a funk ensemble like Earth, Wind & Fire or The Ohio Players, you were wrong from the get go. Crow’s strong suit was far and away her ability (not to mention willingness) to interact with the audience.

She started off with one of her big guns, “Gonna Soak Up the Sun,” wearing a loose red top, some wickedly embroidered jeans and ear rings that looked like she’d strung together the contents of an Incan treasure chest.

Then, she joked with us, telling us that the Coke Stage barge was, “the weirdest thing I’ve ever been on – I like it,” while suggesting she might not try stage diving 30 feet into the crowd. Then, she struck a chord with me (and most of you, apparently) when she remarked on the swamp-like heat and humidity, saying, “Is anybody else hot besides me?” I’ve never heard so many people sound so exuberant in their collective perspiration.

I liked her ability for inserting improvisational asides as well. During the middle of “Strong Enough,” she took one of many mid-song asides to tell us, “I’m not looking for anybody who’s married … and preferably not gay.” There’s nothing like hearing 60,000 people laughing at the same joke to remind you why festivals are fun.

Her set was a fan service spectacular of hit after hit, but she still threw in some interesting covers (Cat Stevens’ “The First Cut”) and even two new songs off her upcoming album, “100 Miles from Memphis,” including one that had never been played live before. The album releases July 20.

In general, she seemed like she was having a blast, which is a rare thing indeed for an established artist who sometimes, in my experience at least, fall prey to the temptation to phone in a performance. There’s nothing quite as frustrating as camping out for hours on end in the heat to protect prime viewing real estate only to have the artist walk out with a limp wrist and a bored expression.

From the opening chords through two encores (first of “All I Wanna Do” and then, bizarrely, of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”), she was a blast to watch. I can’t say I’m now a die-hard fan of her music, but I certainly respect her commitment to putting on a great show.

There’s a fine line that needs to be balanced when booking the first Coke Stage artist. This being the opening of the festival, there’s obviously the need for a degree of name recognition, but celebrity and entertainment factor don’t always go hand in hand. In Crow’s case, however, they did, and the festival was better off for it.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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ValerieD said...

Chris Daughtry an "arrogant jerk"? Did you even meet him to make such an absurd statement? I very much feel the need to say that I've met Chris Daughtry several times and he's been NOTHING but the sweetest, most genuine and down-to-earth person every single time! I even saw him three months after telling him I was getting married and he actually remembered and said, "Congratulations! You're married now right?" Oh yeah, how "arrogant" of him to say such a nice thing. Shame on you for making such an untrue statement!!! Arrogant is one word I would never use to describe Chris Daughtry!

June 13, 2010 at 12:34 p.m.
GCAB said...

I actually met Chris Daughtry, did you???? He goes out of his way for his fans and is ALWAYS grateful and very thankful to EVERYONE for his success so far. He is just a normal guy who is lucky to have a job doing what he loves. He is humble, loyal, and very caring. In fact, there are so many words I could use to describe Chris Daughtry...but arrogant jerk would never be one of them. EVER!!!

June 13, 2010 at 1:20 p.m.
staatsie12 said...

Obviously you have never met Chris. Obviously you don't know what you are talking about! I have met him 7 times and each and every time he was appreciative to me coming to his show. He showed genuine interest in me as a fan. He is one of the most down to earth people I have met with the huge success he has gained in 4 years. He remembers names of his fans. Who does that? Not arrogant people. From the sounds of this article I am thinking you are the one who is arrogant.

June 13, 2010 at 1:27 p.m.
badgebunny33 said...

Casey Phillips, you are an IDIOT! So, since you called Chris Daughtry an arrogant jerk, what exactly did he do to deserve the name calling? Was it maybe that he didnt give your ugly Mr Ed looking face an interview? Hell, I wouldnt speak to that face of yours either.
When you start name calling a singer, you might want to do your research to make sure that they dont have a huge following of die hard fans.

June 13, 2010 at 2:52 p.m.
sd said...

Note to self: never publicly criticize Daughtry. I've never met him, but apparently everyone else in Chattanooga has.

June 13, 2010 at 3:39 p.m.
eilria said...

I highly doubt that Casey Phillips has ever met Chris Daughtry. Maybe Casey was looking in the mirror when he decided to label Chris an "arrogant jerk" and thought the reflection was, indeed, Chris Daughtry.

However, no fan could mistake Casey for Chris; Chris is easy on the eyes, extremely kind and gracious; very down to earth, a great family man and just a wonderful human being!!!

I've met Chris a few times and he is, was and always will be kind to everyone he meets.

And, besides, possibly, everyone in Chatanooga having met Chris, try Florida, many other states, besides Canada and other countries!!!

Arrogant jerk, nah, don't think so.............

June 13, 2010 at 6:41 p.m.
Janine65 said...

Having met Chris Daughtry, I have to say, he is one of the nicest people I is the entire band. He stood in line after a concert for hours when he didn't have to and signed everything, and told us he's stay until every last person was able to see him. He signed everything, CD's T shirts, and even dirty sandals for those who weren't prepared with something. He was sweet and down to earth, and cares about his family and fans. He keeps us updated on things, via Twitter, even stuff he doesn't have to like the upcoming birth of his twins...he treats his fans like family. Don't criticize someone because of a stage performance...some of his material is hard rock and gritty but songs like, "Life After You", and "Tennessee Line" show a good family man. If you don't see the good and sweet side of this man, then you need to open your eyes!

June 14, 2010 at 7:57 a.m.
jovigirl365 said...

Chris Daughtry and "arrogant jerk" just don't belong in the same sentance. Casey, have YOU ever met Chris? I'm not family, not friends but I have met Chris and the entire band several times & I have to agree with everyone else who's said he's been noting but kind! They all were! I'm sure even rockstars have their "off" days but I cannot see Chris as being any kind of jerk! So Casey, explanation?????! Maybe your opionions (and that's all this "article" really is) haven't received enough attention and this is the only way YOU can get ANY kind of recognition!

June 14, 2010 at 9:51 a.m.
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