17 August 2000
Little Bear, Evergreen, CO
Who would have thought that the Grammy award-winning choir-voiced singer/songwriter from San Antonio would go from performing at 20,000 seat arenas to 200 seat hole-in-the-wall nightclubs? It was indeed interesting to hear him say, "It's been a long time since I've said this, but make sure you tip your waitresses!"
The Little Bear is perhaps best described as a Yuppie hole in the wall, up in the Rocky Mountains of Evergreen, a dozen or so miles West of Denver. It barely has enough room for a few tables, a couple of minature bleachers, and maybe a few square feet to dance. To some extent, the concert was standing room only for many. The advantage of seeing a concert at a venue with such cramped quarters is that no one in the house has a bad view.
Christopher Cross let his three-piece backing band open up with a fusion jazzy set of about a half dozen songs. Most notable amongst these musicians was a pleasant singer/keyboard player named Kiki, who kinda resembled Cybill Shepherd.
Shortly afterwards, Christopher himself lumbered out with a black with white pickguard Fender Stratocaster. Wearing a black golf shirt, jeans and a baseball cap, it didn't take him long to cover some of his major hits, which, tonight included the likes of "Never Be The Same", "Think Of Laura", the #1 movie soundtrack song, "Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do)". Cross's lead guitar work very closely resembled his studio work both in melody and timbre.
I must say his backing band did a remarkable job of duplicating the studio sound as well, particularly on the beautiful "Sailing". The best selections of the evening were those that prompted some very energetic dancing in the 200-strong crowd. Namely, "Ride Like The Wind", which showcased Michael McDonald sound-alike vocals from the bass player, and "All Right". A notable selection I'd never heard of before talked about "Nature's way of telling you something's wrong."
Cross's voice is as powerful as ever, with as good a range as always. Christopher was even cool enough to stick around and sign numerous autographs after the show. There's something to be said about the advantages of a dwindling audience for a performer that only gets better with time--a closer connection to the artist.
[*** 1/2] - Steven T.
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