It seemed like George Harrison tribute week in L.A., wrapping up with a Sheryl Crow show at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday that paid implicit tribute to the Quiet One. Crow’s new album, “Wildflower,” sounds deeply steeped in the Harrison of the early ‘70s, with its relaxed feel and generous dollops of melancholy slide guitar. So it was no huge surprise when her entrance music at the Bowl was Harrison’s recording of “What Is Life.” But her album’s near-constant orchestration also recalls the early ‘70s work of Elton John, so—given that she’s bringing a hefty string section out on this mini-tour—it wasn’t much more of a shock when she closed out the encores with a nice cover of “Levon.”
Crow, for me, has been someone who’s a great record-maker but whose live shows tend toward the predictable, so I was happy to see her mixing it up with those string, arranged and conducted by David Campbell (Beck’s increasingly busy dad). The orchestra played on everything in her two-hour set except “My Favorite Mistake” and “All I Wanna Do,” and while strings are certainly integral to her almost entirely balladic new batch of material, the subtle shadings they bring to aging album-track rockers like “Maybe Angels” is the real reason to catch this limited run of shows.
That, and the chance to see how Crow’s musculature lends itself to a wedding dress.
It was midway through the show that the singer revealed that thebillowy white gown she had on was, indeed, her matrimonial frock, whichmight explain why she didn’t ditch it for something less sheer on asouthern California night that actually felt like fall. References toLance and the recent nuptials weren’t in short supply: “I’ve been gonefor a while, I can’t lie,” she said. “But while I was gone, I got inpretty good shape, you know what I’m saying? It’s hard to make recordsand tour AND train for the Tour de France.”
Three nights earlier, more overt tribute to George Harrison was paidat a launch party for the DVD release of “The Concert for Bangladesh”at the Warner Bros. studio lot. Following a star-studded screening ofthe DVD’s new documentary featurette (there seemed to be some confusionabout whether they would screen the actual movie or not—to the surpriseof many, they didn’t), attendees moved outside for a short concert bymany of the surviving players from the original “Bangladesh” band.Billy Preston sang several Harrison songs, joined by musiciansincluding Jim Keltner, Klaus Voorman, and — on “Isn’t It a Pity” –Ringo. George’s dead-ringer son Dhani Harrison played guitar and sangharmony, though he didn’t take any leads, denying us of the chance tofind out if his resemblance to his dad extends to his voice too.