A Word from Cheryl:

Thank you for visiting my Concert Review Blog. I have enjoyed attending, photographing and writing about a variety of concerts over the past several years. I hope that my reviews and photos have made you feel like you were right there with me.

At this time in my life I've taken a step back, looked at what’s truly important and have begun to prioritize my time, energy and resources.

I retired from nursing in 2012 and was then able to be with my aging father, who later passed away in June, 2013.

My family is growing dramatically! We now have eight grandchildren and I take every opportunity to be available to help when needed. I also make sure I carve out plenty of time for my husband so that he knows how important he is to me.

Because of this I don't attend many concerts anymore. I try to be selective in choosing a show and do my best to relax and enjoy the experience. I no longer stress about getting the perfect photo or remembering some occurrence so I can write about it.

If you want to view a collection of some of my favorite photos from the past several years you may find them here:
Cheryl's Pearls Photos - Concerts

Thanks again for visiting my site.

May God Bless,

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Keith Urban & Dierks Bentley - Roanoke, VA


After juggling schedules, arranging babysitters, and traveling hundreds of miles, my friends and I descended upon Roanoke, VA along with thousands of others to “Escape Together” with Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley May 29th at the Roanoke Civic Center. We’d been looking forward to this night out for months and it had finally arrived!

As a member of Dierks Bentley’s Fan Club I applied for and won a meet and greet with him. It was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. – the moment the doors opened. Security graciously allowed all fan club members to enter early then led us to a hallway where we waited for admittance into a room to meet Dierks. When we entered, Dierks greeted us then took time with each individual, speaking directly to them. I had prepared a small gift bag which included coffee for Dierks and some cute little socks for his daughter, Evie. Dierks was like a big kid and said, “Ooohhh – what’s in the bag???” He proceeded to open it, took a deep whiff of the coffee, asked where it was from (my hometown), then held it out for his tour manager to smell and declared it “awesome!” He also thanked me for the socks saying they were perfect.

After meeting each individual and getting a group photo Dierks gave us time to ask a few questions. Someone asked what was on that CD he gave George Strait on the ACM TV Special. He said they just wanted him to give George a blank CD as a prop but Dierks actually gave George a song he had written. He said George told him that he’d put it with all the other songs he gets everyday. Dierks shook his head, laughed and said, “I can’t believe he said that to me! But then only George can say that and get away with it.”

Someone else asked what his next single would be from his new album and Dierks replied, “We’re gonna play it tonight – “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes.”” Everyone nodded their approval. Then Dierks said he needed to get going so the concert could start on time. He hugged the ladies goodbye and shook hands with the guys. We left the room convinced that Dierks Bentley is one of the nicest country artists in the business.

True to his word Dierks started the show at 7:30 p.m. sharp. He was a fireball on stage, running from side to side, jumping up on monitors or the drum stand, absorbing the energy from the crowd and giving it back again. “Sideways,” “How Am I Doin?” and “Free & Easy,” were highly energetic songs. He and the band did a wonderful bluegrass rendition of “Come A Little Closer.” He pulled a fan onto the stage to watch a video with him. They laid down and donned 3-D glasses at the beginning of “What Was I Thinkin’?” then Dierks jumped up and sang the song live. He frequently interacted with fans that were closest to him, giving “high-fives” and chatting them up. It was a great opening for the main attraction.

The lights went down, a smoky mist filled the stage as Keith Urban strolled to the center mic and began his set appropriately with song “Hit the Ground Runnin’.” In total it was a non-stop, fast paced, rollercoaster thrill ride. The audience sang along with many familiar hits like “Days Go By,” “Where the Blacktop Ends,” “Sweet Thing,” “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me,” “Kiss A Girl,” and “Somebody Like You,” just to name a few. Keith performed a total of 20 songs not to mention the times he stepped back and gave his band members (Brad Rice, Chris Rodriguez, Brian Nutter and Jerry Flowers) an opportunity to shine with solos of their own. Then there was the duet with Dierks – “Take It To the Limit” – which was absolutely priceless! (Many thanks to Kristen for the video) Dierks had the words to the song written on his arm. Mid-verse Keith spied them and held up Dierks’ arm for all to see the evidence. Dierks claimed he just wanted to be like Keith with a tattoo on his arm. Later during the song when Chris Rodriguez was playing a guitar solo Dierks showed Chris his arm insisting he also had chords on there for Chris’ benefit. It was hilarious and we were all rolling with laughter then singing at the top of our lungs when it was our turn to join in.

During the concert Keith ventured out into the crowd twice. Utilizing the catwalk ramps he walked back to the rear stage for “Once in a Lifetime,” and “Making Memories of Us” then returned to the main stage. Next he walked out and up into the stands as he played “You Look Good in My Shirt.”

The center catwalk served as a wonderful spot for “You’ll Think of Me,” and “Raining On Sunday.” The special effects were phenomenal for my new favorite “Til Summer Comes Around” where Keith does an amazing guitar riff.

I have to mention the incredible screens and lighting here. Those 5 huge screens are very mobile. As they swivel on tracks they can be directly behind Keith and the band reflecting footage from the film crew or recorded images, they can also swing up at an angle or even hang directly above them like a ceiling, creating swirling effects and mysterious moods. It’s quite a sight to behold. I was on sensory overload!

This truly was a great escape for my friends and me. It ranks up there as one of the best concerts I’ve seen in a long time. I’m looking forward with much anticipation to my next “escapade” in August when Keith is joined by Sugarland.

Kristen's Video:

Keith Urban - Dierks Bently Take It To The Limit

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jason Michael Carroll Concert - Charlottesville, VA 5-23-09


My friend, Lisa, and I visited beautiful downtown Charlottesville, VA this past weekend and saw Steve Azar, Keith Anderson and Jason Michael Carroll at the Charlottesville Pavilion.

I hadn’t seen Steve Azar in concert since December 2006 and let me just say the man puts on a fantastic show. He is extremely entertaining on guitar and I love the jazz / blues twist he gives to many of his songs. He introduced his new tune “Moo-La-Moo” in addition to playing some old favorites like “Waitin’ on Joe” and “I Don’t Have To Be Me ‘Til Monday.” I could have listened to more but all too soon the set was over and Steve was gone.

Next on stage was Keith Anderson. Now this guy has the ability to sing a rowdy number then turn right around and sing something so moving it gives you chills. He is “tough and tender” personified. And he has quite a following as evidenced by the sign waving ladies in the audience who volunteered to be the object of one of Keith’s famous hugs when he sang “Somebody Needs A Hug.”

Lisa and I were quite surprised by the average attendance at this concert. Of course it WAS a holiday weekend (Memorial Day) and it IS a college town with University of Virginia being so close by. Most of the college students have gone for the summer. Obviously their loss was our gain.

When Jason Michael Carroll stepped onto the stage he invited everyone in the back and on the lawn to move up closer. A few of the folks in the front row didn’t seem too happy about that but Jason made everyone up there feel welcome as he sang and signed almost anything anyone handed to him – shirts, hats, tickets, etc. This is a wonderful gesture when done in moderation. Quite frankly I would have liked to see more of Jason’s face looking out at the crowd relating to the whole audience as he conveyed the message of his songs. Plus the boy can definitely dance and that’s always fun. Jason is energetic in his performance and I love the deep resonant tone of his voice. His southern charm comes through whether he’s singing country rock like “Barn Burner” and “I Can Sleep When I’m Dead” or a ballad like “Alyssa Lies.”

Jason’s son, JW, is adorable and he joined Jason on stage for “George Strait Cover Band” and “Livin’ Our Love Song,” mimicking his father’s moves, singing into his own little microphone. Jason has even taught JW how to make a “rock face” by sticking out his tongue and holding up pinky and pointer fingers. The crowd was charmed by this small lad.

All in all it was a delightful concert and an enjoyable day. We had a great time singing, dancing, and listening to both new and familiar music on a beautiful, summer evening. Who could ask for anything more?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Casting Crowns perfoms in Charlottesville, VA 5-15-09


The Grammy winning contemporary Christian music group, Casting Crowns, performed for a very receptive crowd Friday, May 15th, at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA. If you are unfamiliar with Casting Crowns, it is comprised of 7 very talented individuals: Mark Hall, lead vocals; Megan Garrett, piano , vocals; Melodee DeVevo, violin, vocals; Juan DeVevo, guitar, vocals; Hector Cervantes, guitar, vocals; Chris Huffman, bass, vocals; and Brian Scoggin, drums.

Performing several songs from their current album “The Altar and the Door” lead vocalist Mark Hall explained, “"When we're at the altar, everything makes sense, we know what we're supposed to do. We know how we're supposed to live. Everything's black and white. But somewhere between the altar and the door, when we leave and go out into our lives, it all leaks out, and everything gets gray again. The Christian life is the journey between the altar and the door, trying to get the things you've got in your head, your hands, your feet, and into your life.”

Mark often referred to himself as “a dork” and someone who is on the journey himself. He has a wonderful gift of communication, making you feel as though he’s the guy next door. Someone you can relate to, someone who understands. And that’s not surprising for when he isn’t touring with Casting Crowns he’s a Youth Pastor in McDonough, Georgia.

Mark kept the audience entertained with stories behind the songs and countries the band has visited. When he shared about their trip to Korea we found ourselves encouraged to sing along in Korean, laughing as we made the attempt.

Many in the crowd joined in singing well known praise songs like “The Voice of Truth,” and “Who Am I?” Megan Garrett gave a masterful performance of “I Know You’re There” and Melodee DeVevo’s violin solo on “Praise You With the Dance” was invigorating! Hector Cervantes rocked the house with his rendition of “My Redeemer Lives.”

Speaking a word of caution before singing “Slow Fade” Mark encouraged us to guard our hearts and minds with what we watch, read, and listen to. "People don't crumble in a day. You don't fall, you fade," Hall explains. "In your mind, there's that pride that says 'I'd never do that'... but you don't just do it, it's a slow series of compromises, little ones that go there, until eventually you're sitting in a place you'd never go, doing something you'd never do... and yet the way you're living totally makes sense to you somehow because you're so numb."

Songs like “If We Are the Body,” and “What If His People Prayed” challenged us to a more responsible walk of faith. Casting Crowns knows just where to shine the light. I came away refreshed, renewed and hopeful for a better tomorrow.