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,

Monday, August 24, 2009

Keith Urban in Washington, D.C. 08-20-09


I was looking forward to celebrating my birthday with my girlfriends as we drove into D.C. to see Sugarland and Keith Urban perform at the Verizon Center on August 20th. We had just sat down to dinner when I received a text from a radio station I occasionally share photos with. I was to meet them at Will Call.

I left thinking I’d be right back but I was very wrong. The radio station surprised me with a pass to Keith Urban’s Backstage Experience and said I had to hurry if I was going to make it! I hustled after Brian, one of the DJs, texting my friends along the way, apologizing for leaving them with my half eaten dinner and an unpaid bill. They told me not to worry, to go ahead and have fun.

The Backstage Experience consists of a group of about 60-70 people gathered together for a BBQ Dinner, a group photo with Keith, a video presentation of the making of the tour, and a brief acoustic performance by Keith himself. For our acoustic performance Keith played “Jeans On,” a selection from his Golden Road Album requested by a young lady seated up front.

As soon as Keith finished playing another girl asked him to sing “Happy Birthday” for her friend, Lisa. Keith agreed but before he could start, Brian called out from the back where we were standing, “Hey Keith! It’s Cheryl Walker’s birthday too! You need to sing Happy Birthday to Cheryl Walker!” Keith replied, “What… you want first and last names???!!” and Brian said “I’m sure there’re other Cheryls in the room and it’s THIS Cheryl,” pointing to me. With a big grin on his face Keith said, “Oh THAT Cheryl Walker right there? THAT Cheryl?” He then proceeded to sing “Happy Birthday” to us and when he got to our names he sang, “Happy Birthday to Lisa and Cheryl, that Cheryl right there, over there that Cheryl.” It was hilarious and certainly one of the most unforgettable birthdays I’ll have for years to come.

After the Backstage Experience we headed into the arena where Sugarland was already on stage. You would never know Jennifer Nettles had struggled with any type of vocal problems recently. Although when her mic cut off for an extended period of time and I could see Jennifer’s lips moving but there was no sound and I feared the worst. Thankfully it was only a technical problem. Her voice was amazingly strong the rest of the evening and the entire performance was a joy to watch – so energetic and fun.

The crowd erupted when Keith Urban came out singing “Hit the Ground” and indeed he hit the ground running with 2 hours of well paced non-stop entertainment. From his current chart topping singles “Kiss A Girl” and “Sweet Thing” to classic hits “Days Go By” and “Somebody Like You,” Keith held the audience in the palm of his hand. Weaving his spell with uniquely designed guitars (imagine lights and mirrors) Keith’s technique and incredible fret work demonstrated jaw-dropping skill.

Wanting to make this concert enjoyable for fans in every corner of the arena, Keith has employed a unique set of 5 huge hi-def screens that rotate and bring another dimension to his tour. Leaving the stage to get personal with the fans, Keith strolled through the crowd like a modern day minstrel making his way to the satellite stage in the back of the arena to perform a few songs and later into the stands to sing a selection.

This is definitely one concert you don’t want to miss!! Be sure and check Keith Urban's Official Tour schedule (http://www.keithurban.net/tourdates.html) for concert dates and see if he's coming to a city near you!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

American Idol - Washington, D.C. 08-04-09


My friends and I joined thousands of other “arm chair judges” for American Idol Season 8 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC on August 4th to hear our favorite contestants perform. Many had differing opinions about who should have won but we were all there to show our support and enjoy an evening of good music. We were not disappointed. With few exceptions every performer sounded surprisingly good with a full band and backup singers for support.

Michael Sarver, the oil rigger, worked hard to get everyone up and dancing with fair results as he opened the show. Megan Joy was still quirky but now looked more like a Barbie doll in a slinky pink dress and heels with sparkles on her tattoo instead of the flower child she appeared to be on TV. Scott MacIntyre was the first to really connect with the crowd despite his blindness. He joked between numbers and demonstrated remarkable piano skills. Next up was Lil Rounds who finally looked like she was having fun by her third number, dancing and singing “Single Ladies” (Beyonce’).

Anoop Desai mixed it up with ballads and dance numbers throwing in a few moves that elicited squeals from fans. Then Matt Girard, minus his facial mole and sporting a faux hawk hair cut, took to the piano with confidence, singing and playing with plenty of showmanship and ability. I enjoyed his set as well as the piano duets he performed later with Scott during the group performance.

Allison Iraheta remained true to her rocker style playing guitar and belting out the lyrics with a wind machine blowing her hair all around. She definitely took ownership of the stage with the maturity of someone twice her age but not one of her songs varied in intensity. They were all fierce and it sometimes sounded like she was yelling. I hope she still has a voice by the end of the tour.

Of all the Idols, Danny Gokey surprised me most. He looked like he was truly enjoying himself dancing and singing “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson. I was impressed by how well he related to the crowd making eye contact and covering every corner of the stage. During his set Danny briefly mentioned the tragic loss of his wife and encouraged us all “not to let tragedy define you” and “don’t let it keep you from following your dreams.” He then proceeded to sing “My Wish” (Rascal Flatts) with conviction and emotion. I enjoyed his full, throaty voice and sincere delivery.

Judging by sound of the cheers and screams that accompanied his appearance it was clear Adam Lambert was the house favorite. The show quickly went from G to R rated with his seductive movements and flamboyance. Adam really knows how to work a crowd and he certainly did during the opening number “Whole Lotta Love” (Zeppelin). The songs “Starlight” (Muse) and “Mad World” (Tears for Fears) allowed him to show off his impressive vocal range and ability. Then he was joined by Allison Iraheta for “Slow Ride” (Foghat) and it was hard to tell who was having more fun – Allison or Adam. He wrapped up his set with a David Bowie Medley – “Life on Mars/Fame/Let’s Dance” shedding his jacket, strutting his stuff, and making me wonder how we’ve gotten here from the days when Elvis’ dance moves were considered shocking.

Kris Allen proved he was worthy of the Idol title when he opened his set playing guitar and singing “Heartless” (West/The Fray). His voice was full and strong. Kris delivered “Ain’t No Sunshine” (Winters) with equal intensity and abandon, getting lost in the lyrics. It was obvious he was in his comfort zone behind either guitar or piano. It was as if we were guests in his studio watching as he immersed himself into the music. If only he would look up and acknowledge our presence - but then it just might break the spell.

Michael Sarver
In Love With A Girl,
Gavin DeGraw
Closer, Ne-Yo
Megan Joy
Put Your Records On, Corrine Bailey Rae
Tears Dry on Their Own, Amy Winehouse
Scott MacIntyre
Bend & Break, Keane
A Thousand Miles, Vanessa Carlton
Lil Rounds
Be Without You/Just Fine, Mary J. Blige
No One, Alicia Keys
Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), Beyoncé
Anoop Desai
Always On My Mind, Willie Nelson/Elvis Presley
Mad, Ne-Yo
My Prerogative, Bobby Brown
Matt Giraud
Hard to Handle, Otis Redding/Black Crowes
Georgia on My Mind, Ray Charles/Hoagy Carmichael, Stuart Gorrell
You Found Me, The Fray
Production Number
Megan & Lil: Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, Four Seasons/Andy Williams
Scott & Matt: Tell Her About It, Billy Joel
Michael: Suspicious Minds, Elvis Presley
Anoop, Matt, Scott, Michael, Lil, Megan: Beggin’, Four Seasons/Madcon
Allison Iraheta
So What, Pink
Cry Baby, Garnet Mimms/Janis Joplin
Barracuda, Heart
Danny Gokey
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing), Michael Jackson
Maria Maria, Santana
What Hurts the Most, Rascal Flatts
My Wish, Rascal Flatts
Adam Lambert
Whole Lotta Love, Led Zeppelin
Starlight, Muse
Mad World, Tears for Fears/Gary Jules
Slow Ride, Foghat (with Allison Iraheta)
Life on Mars/Fame/Let’s Dance, David Bowie
Kris Allen
Heartless, Kanye West/The Fray
All These Things That I’ve Done, The Killers
Ain’t No Sunshine, Bill Withers
Bright Lights, Matchbox 20
Hey Jude, The Beatles (with several other Idols)
Group Idol Finale
Entire Group: Don’t Stop Believing, Journey (with a chorus of Steam’s Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye