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, February 28, 2010

Winter Jam in Charlottesville, VA


It was a bargain!  All seats were ten dollars paid at the door - first come, first serve - and you got to see eight different groups perform.  It was called “Winter Jam” held at JPJ Arena in Charlottesville, VA on February 20th and the place was packed with young and old alike.

Kicking off the event was Revive - an energetic Australian group followed by a young seventeen year old solo artist named Robert Pierre who recently released his second album.

Sidewalk Prophets were well received by the crowd and concluded their set with their hit single “The Words I Would Say.”

I have to be honest Fireflight made me take flight.  Their hard rock sound was cranked so loud the walls were vibrating.  But they had plenty of admirers in the audience – different strokes for different folks, right?

NewSong sang with tight harmonies and passion.  Lead singer Russ Lee issued a challenge as he shared about a man who had no money to put in the offering plate so he stood in it and declared that he was giving himself to the Lord.  NewSong’s CD “Give Yourself Away” was made available to concert goers for whatever they could afford to pay.  Included in the CD was a second CD for the purchaser to give away to someone who may need encouragement.   What a unique concept!  Judging by the number of people flooding the halls heading to the merchandise tables during intermission I believe many people took them up on their offer.

The Newsboys, lead by Michael Tait, formerly of dcTalk, took the stage by storm.  It was non-stop entertainment with hits past and present.  I found myself grinning from ear to ear at Michael’s exuberance and ability to draw the audience in.  While singing “Jesus Freak” Michael held onto a harness as the platform where he was standing rose from the catwalk then he swung down and lay flat on his back without missing a beat.  Crazy.  But Michael got very serious as he sang a personal song called “I’ll Be” about dark times when one looks for (and receives) assurance from God.

At this point in the program, Tony Noland gave an inspirational message and urged support for Holt International – a ministry supporting orphans until they can be adopted.  He even introduced us to his adopted daughter, Joy Fei Fei.

And if you were wondering how Winter Jam tickets could possibly be so cheap it’s because buckets are passed before intermission to receive donations from those who are willing and able to support the idea of making this concert affordable for everyone.

Next up was Tenth Avenue North, a local favorite since lead singer Mike Donehey grew up in nearby Fredericksburg, VA.  They sang their award winning hit “By Your Side” plus two other singles from the same album “Love Is Here” and “Hold My Heart.” They also performed “Break Me Down” to mix things up.  It was over all too soon for me.

Third Day was wonderful with Mac Powell on lead vocals singing several of their hits: “Sing a Song,”
“Creed,” “Call My Name.”  Later he was joined at the end of the catwalk by Dawn Michelle of Fireflight for a duet performance of “Born Again” followed by an acoustic rendition of “Cry Out to Jesus” which was absolutely lovely.

Mac also had Dave Hanbury of Revive take a verse on “God of Wonders” and it was awesome to hear a full arena of voices singing along on the chorus.  Mac closed out the evening with an acoustic rendition of “Angus Dei” then quietly slipped away leaving the audience singing, lost in the spirit of song and praise.

Published -  The Star Exponent

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shine All Night Tour in Fairfax, VA


My friends and I kept checking the Patriot Center website to make sure Martina McBride and Trace Adkins were still going to perform January 31st despite the heavy snowfall over the weekend.  We were not disappointed.  It was by far one of the more entertaining concerts I’ve been to in a while.

Opening for Trace and Martina was Sarah Buxton with singer/songwriter/guitarist Jedd Hughes.  Sarah has a single out now called “Outside My Window” which she & Jedd performed together along with Jedd’s song “Big Blue Sky”.  Both songs will be on Sarah’s upcoming album set to be released February 23rd.  Sarah also sang “Stupid Boy,” a song she wrote that was made popular when Keith Urban recorded it.

Trace Adkins started his set with “I Got My Game On” followed by “Swing” and “Songs About Me” then slowed things down with “I Wanna Feel Something” and the emotional “All I Ask For Anymore,” (which garnered two Grammy nominations for Trace).  He joked about not being at the Grammy’s this year (which were taking place the same time as the concert) and said he’d already “checked that ‘freak show’ off his bucket list.”  He figured someone would let him know if he won then yelled back stage to see if he’d gotten any phone calls.  Sorry Trace.

It surprises me how easily Trace can move from a tender song like “You’re Gonna Miss This” to a funny, tongue-in-cheek song such as “Marry For Money” and have us in tears of fond remembrance one minute or hoots of laughter the next.  He has a unique gift.

The highlight of Trace’s performance for me was when members of the Howard University Gospel Choir joined him on stage and together they sang “Muddy Water” as well as Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.”  Trace’s lower register is amazing, you can almost feel the walls shake when he hits those bass notes.

Martina McBride may be petite but she has an enormous voice.  No one sings “Broken Wing” quite like Martina, who received a standing ovation for her rendition.  “Happy Girl,” “Wild Angels,” and Independence Day,” were other crowd favorites.  Getting down on her knees, Martina gave a riveting performance of “I’m Trying” – a song about a woman who won’t give up on her man struggling against alcoholism.

At one point in the performance Martina climbed onto a large crescent moon and rode it over the audience to a satellite stage.  When she stepped off she quipped, “I guess you can all say you’ve officially been mooned by Martina McBride.”  She then proceeded to sing “Love’s the Only House” followed by “Blessed.”  As she made her way back to the main stage through the crowd she sang “This One’s For The Girls” and shook hands with many fans along her path.

Martina said she’s frequently been asked about her “unusual” pairing with Trace Adkins.  She replied they have several things in common.  Trace sings about a Badonkadonk, “And I have a Badonkadonk,” she said.  “Trace also sings the song about ‘One Hot Momma’ and well….” Martina left us to conclude that she fits the bill nicely.

Martina is a class act and has proven herself over the years with timeless hits.  As she sang “Whatever You Say” I noticed some tears in her eyes and couldn’t help but compare those words with careers of artists today in regard to ticket sales and fan support.  “I know you can hear me, but I’m not sure you’re listening. I hear what you’re sayin, but there’s something missin’. Whether I go, whether I stay, Right now depends on whatever you say.”
  I say with enthusiasm – STAY!