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, May 24, 2010

Brad Paisley's Water Tour - Bristow, VA


I should have known.  With a name like “The Water Tour” and its ominous beginning with most of Brad Paisley’s equipment lost during the Nashville flood we were destined to get wet when the weather forecast called for a chance of rain.  Sure enough just as they opened the gates for the concert it began to pour.

At least the performers on the side stage “Water World Plaza” were covered but all of us concert goers were left to fend for ourselves.  Ponchos, caps, umbrellas, tarps – whatever could be found was used to defend against the rain.  Many just gave up and got wet.

The fact that we showed up and endured was not lost on the artists.  Over and over again they expressed their appreciation for all the people who supported them and their music enough to stand in the rain and sing along.

Steel Magnolia, Josh Thompson and Easton Corbin all did a great job on the side stage and the crowd never diminished, in fact it was constantly building despite the falling rain.

Finally it was time for the main stage acts.  Justin Moore was full of sass and swagger and a deep southern boy drawl as he kicked things off with his current hit “Backwoods.”  He seemed comfortable interacting with the crowd and moving about.  There were times during his set when I saw a hint of Dwight Yoakam in his body movements.

Darius Rucker credits country radio for his current success and seemed genuinely happy to be performing for his fans.  His emotion was contagious.   Whether he was singing the fun-loving “Alright,” a tender ballad like “It Won’t Be Like This For Long,” a song from his Hootie & the Blow Fish days “Hold My Hand,” or even a Prince cover like “Purple Rain,” Darius had folks dancing in the aisles, singing and having a great time right along with him.


Brad Paisley promised to “rock our faces off” and indeed he went the extra mile for his fans.  Brad rarely stayed in one place all night long frequently walking the catwalk, venturing down into the crowd to play a guitar solo, later leaving the stage walking through the audience playing and singing then camping out on a little satellite stage way out in the 300 section for a couple of songs before returning to the main stage.  Looking out in amazement at all the people packing the lawn Brad was extremely appreciative for their perseverance as the rain continued to fall.

I’m always impressed by Brad’s animations and high tech video screen.  I wasn’t the only one who did a double take when the spotlight landed on Alison Krauss sitting on a stool in the corner of the stage during “Whisky Lullaby.”  For a moment I thought she was really there.  Having Andy Griffith appear on screen during “Waitin’ On A Woman” was equally as much fun especially the outtake after the song.

I have to give kudos to Brad Paisley and his team for pulling together and getting this wonderful show on the road in such a timely fashion.   Rain or shine, this concert is a must see.   It’s brimming with talent, overflowing with fun and even if you get soaking wet when you go – they sell really nice t-shirts!

Link to Water Tour Concert photos by CWalker

Published:  Star Exponent   Reposted: Urban Country Blog

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dierks Bentley & The Travelin' McCoury's - Richmond, VA


Dierks Bentley has a new album coming out June 8 entitled “Up On The Ridge” which is reported to have a more “bluegrass” feel to it.  Dierks co-wrote five of the 12 songs and enlisted artists Tim O'Brien , Alison Krauss, Chris Thile, The Punch Brothers, Kris Kristofferson, Vince Gill, Miranda Lambert, Jamey Johnson, and Del McCoury to assist him.

“I’m a songwriter and a musician; my roots are in acoustic country and bluegrass music,” said Dierks. Bluegrass is very wide ranging, according to Dierks, and it goes from “hard core traditional” to “way out there” – it’s just as diverse as country music.

Dierks is touring smaller venues giving a preview of his new album and I had an opportunity to see him with The Travelin’ McCoury’s at The National in Richmond May 18.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but from the creative opening notes of Rob McCoury’s banjo and Jason Carter’s fiddle leading into Dierks’ “Free and Easy,” followed by a brilliant rendition of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” I knew this was going to be a magical night.  The 2 other Travelin’ McCoury’s: Ron McCoury (mandolin), Alan Bartram (bass) plus Dierks’ band mates Steve Misamore (drums) and Tim Sergent (steel guitar) made up the band for the evening.

Dierks introduced 4 songs from his soon to be released album:  the title cut “Up on the Ridge,” a version of Bob Dylan’s “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)“ “Fiddlin’ Around,” and “Draw Me A Map.”  I found the songs enjoyable, toe tappin’, and meaningful.  I’m counting the days until I can purchase a copy.

Not only did Dierks mix it up by playing several of his hits (see set list) but he and the Travelin’ McCoury’s did some great cover songs. “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam is such a lovely song and they performed it beautifully!  “Midnight Rider” (Allman Brothers Band) started slow but changed pace with a bluegrass tempo adding quite a twist.   Hayes Carll (opening act) was invited back onstage to join them singing “All My Ex’s Live In Texas” by George Strait.  This ended up being a fun sing-along song and had the artists on stage grinning at the enthusiastic audience participation.

Finally Dierks and the Travelin’ McCoury’s closed the show with “Eastbound and Down” (from Smoky & the Bandit – a Jerry Reed cover).  A rousing and fitting finish to an evening packed with extraordinary musicianship.   I couldn’t help but notice how much they appeared to enjoy playing music together; giving a nod at a good performance, yielding the floor for a solo, challenging each other to go faster, laughing and patting one another on the back.  But even more amazing was the speed of their skillful playing and the endurance required to sustain it.

Dierks Bentley has said many times that if he hadn’t discovered bluegrass, he’d never have become a country singer or landed a record deal.   His love for country was kindled by the energy and artistry of bluegrass, and he’s never lost his passion for it.  Personally, I think he’s kindling a brand new interest in bluegrass, Bentley-style.

Set List (The National - Richmond, VA)
* -  selections from the new album "Up on the Ridge"
1.    Free & Easy (with instrumental intro)
2.    Foggy Mountain Breakdown
3.    Fiddlin’ Around *
4.    Feel That Fire
5.    Rovin’ Gambler (traditional bluegrass)
6.    Draw Me A Map *
7.    Lot of Leavin’ Left To Do
8.    Good Man Like Me
9.    Up On The Ridge *
10.    Settle For A Slow Down
11.    Midnight Rider (Allman Brothers Band cover)
12.    Sideways
13.    Señor (Tales of Yankee Power) *
14.    Evangelina
15.    Come A Little Closer
16.    How Am I Doin’
17.    All My Ex’s Live In Texas (George Strait Cover)
18.    Just Breathe (Pearl Jam cover)
19.    What Was I Thinkin’
20.    Eastbound & Down (from Smoky & the Bandit – Jerry Reed cover)

Dierks Bentley Concert photos by CWalker (click to view)

Published : The Star Exponent    Re-Posted: Urban Country Blog

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Billy Currington at Celebrate Virginia Live in Fredericksburg


The weather forecast called for a chance of thunderstorms May 14th during the Celebrate Virginia Live concert featuring Billy Currington so my friends and I packed our rain gear just in case and headed to Fredericksburg for the evening.  What we weren’t prepared for were heavy winds and dirt blowing all over the place.  By the time Billy took the stage I felt like I had dust and grime over every inch of my body.  I can’t imagine what it must have been like performing under those conditions.   I did wonder though, as the wind increased and thunderstorm warnings were issued, if Billy had flashbacks of his horrific experience in Alberta, Canada back in August 2009 when the stage collapsed during a wind storm and he suffered a concussion.  However Billy Currington is a true professional and he gave a great performance despite the threatening weather – now THAT’S how a country boy rolls!

 Billy sang many of his hits during the first half of his set – “Must Be Doin’ Something Right,” “Why, Why, Why,” “Don’t,”  “That’s How Country Boys Roll.”  His vocals were unaffected by all the dust.  He even managed to sing “I Got A Feelin’” without missing a beat while an over-sized cow mascot danced among the crowd right in front of him.

Billy really came alive in the second set after taking a short break and returned to the stage energized, ready for some fun.  He gave tribute to Kenny Rogers with “Lucille,” got funky with Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” and pumped up the crowd with Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason.”  He finished the concert singing crowd favorites like “Good Directions” and “People Are Crazy.”

Kip Moore opened the show for Billy.  I couldn’t help but notice that Kip seemed to be poured from the same mold as Billy, so to speak: a blue-eyed Georgia native, singer/songwriter with a delightful southern drawl and easy laugh.  His songs are catchy and my friends and I were disappointed we couldn’t get a CD.  “Faith When I Fall” is especially good and “Drive Me Crazy” has a strong beat and tends to stick in your head.  After seven long years of hard work Kip has finally landed a contract so I hope it’s the beginning of good things for this young man.  You can find him on MySpaceKipMooreMusic so give a listen and watch for this newcomer.