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,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

American Idol Live Tour in Washington, DC August 19, 2011

My husband and I enjoyed being “armchair judges” as we watched Season 10 of American Idol.  We each had our favorites and decided it would be fun to see them perform live when the Tour came to the Verizon Center August 19.

We were pleasantly surprised to discover a new and improved American Idol Tour compared to years past.  Previously contestants would come out to perform in the order they were eliminated so you would have to wait a long time to see your favorite if they were closer to the top.  This time there were more group numbers and duets mixed in plus contestants were utilized as background singers for occasional solo performances.  Of course if your favorite happened to be the winner, Scotty McCreery, you had to wait for the second half of the show before he even set foot on the stage.

Now I’m sure everyone who watched American Idol has an opinion on who’s a better singer or performer and I’m not here to debate that, I’m simply sharing my personal observations.

•    Thia Megia is cute as a button and I was surprised by her poise on stage.  She waved and engaged the younger crowd.
•     Naima Adedapo is a live wire and I thoroughly enjoyed watching her dance as much as listening to her sing.  She appeared very comfortable on stage.
•    Pia Toscano has a beautiful voice and is a lovely girl but she just didn’t seem to connect with the audience.
•    Paul McDonald seemed to enjoy performing in such a big arena and was mildly successful in getting folks to stand and sing.
•    Stefano Langone worked the stage and the crowd but I failed to see the need for him to yank off his shirt just as the lights dimmed.
•    Casey Abrams played his bass fiddle in addition to singing and looked as though he was having a great time engaging the ladies in the front row.
•    To be honest I hadn’t been blown away by Jacob Lusk but on stage he sang with utter abandon and pure enjoyment.  He was truly fun to watch.
•    It took a while for us to locate James Durbin because he entered from the rear of the Verizon Center and made his way through the crowd and onto the stage for his set.  He was energetic, enthusiastic and hit some pretty amazing notes.
•    Haley Reinhart was sultry and saucy and I was a bit surprised by the lack of participation when she invited the audience to sing along on “Benny and the Jets.”  It begs the question: are folks are still put out by the fact that James was eliminated before Haley?
•    I’m sorry those who had tickets for the Baltimore show didn’t get a chance to hear Lauren Alaina due  to her vocal problems but she was in full voice in D.C.  I only noticed an occasional rasp when she spoke.  Her performance was solid and I have a feeling once the tour is over and she is completely rested she will be even better.
•    After a tremendous build up and introduction, Scotty McCreery finally took the stage.  He was relaxed, comfortable and thankfully no longer held the microphone like a flute.  Scotty was definitely the crowd favorite and he acknowledged this with several handshakes, waves and nods.

For more photos see: American Idol Live Tour Photos by C Walker

1.     The Girls – “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga
2.      Pia Toscano – Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys & Jay z
3.      Pia Toscano and Stefano Langone – “California King Bed” by Rihanna
4.     Paul McDonald – Maggie May by Rod Stewart
5.     Thia Megia – “Who Says” by Selena Gomez
6.     Pia, Thia, Haley & Naima – “Tightrope” by Janelle Monae
7.     Stefano Langone – “Grenade” by Bruno Mars
8.     Stefano Langone and the Girls doing “DJ Got Us Falling In Love.” by Usher
9.     Guys w/o Scotty- “Animal” by Neon Trees
10.    Naima Adedapo – “On The Floor” by Jennifer Lopez
11.    Pia Toscano – New Single! “This Time”
12.    Lauren, Pia and Thia – “Firework”
13.    Casey Abrams – “Smooth” by Rob Thomas and Santana
14.    Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart – Moanin
15.    Casey Abrams – Harder to Breath by Maroon 5
16.    Group Number – “Forget You” – Minus Scotty
17.    Lauren Alaina – “Flat on the Floor” by Carrie Underwood
18.    Lauren Alaina – “Like My Mother Does” New Single!
19.    Lauren, Haley, Thia, and Stefano – “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry
20.    James Durbin – “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns and Roses
21.    James Durbin – “Uprising” by Muse
22.    Jacob Lusk – “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross
23.    Jacob Lusk with Pia, Naima and Stefano – “You’re All I Need To Get By” by Marvin Gaye and Tami Terrell
24.    Haley Reinhart – “House of the Rising Sun”
25.    Haley Reinhart – “Bennie and the Jets”
26.    Scotty McCreery – “Your Man” by Josh Turner
27.    Scotty McCreery – “Are You Going to Kiss Me Or Not” by Thompson Square
28.    Scotty McCreery – “I Love You This Big” New single!
29.    Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina – “When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krause
30.    Scotty McCreery with Lauren, Thia, Pia and Haley – “Gone” by Montgomery Gentry
    Entire Group: Medley James & Lauren – “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake, Paul, Haley & Casey join with “Faithfully” by Journey, Stefano & Naima Adedapo join with “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith, Thia & Jacob join and everyone

Published in the Star Exponent: see article here

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tim McGraw's Concert August 13, 2011


Tim McGraw’s Emotional Traffic Tour came to a close in Bristow, VA on August 13, 2011 and it was full of surprises.

 Opening act The Band Perry is a delightfully energetic, entertaining group of siblings who have honed their craft to perfection.  As they sang “If I Die Young” the air was filled with voices singing along with The Band Perry bringing a smile to their faces.  They thanked Tim McGraw for the opportunity and experience of opening his show and are poised for headlining a tour of their own this fall in addition to opening for Reba and Keith Urban.

Luke Bryan brought levity and laughter to the stage as he sang and danced his way through “Country Man” and “Rain Is A Good Thing” but it was the song “Country Girl Shake It For Me” that really stirred things up.  Bryan was “pranked” by male tour mates who paraded around in short-shorts and tiny pink shirts that exposed bare midriffs causing Bryan to fall on the stage laughing uncontrollably.  The stunt left him momentarily speechless.  Bryan eventually gathered himself enough to finish the song to a roar of applause from the audience.

As the lights dimmed the crowd was caught off guard to find Tim McGraw in the back of the pavilion to open the show singing “Something Like That.”  He continued with “Where the Green Grass Grows” and finally began to make his way down to the front while singing “Down on the Farm” shaking hands all along the way.  When he finally reached the main stage to perform “Last Dollar (Fly Away)” a young fan was lifted onto the stage to join him and sing along.

Throughout the evening McGraw walked back & forth, and up & down along the catwalk slapping hands raised high, signing posters and connecting with fans almost to the detraction of his songs.  I’m sure those fans who captured his attention would disagree with me.

First The Band Perry and later Luke Bryan returned to sing selections with McGraw.  It was Bryan’s humorous serenade using a version of Taylor Swift’s “Tim McGraw” that made it difficult for McGraw to transition to a more serious performance of “Better Than I Used To Be.”  After three false starts the band and McGraw finally settled into the song.

It was obvious that the artists were having fun with each other, especially since this was their final performance on tour together.  As audience members it felt a bit special to be witnesses to the jokes, pranks and camaraderie that often occur among tour mates.  It was definitely a one-of-a-kind night.