Sheryl Crow @ Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

This current UK tour may be to promote her current country album, Feels Like Home, but last night’s set at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall found that Sheryl Crow is still a rocker at heart.

With a backing band which at times played with as many as four guitarists, Crow’s lengthy back catalogue was given a dynamic airing over two hours which were packed with hits.  It’s sometimes easy to forget just how much Sheryl Crow has achieved over her 22-year career; this was an enjoyable reminder.

The energy and enthusiasm which would command this performance wasn’t immediately evident in the grungy opener Maybe Angels, but the tone was soon lightened in emphatic style with A Change Would Do You Good and All I Wanna Do bringing the Concert Hall to life, the latter inciting the evening’s first singalong.

New album Feels Like Home was represented in some of the nights rootsier moments.  Callin’ Me When I’m Lonely wept with heartache and pedal steel while Shotgun carried a large country riff following a touching introduction which brought us back to Sheryl’s childhood, with her parents seemingly in the audience.

But it was with the rockier elements of the show which really brought out the best in Crow – and particularly her band, with If It Makes You Happy and Everyday Is a Winding Road providing a perfect climax to the set, before a fitting encore cover of Led Zepplin’s Rock and Roll allowed her four guitar players to really let loose.

Elvis Costello @ Usher Hall, Edinburgh

With only six guitars and a piano for support and wearing an outfit not too dissimilar from a wise guy in the prohibition-era series Boardwalk Empire, Elvis Costello’s generation hopping journey through his sprawling back catalogue was as intimate an affair as you can get in a sold out hall of over 2,000 people.

A two-and-a-half hour setlist which covered everything from Veronica to Oliver’s Army and Watching The Detectives to his most recent song, The Last Year of My Youth, was punctuated with humour and reminiscence, as Costello explored the working class roots and styles behind his own brand of music.  He fashioned us with personal stories of playing his first gig with his orchestra singer father and of his grandfather’s life as a musician on the vast cruise ships of the twenties – “the Olympic, the Majestic, basically all the ic’s” – before the Great Depression struck.

Sitting two rows from one of the true greats of British music was an incredible experience; a real joy watching the versatility of his craft as he went from acoustic guitar to piano and back again, even introducing an electric guitar in the second encore where (What’s so Funny ‘bout) Peace, Love and Understanding brought the entire hall to its feet.