Christopher Cross In The Spotlight
Award-winning soft-rock star is still delivering music that touches the heart and soul
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CHRISTOPHER Cross didn’t waste any time––not one single minute––to give his fans what they had come to hear during his recent sold-out performance at City Winery. Within the first three notes he played on his guitar, everyone knew they were about to be serenaded with his award-winning and signature song “Sailing.” Although it was released 38 years ago, the captivating tune still has the power to prompt a know-all-the-words sing-along by lovers of the man and his music.
That song set the tone for a night of memorable music, with much of it coming from Cross’ self-titled, debut album Christopher Cross. The album not only introduced the singer/musician to the world, it generated five Grammy Awards, including––in a historic accomplishment––the four most prestigious awards (Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Sailing”, Best New Artist and Album of the Year). It also produced a Grammy for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist (s).
Before the show began, excited audience members, some who hand nothing more in common than Cross’ music, talked about the three “must play” tunes they expected to hear, and with “Sailing,” Cross already had given them the first one. For the next 90-plus minutes, Cross, relaxed and engaging in the intimacy of his surroundings, delivered a mellow, sometimes upbeat performance that alternately had the crowd swooning at one moment and dancing in the aisles the next. Like “Sailing,” several of those tunes came from the 1980 Album of the Year, including “Never Be The Same,” “I Really Don’t Know Anymore,“ “Say You’ll Be Mine” and “The Light Is On.”
As the night progressed, Cross’ other nine CDs were similarly represented, highlighting the 66-year-old, San Antonio native’s versatility and diverse tastes in music. That was clearly indicated by an impressive repertoire of varied songs such as “Reverend Blowhard,” “Walking in Avalon,” “Dreamers,” "Simple," "Wishing Well" and the notable “All Right (I Think We’re Gonna Make It)” and the heartfelt “Think of Laura,” a tune Cross wrote in 1982 to honor the memory of his girlfriend’s 18-year-old best friend after she was killed by a stray bullet while riding in a car with her parents.
After that tribute, it was time for the City Winery crowd’s next “must play” song, “Arthur’s Theme,” a tune written by Cross, the legendary Burt Bacharach and Carol Bayer Sager for the movie Arthur, starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1981, giving Cross an Oscar to go alongside his five Grammys. While Cross sang, video clips from the movie were presented along with film of Cross sharing some joyous moments with the movie’s stars and the co-writers of the song. After the song, Cross made a point of saying, “There will only be one 'Arthur,' Dudley Moore.”
At that point an eager audience member couldn’t contain herself any longer and yelled, “Play ‘Ride Like The Wind’!” Without hesitating and with some humor, Cross replied, “I think of the words ‘delayed gratification.’ If I play it now, you’ll just get undressed in front of all these people.” When the laughter faded, the show continued and included a three-song acoustic set of tunes from his Secret Ladder CD before ending with the crowd’s final “must play” song–-and the previously requested––“Ride Like The Wind.” On its feet, the crowd rocked and rolled to the classic tune that was the first song released from Cross’ award-winning first album and includes the soaring background vocals of music legend Michael McDonald.
Not yet satisfied, a frantic, cheering crowd brought Cross back to the stage and prompted two encores, the final one an impassioned version of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
All in all, it was a night that revealed Christopher Cross––almost four decades after his first song–-is still a relevant, purposeful and entertaining music maker who created some new and lasting memories for some longtime, adoring and dedicated fans.
For upcoming City Winery events, go to www.citywinery.com.
As part of his current tour, multiple Grammy Award-winning singer/musician Christopher Cross performed during a sold-out show at City Winery.
One of the special moments of the night––in a night of several special moments––came when actor/musician Gary Sinise, in a video presentation, introduced Cross’ song “We Will Remember You,” a tribute to members of the armed forces. The proceeds generated by the tune, Cross said, go to the Gary Sinise Foundation, which supports and honors the nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders and their families. “My father was an Army doctor and my mother, a nurse,” Cross says. “I feel strongly that returning vets and those who made the ultimate sacrifice deserve to be recognized and never forgotten.”
"If I play it ['Ride Like The Wind'] now, you'll just get undressed in front of all these people."
–– Christopher Cross