Christopher Cross

Written by on August 26, 2010 in August 26, 2010, Live Reviews - Comments Off on Christopher Cross

August 13, 2010
One World Theater
Austin, TX

Chuck Murphy Photography
Hutto, TX

Christopher CrossChristopher Cross has seen a varied musical career, but has shown that he has what it takes to still perform at the top. Christopher Cross (with a hand selected 6 piece band to back him up) performed at one of Austin’s greatest little venues that offer a close and personal performance between the artists and their audience when he came to One World Theater. With not a bad seat in the house (all 300 of them), and the furthest being only 60 feet away from the stage, it makes for a great evening. Austin is known as “The Live Music Capitol of the World”, and continues to offer the variety of entertainment that few cities can brag about.

Christopher moved to Austin in 1970 after being born in nearby San Antonio in 1951 and his family spending time in Japan with his father in the service. Christopher has had many brushes with legendary musicians. His first was when he sat in for Richie Blackmore of Deep Purple on their first US tour when Richie fell sick and Deep Purple was scheduled to play in San Antonio at a club called the Pussycat. Instead of Deep Purple canceling the show, they asked if there was a local guitarist that could fill in, Christopher Cross was recommended for the job as he was a well-known musician.

Putting in his time as a struggling artist, Christopher continued writing his own music, hoping one day to do things his way. After sending out multitudes of tapes to every label as aspiring artists did back in the day, Christopher was signed by Warner Brothers in 1979 after traveling to Austin to hear him perform live. Christopher’s race up the charts after his first album was nothing but amazing. Christopher is the only solo artist personally to win all of the “Big Four” Grammy Awards (Best Record, Song, Album, and New Artist) in 1981. Hits from this album included “Sailing”, “Ride Like the Wind” (which featured backing vocals by Michael McDonald) and “Never Be the Same”. Don Henley, another Texan (of The Eagles), and provided backup on two other of Christopher’s songs. This was all on the first album. Christopher’s appeal continued with hits like the sound track to the movie, “Arthur” which he co-wrote with Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, and Peter Allen for the smash Dudley Moore film comedy with the self-titled song; and his top ten song, “Think of Laura” that was featured prominently in the daytime soap, General Hospital; and he co-wrote and sang the delightful “Loving Strangers” for the hit 1986 Tom Hanks movie, Nothing in Common.

Christopher CrossThrough the last 31 years, Christopher has released fourteen albums, and continues to use his music as his solace in life. Through all those years Christopher has been able to maintain his voice and his music writing ability while going through two marriages. This particular evening, Christopher’s ninety year old mother was sitting in the front row to hear her son provide reminders to a sold out house of why he won all those Grammy’s and received so many other accolades.

Christopher started the evening by mentioning his Eric Johnson custom built Fender Stratocaster built by his longtime friend Eric Johnson of Austin. Christopher, with his band of excellent musicians as backup, played a fourteen song set that included some of his best known songs, such as; Sailing, Think of Laura, Arthur’s Theme, Ride Like the Wind and an encore that concluded with All Right.

This particular audience which surprisingly contained all ages from 10 years old on up to at least 90, (yes, really, ten years old, and with Mom) found his honesty and his skill as a musician/singer/songwriter has not diminished through all these years. Christopher’s voice was clean and clear, hitting every note he offered. The band offered a well-rehearsed rendition of Christopher’s well known music that was well received by the audience. Often times the audience applauded in the middle of a song to ensure they recognize a particular musician that had just performed a solo. The audience was often clapping in beat with the songs and applauded wildly after each number, obviously truly appreciating the level of quality entertainment before them. While listening to this performance, I was offered the chance to observe the audience and found many singing the songs quietly in unison with Christopher’s performance.

Christopher CrossChristopher CrossWas it great to see and hear Christopher Cross perform many of his greatest hits? Absolutely! Was he well received by an appreciative Austin crowd? No question. Will he be back? I’m confident he will. Should others go see this musician from the 80’s? Don’t kid yourself. This musician truly appreciates his gift of music and enjoys sharing the gift he was blessed with. The musicians that perform with Christopher represent a compilation that had just been assembled and had been rehearsing quite heavily in preparation for a live audience. Christopher had mentioned this was their first performance in front of an audience. Due to the quality of musicians performing, it was difficult for this aficionado’s ears to recognize mistakes in their performance. With the quality lighting, sound and stage presence offered by everyone involved, a very enjoyable evening was had by all those that attended either of the two performances by Christopher Cross and his band.