Still Sailing After All These Years

I recently attended a show of the Christopher Cross 40th anniversary tour. In truth this tour was supposed to have been last year but COVID pushed it off. Moreover, Cross had contracted COVID and has had a severe, long haul, case but he is still going down the road, even if he is sometimes feelin’ bad.

In 2021 he’s now touring and helping us remember all his great tunes, and there’s a boatload of them. For anyone who’s a fan of the Yacht Rock format on SiriusXM, Cross, along with Michael McDonald, are the main staples of that format, which is a personal favorite (I am Addicted to Yacht Rock Radio)

Along with my son Carl, who has the broadest most eclectic musical tastes on the planet, we saw Christopher Cross perform earlier this week at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ (a venue where we also saw the first ever performance of David Byrne’s American Utopia tour in 2018).

Cross was everything I hoped he’d be. His high-pitched voice was still strong, not bad for a 70-year-old man. The music was crisp and the band was tight. The nature of his music is not dance in the aisles motivating, but it was inspiring and reflective.

Anyone over the age of 50 can remember his meteoric rise behind his first album. Cross released his self-titled debut album, Christopher Cross in 1979. The top 20 hits from this album included Ride Like the Wind (with back-up vocals from fellow Yacht rocker Michael McDonald), Sailing, Never Be the Same, and Say You’ll Be Mine. Cross was the first artist in Grammy history to win all four general field awards in a single ceremony, bringing home Record of the Year (Sailing) Album of the Year (Christopher Cross), Song of the year (Sailing) and Best New artist at the 23rd Annual Grammy Awards in 1981. Not too shabby, but how can you top that?

I still particularly love the song Sailing. It conjures up the feeling of falling asleep on the beach in the late afternoon in the early 80s.

His first album was truly phenomenal. Check it out.

Subsequent to his meteoric debut album, in 1981 his sung Arthur’s Theme (Best that you can do), a song which he wrote in collaboration between Cross, legendary Burt Bachrach, and Bacharach’s frequent writing partner and then-wife Carole Bayer Sager. And btw, the song won the 1981 Academy Award for Best Original Song.

But he began to fade in the following years and never reached that level of musical stardom again. His Adult Contemporary kind of music, well appreciated by us aging boomers was not as in sync for the MTV era that was emerging.

But he’s back and as wonderful as ever. And his set list from his concert is laden with great tunes:

  1. Minstrel Gigolo
  2. All Right
  3. Never Be The Same
  4. I Really Don’t Know Anymore
  5. Poor Shirley
  6. Sailing
  7. Baby It’s All About You
  8. Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)
  9. Swept Away
  10. Dreamers
  11. Spinning
  12. Say You’ll Be Mine
  13. The Light Is On
  14. Roberta (for Joni Mitchell)
  15. No Time to Talk
  16. Ride Like The Wind
  17. Think of Laura (encore)

Though I am showing my age, I am not ashamed to be a fan and was happy to have heard him live for the first time. Hope to be around for the 50th anniversary tour.

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