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2013 Holiday Train: Crow entertains with hits, Christmas tunes

Flurries and temps in the low teens didn't stop Sheryl Crow from holding the attention of roughly 15,000 people who turned out for the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train event Saturday. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)

Friends Mary Brieksen and Kathleen Lindbeck said nearly unbearable cold wouldn’t deter them from seeing one of their favorite singers live.

Brieksen, of Cottage Grove, and Lindbeck, of Inver Grove Heights, were among the first to stake out spots for Sheryl Crow’s performance at the Holiday Train concert on a chilly Saturday night.

“I wanted to be right up front,” Lindbeck said. “We were on the first bus and were going to come no matter how cold it was.”

They made it to the front of the audience of nearly 15,000 who, despite flurries and temperatures in the low teens, bundled up and turned out for the event that included sets by Crow and the a cappella group Take 6.

Lindbeck said Crow was the main reason she attended the Holiday Train event.

“I rent out a house in St. Paul Park that is right on the rail line,” she explained. “When I was living there we would just stay home and watch it go by. But I had to come out this year to see Sheryl (Crow).”

Early concert-goers began making their way to the stage when the gates opened at 4 p.m.

The show started an hour later with opening act Canadian roots band Kelly and The Claytones, a group that performs at many Holiday Train stops. The foursome played roughly a 20-minute set of Christmas favorites, including one of their own, and impersonated Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Grammy Award-winning vocalists Take 6 kept the momentum going with holiday tunes and hymns. The sextet’s half-hour set included a soulful rendition of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and a mash-up of several classic Christmas songs.

After a brief intermission, audience members began chanting, “We want Sheryl.” Shortly after, Crow, the nine-time Grammy winner, took the stage.

“How are you doing tonight, Cottage Grove?” Crow asked the crowd, which responded with resounding applause.

Bundled up on stage, Crow noted the chilly weather but forgoed gloves to play guitar on nearly all her songs.

She opened her set with the track “All I Wanna Do” off her debut album “Tuesday Night Music Club.” In between the first and second song, “My Favorite Mistake,” a song off her third studio album “The Globe Sessions,” Crow said her sons got a true taste of Minnesota while watching walleye ice-fishing shows earlier in the day.

“They loved it,” she said of the winter sport.

Dipping below 15 degrees, the low temps detuned her acoustic guitar by the third song forcing her to pause after beginning “The First Cut Is The Deepest.”

“Once the cold air hits the guitar the strings go bazonk,” she laughed.

She continued on to perform two Christmas classics and songs from her previous self-titled album as well as “C’mon, C’mon.”

“Thank you so much for having me,” Crow told the crowd as she exited.

She returned soon after for an encore, during which she performed the track “Soak Up The Sun,” a song that perhaps had the spectators envisioning warmer weather.

The crowd quickly dispersed after Crow’s roughly 40-minute set, many commenting on the high-caliber performance of both Crow and Take 6.