The Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ - September 11, 2013
Ward is not yet a household name but the young soul singer's star has been ascending rapidly the past couple years thanks to a stellar debut album in 2012's Til The Casket Drops (Hollywood Records) and a penchant for playing intimate fan-friendly clubs like the trendy Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix, a 500+ venue that Ward filled to capacity. And those left ticketless out on the sidewalk really missed it as Ward put on a hot show mostly featuring songs from the album.
The title song and "Put the Gun Down" came early in the set as did a funky rendition of the Ann Peebles hit (and later a hit for Tina Turner) "I Can't Stand the Rain." Ward played guitar throughout the show but the crowd went absolutely bonkers every time she picked up her harmonica like on "If I Could Be Her." ZZ intro'd the quiet "Last Love Song" with the comment "Sometimes you fall in love really hard, sometimes you fall on your face" but the show overall was upbeat and raucous with the crowd shouting and finger-snapping along to "Charlie Ain't Home," clapping madly with the beat on the hip-hop flavored "Cryin' Wolf," performed here without the rap interlude (Kendrick Lamar spits on the album cut) and loudly demanding an encore after set closer "Criminal."
Ward and her extremely tight three-piece back-up band returned to the stage for one more, sending the blissed-out crowd home with a rousing run-through of "Blue Eyes Blind."
Visit ZZ Ward's official site here.