When introducing his bassist a few songs into his set, Christopher Cross mentioned his various other gigs, which included playing with Suzanne Vega and in the orchestra for Broadway musical Kinky Boots in addition to his time with Cross. ”He takes some time out for sex, drugs and rock n roll … not with us. I think that’s with Suzanne.” Yup, as Cross himself admits, he’s not exactly the most raucous on stage but then he never was one for that. While some older musicians mellow with age, Cross was always pretty mellow. He definitely fits within the confines of soft rock, or yacht rock, as much of the smooth rock of the 1970s has come to be known in recent years. And on this evening at the CNE Bandshell, Christopher Cross brought the smooth.
As Cross launched into his 1980 hit “Sailing,” (one of his smoothest and the one whose nautical themes fit best within the genre of yacht rock) images appeared onscreen of water and boats – calming stuff. Smooth. Fine. Then I saw images of kayaks and surfing. No. No, Christopher Cross. This is NOT sailing, this will not do. If the wind is right, I can not sail away and find tranquility on a surfboard. Leave the surfboards to Mike Love. Or Beyonce. Just talk to your video production team, man. Sort this out.
Speaking of songs being matched up with images, Cross mentioned how he offered up his 2000 song “Red Room” to the producers of the 50 Shades Of Grey film because the book also has a red room in it. While the song’s mellow sounds probably don’t quite fit with what the film’s producers might be looking for, the lyrics did seem to vaguely fit … although he has yet to hear back from the 50 Shades people. He did have a song featured on an episode of Growing Pains back in the day though and when he performed “Swept Away,” there were probably a few in the crowd who had fond memories of Kirk Cameron as Mike Seaver romancing a Hawaiian girl. Sadly, however, Cross did not perform the other song he wrote for a show, 30 Rock’s “Lemon’s Theme.”
While “Lemon’s Theme” did not make an appearance, “Arthur’s Theme” most certainly did, coming (as expected) near the end of his set ,though some in the audience might have wanted it earlier. When a fan near the front shouted for either that or one of his other hits, Cross cheekily replied with, ”Have you people ever heard of delayed gratification?” Nice one, Chris. Very smooth.