Things haven't been quite the same for Christopher Cross ever since he walked off with an arm-load of Grammy Awards played before 500 people at the Bayou. Last night he played for a crowd 20 times that size at Merriweather Post Pavillon and only a sellout prevented a larger audience from attending.
Cross "pop and roll" is just what the mornign deejay ordered. Hi lyrics aren't clever or even memorable, but those melodies -- bright, fresh progressions -- cling to the airwaves like Coke commercials.
In a sense, success has caught up with Cross. When he sings his enormous hit "Sailing" now, a seascape flanked by palm trees is projected on a backdrop behind him -- hardly the sort of luxury he could afford when he was playing clubs in Austin, Tex., not long ago. Yet for all his success, Cross' music remains simple and uncluttered.
The addition of percussionist James Fenner and reed player Hank Hehmsoth has given the band a more textured sound in concert, but Cross' rising tenor, incisive guitar lines and sunny arrangements are still the band's primary stength.
Nonetheless, even that combination produced rather bland and predictable music at times. It will be interesting to see if Cross can prevent his Texas pop from fizzling out in the near future.