All-Star concert a homecoming for Crow

All-Star concert a homecoming for Crow

I'd like to see the Riviera
And slowdance underneath the stars
I'd like to watch the sun come up
In a stranger's arms
This is home, home
And this is home, home
This is home

Sheryl Crow

ST. LOUIS -- This is home.

Sheryl Crow sang the national anthem before last year's All-Star Game at old Yankee Stadium, and this time she is back in her native Missouri where baseball will gather to slowdance underneath the stars and join forces with the music legend to make a big difference.

The nine-time Grammy winner will perform along with special guest Elvis Costello in a free concert under the famed Gateway Arch in St. Louis at 9 ET tonight as part of the 80th All-Star Game festivities. There is a special emphasis this year on giving, and on making all these events as accessible as possible to baseball fans everywhere.

The 2009 All-Star Charity Concert presented by Pepsi will be streamed live on MLB.com for users in the United States. Major League Baseball will donate $1 million to Stand Up To Cancer and those attending the concert and watching the live stream will be encouraged to donate as well. Crow, a cancer survivor, is continuing her work with SU2C and MLB.

The 2009 Pepsi All-Star Challenge Auction is also a key part of the charitable events and activities leading up to the All-Star Game. Bidding is under way at MLB.com Auction on more than 70 amazing items including: Derek Jeter autographed bat; Joe Mauer autographed jersey; Johnny Bench autographed baseball; trip for two to Cincinnati and meet/greet with Brandon Phillips; trip for four to Citi Field and batting practice opportunity; and a trip for four to Yankee Stadium and tour of Monument Park.

Being around rich baseball history and a spirit of giving is something Crow embraces as she comes home to a concert setting that she played live in the 1990s during her rise to superstardom. The skies apparently will cooperate as well; it rained downtown here in the morning but is not expected to be an issue during the concert.

"Last year I performed the National Anthem at the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, " said the nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter. "They actually asked me then if we'd be interested in doing this concert, because I was kind of a St. Louis native. I taught school here for a couple of years. I'm from about 3 1/2 hours south of here. I'm a huge Cardinal fan.

"We've been planning for this for over a year and only this week Mary J. Blige dropped out of doing the National Anthem, so I'm becoming All-Star house band singer for the National Anthem."

Crow grew up in Kennett, Mo., and taught grade school music in the St. Louis area before becoming one of Grammy's winningest females. She has released seven studio albums which have sold more than 35 million records worldwide and her hits include "All I Wanna Do," "Everyday Is a Winding Road" and "This Is Home."

This is home, home
And this is home, home
This is home

It is so appropriate for baseball's great summer jewel event. The game speaks about home in every way. It is where a player stands to face a pitcher, and it is where a player seeks to get back to for a run -- the essence of the game. It is about the home team, the home crowd, the home ballpark. It is about the home run, the beauty of a ball bashed into the summer sky.

This is home.

"We're going to play a lot of songs that are very familiar to our fans or people who have had the radio on for the last 15 years, but we will play a few things that they don't know," Crow said. "We also have a special guest coming that I would love to announce today but I'm not going to. Stay tuned because we have a wonderful performer who is going to make a very surprising appearance on stage with me."

That will be Costello.

"Elvis is going to come and sit in with us," said Crow. "We're going to do some of his songs, that everyone will know and of course, love. We haven't rehearsed yet, but I guarantee you it's gonna be great. I'm a huge fan of his and we've been e-mailing each other a lot. My band and I are like little kids, we are so excited that we get to share the stage with one of the architects of power-pop music. We just feel like we are going to get an old fashion schooling tomorrow when he comes."

Crow took part in last year's Stand Up To Cancer fundraiser in Hollywood and is proud that the concert will continue to raise awareness to the cancer issue and is proud that Major League Baseball has been such a staunch supporter in cancer awareness and education.

"It's really amazing," she said. "I don't know of a national sport that has embraced a cause like this and has raised so much money and made it such a high-profile issue. I don't need to reiterate the fact that that everyone has a relationship with cancer. Whether it's an individual-personal relationship -- whether it's with family or friends -- we've all been touched by cancer. So it's just an incredible blessing to see, because I have such a personal relationship with cancer, a sport embrace Stand Up To Cancer and make it such a massively-wide issue."

Costello, a Grammy winner and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, is a baseball fan himself.

"Having long cherished my Dad's catcher's mitt from his time with the Bidston Indians in the local, post-war, Merseyside amateur leagues, inspired by visiting USAAF baseball enthusiasts, I'm delighted to take part in this event," he said. "Having given up my chance to play sports for a life in music, I cannot think of anything better than sitting in with Sheryl and her band for a few surprise numbers and a rocking good time in St. Louis."

Crow became an international sensation with her debut album, 1993's "Tuesday Night Music Club", which sold more than seven million copies and earned her three Grammys.

All of Crow's releases since have been certified platinum. Her latest CD, "Detours," was released in February on Interscope/A&M Records.

The Cardinals-Cubs game from Wrigley Field that day on FOX will be shown live on big-screen televisions prior to the start of the concert for fans to view.

The All-Star Charity Concert presented by Pepsi is one of several charitable events leading up to the Midsummer Classic in St. Louis on July 14. Major League Baseball has made community service and giving back to charitable causes a theme for this year's events.

"We have a very special group that we have teamed with to make this an event more important than the concert itself, and that's Stand Up To Cancer," said Tom Brosnan, executive vice president of business, Major League Baseball. "They are an extraordinary group who's important work and determination, I believe, will help to end cancer in our lifetime.

"Sheryl was our first and only choice for this year's concert, not only because she is a Missouri native, but she happens to be an enormous Cardinals fan as well."

Her favorite Cardinal growing up? Bob Gibson. She was glad to hear the Hall-of-Famer is in town for the festivities, and she also talked about how she wanted to learn to do a back flip like the great Ozzie Smith.

"We have been coming to the old Busch Stadium, since I was little," said the singer, who has not yet seen a game in the new stadium, but is looking forward to it. "When I was in college we had the I-70 World Series in 1985 between the Cardinals and Royals, which was a blast and I got to know some of the players like Ozzie Smith, Andy Van Slyke, Willie McGee. When I taught school I lived right across the street from Whitey Herzog.

"I've always been such a big fan and to play the All-Star Game is really fun because I have nephews who every statistic about every player who is playing now and way back and they are sharing my love for baseball."

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Ben Platt and B.J. Rains contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.