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WAITE PARK, Minn. — It was the 5th of July but Sheryl Crow on Tuesday night at the Ledge Amphitheater was as sparkly and ooh-and-aah-inspiring as Independence Day fireworks.

Her voice soared like backyard bottle rockets, she played smokin' harmonica and finger-popping bass, and she rocked like the improbable daughter of Tom Petty and Keith Richards. And her glorious rhinestone-decorated pants — OMG, Dolly Parton would be so envious.

Crow's 100-minute performance was positive, profound, passionate and nearly perfect.

What made the evening special was Crow's mood and attitude. She felt chatty, she explained, and shared how she spent July 4th: on a pontoon boat on Lake Minnetonka, catching two fish ("we threw them back because we can afford fish"), watching the fireworks in Excelsior and eating at Maynard's, which she declared her favorite restaurant in America (before taking it back).

Watching fireworks "made me feel patriotic," she continued. "It made me feel how lucky we are to be born into this country even though right now we're going through some stuff." She didn't elaborate; she didn't need to.

Crow put people in a good mood with her reassuring tunes, upbeat outlook and easy humor, tossing off zingers both practiced and improvised that brought smiles from the near-capacity crowd of 3,500.

When she essayed an extremely high note in "Can't Cry Anymore," she stopped in mid-song and confessed, "For a minute there, I thought I was Mariah Carey."

Even though her set list was heavy on hits, those well known numbers felt more potent live, thanks to driving rhythms, Jen Gunderman's soulful organ and Audley Freed's twang-rock guitar. "Leaving Las Vegas," from Crow's 1993 debut album, sounded more chipper (maybe because she ad-libbed about getting a little cabin on Lake Minnetonka). "Strong Enough," also from the debut, resonated like a newfound feminist anthem and 2002's always peppy "Soak Up the Sun" became a stomping ode to optimism.

Backed by five veteran musicians, Crow also mixed in less familiar pieces. "There Goes the Neighborhood" crunched like Heart, and "Live With Me" boogied more like Mott the Hoople than the Rolling Stones, who wrote the song. "Hard to Make a Stand," from 1996, took on new meaning after Crow explained it was about a flower-power "cross-dresser" who was kicked out of their neighborhood coffeeshop. "I Shall Believe," from her debut album, became a Southern soul finale, a reverent sendoff of hope.

The high point, though, was the brand new "Forever," a graceful ballad that Crow, 60, wrote for her two sons about the importance of living in the present. The tune was created for "Sheryl," this spring's Showtime documentary about her career, but it just as easily could have been the signature of Lilith Fair back in the '90s.

While that hagiographic film makes a solid case for Crow to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (she's never been nominated), Tuesday's concert was undeniable evidence that she belongs there — with fireworks to celebrate her induction.

Opening the concert were veteran bluesman Keb' Mo', who brought humor and heartbreak, hot licks and good grooves, and capable Nashville newcomer Cecilia Castleman, 21, who was in front of a big crowd for the first time.