Celebrating 25 years of ‘Ingénue’, k.d. lang had her Melbourne audience swooning
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Celebrating 25 years of ‘Ingénue’, k.d. lang had her Melbourne audience swooning

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Then there’s lang’s undeniable presence. In fact, the last time we experienced an audience collectively swooning as per Tuesday night was some time back in the ’90s over Jon Spencer on a hot dusty day at a Big Day Out. Indeed, lang’s voice is hell seductive.

 

Wearing trademark sharp tailoring and sans shoes, lang and her band burned through her ’92 break-through album Ingénue track for track. Set against a velvet backdrop and backlit by gaslight, the gypsy jazz of Miss Chatelaine and the glorious Andrew Sisters-style harmonies on So It Shall Be gave lang the chance to soar through the album and she crooned into her mike smoother than Sinatra.

 

For ours, the highlights included lang’s twangier tunes, like Wash Me Clean. Lang’s voice was so crystal clear she gave Emmylou Harris a run for her money.

 

It wasn’t the kind of gig that inspired dancing, to the contrary, it would’ve been nice to rug up, lie down on the floor and listen with your eyes shut enveloped by Lang’s lullabies: she casts a lasting and soothing spell.

 

That said, there was plenty of spark in the show. For instance, Lang’s not above a cheeky aside and the crowd roared when she slung her acoustic guitar around her neck for I Dream of Spring, prompting her to note that, “It makes me feel good when I strap it on and people cheer…just sayin.’ ”

 

Lang was also gracious. She shared accolades with her band and is obviously fond of the bunch. She appeared genuinely chuffed with a spontaneous standing ovation mid-gig.

 

It’d be remiss not to mention Hallelujah. With Leonard Cohen’s noble original and Jeff Buckley’s iconic cover we queried whether there was any necessity for another version, but the answer’s an emphatic yes. Lang’s made the tune hers now.

 

Highlight: Lang’s doo-wop ditty Honey and Smoke. Not prepared to rest on her laurels, lang recorded this gem with Neko Case last year.

Lowlight: The crazy amount of security at the Plenary. It may be an augury of what we can expect at gigs from now on and we understand the rationale, but it doesn’t make it any the less sad.

Crowd favouriteHallelujah, hands down.