Exploring new territory with latest albumLaws Of Illusion, McLachlan flaunted tracks that teetered between heartbreak and healing, displaying a gutsy prowess that has come with time and wisdom. At the age of 42, McLachlan has embraced her own musical history
I’m a child of the metal, sure. But sometimes, just sometimes, I get this crazy hankering for music that resonates on a different vibration. Call it a melodic backlash.
Anyone who’s listened to Sarah McLachlan’s melancholic dazzler of an album Surfacing knows that in a world of throwaway, jingle-driven commerce this Canadian chanteuse’s songwriting skills exist in an otherworldly realm. McLachlan’s talents dwell in a place where octaves are stretched, ethereal meets darkness and the angels watch over – there’s no compromise in her vision. She knows what she’s good at and she mines it – no pretence, no pandering to trends. Just evocative and cosmic mezzo-soprano.
With a voice that’s magic on record, the real question posed on this stormy Thursday evening was not if McLachlan could deliver the goods as evident on her albums, but if she could exceed her studio cuts live. Opening with crowd favourite and uber-successful single Angel, McLachlan soon broke stereotype, delving into more emotionally conflicted territory with Building A Mystery, Adia and Sweet Surrender, with her six-piece backing band that included legendary session and ex-Pearl Jam drummer Matt Chamberlain. What may have been expected to be a slow burner of a set quickly turned into a rockier, edgier show with McLachlan proving herself to be more than a piano bound balladeer – here was a resilient, rock-oriented frontwoman.
Exploring new territory with latest album Laws Of Illusion, McLachlan flaunted tracks that teetered between heartbreak and healing, displaying a gutsy prowess that has come with time and wisdom. At the age of 42, McLachlan has embraced her own musical history and is sitting comfortably in her own skin, so much so that you couldn’t quite take your eyes off her. She’s finally found her real footing and up on stage, she sparkles.
McLachlan closed the evening with an encore that featured the haunting, redemptive Fallen, Fumbling Toward Ecstasy crowd pleaser Ice Cream and the Bruce Springsteen-penned Patti Smith classic, Because The Night (which support act Kate Miller-Heidke sailed out of the wings to help lend her stellar vocal prowess to). In doing so, Sarah McLachlan proved that she is a performer endowed with a flair for delivering emotional turbulence through fire and ice lyrics. Her compelling and evocative vocal style suggests that many of those in today’s pop world should return to the darkened doorways of the music factory and bow their heads in shame.