Live Review and Photos by Danielle Boise
“These are the last four (tour) dates, glad to be back. I feel so grounded and centered… I feel this is why I am on this earth.” – Sarah McLachlan
Same venue, but with a completely different show than the last time, Sarah McLachlan was in town two years ago with the ASO. This time there was more of an open exchange between McLachlan and the audience. The stage was set up more like her living room, with several plush, deep set violet chairs and couches, along with hanging lanterns and strings of dozens of lights that drew the audience in for a more intimate show with a familiar feel.
In fact, McLachlan remarked how much she missed her living room when she was out on the road, that she felt the need to bring her living room out on this tour to feel connected. The couches were later used for when McLachlan brought up two groups of winners, one for each set, from the social awareness campaign that she had launched on her Facebook.
What a perfect night, with cool temps bordering on the edge of chilly. As dusk became nightfall, Sarah McLachlan took Chastain Park Amphitheatre’s stage on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, for an evening with no opener. Instead, two distinctive sets with an intermission where McLachlan encouraged an open dialogue on the human experience by giving the fans an opportunity to ask her any question they wanted to, no matter how personal, by writing the questions down on a piece a paper and submitting it to McLachlan. Later in the show, she would then randomly pull the questions out of a hat on stage and answer them.
McLachlan didn’t just cater to playing her hits, but rather created a nice balance between the new songs and chart topping hits to create a rather enjoyable mixture of songs that brought together a meaningful, solemn experience through a sense of solace.
McLachlan started the night off with a new song off her recently released Shine On album called “Flesh and Blood” and then transitioned seamlessly into crowd favorite “Building a Mystery,” followed by “In Your Shoes,” “Adia,” “Answer,” “Broken Heart” and “Fallen.”
“For me, it’s got a lot to do with gratitude.” McLachlan referenced the meaning behind her latest album, Shine On. McLachlan took a few moments to discuss with the crowd the difficult time in her life transitioning between the ages of 44 to 46, and coming out on the other side of the struggle whole and complete.
“In these times when there is so much bad shit, it’s important to remember to lean on the people in your life.” McLachlan exclaimed right before going into “World on Fire.”
After which McLachlan stopped the show to have the social media winners come up on stage and sit in her living room, she took a few moments to connect with each of the six winners, by hugging them and taking selfies before pulling fan questions out of her hat.
The first question out of the gate was a tough one. What was the most difficult moment in your life and did music help you through it? McLachlan paused a bit to collect her thoughts, and decided on answering the second part of the question first. “Writing has always been cathartic for me. I think the safer (answer) one for me was when my dad passed away. He was an anchor for me. Music helped.”
To the dismay of the crowd, when asked what her favorite junk food was, the response was more of the salty, fatty variety – French fries, instead of the joyful cry from the crowd when they all screamed “ice cream.”
The last question drew awkward laughter from McLachlan when asked if she had ever had sex to any of her own music. To which her response elicited chuckles, “Eww, that would be so creepy.”
After the Q & A session, McLachlan resumed playing her songs set to a spectacular light show of alternating hues of denim, chartreuse and golden light that illuminated powerfully as she sung “Loving You is Easy,” “Monsters” and ending with “Stupid” for the first set.
After the intermission, McLachlan came back and performed a touching tribute to her father, called “Song for My Father.” There is always at least one moment at a Sarah McLachlan concert where I am literally moved to tears; it’s just a given fact for me. That moment happened with “A Song for My Father.” A touching tribute that anyone who has lost someone in their life, especially a parent, can relate to on a personal level as it strikes a distinctive cord. Of course she followed that up with “I Will Remember You,” so my eyes stayed watery for quite a while.
McLachlan rounded out the rest of the set with “Brink of Destruction,” “Hold On,” “Love Beside Me,” “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy,” “Witness,” “Fear,” “Sweet Surrender” and finished with second set with the ever so powerful “Possession.” For the encore, McLachlan followed up with “Angel,” “Beautiful Girl,” the ever so popular fan favorite, “Ice Cream” and ended with “The Sound That Loves Makes.”
What was the most enchanting thing to witness was how much McLachlan was willing to not only open herself up musically and lyrically to the audience, but how she was willing to share her life’s journey with her fans in a non-evasive way, one that was truly organic and natural to participate in, while being able to take away some of her wisdom and truth.
There is absolutely nothing better than hearing a venue filled with happy, vibrant people listening to music that they not only love, but moves them to celebrate the human condition through laughter, love and tears. And that was exactly what happened at Chastain for Sarah McLachlan’s Shine On stop. If you can, don’t miss one of the few remaining stops of this tour. It’s truly heartfelt and humbling.
Full Photo Gallery of Sarah McLachlan