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V 35 Issue 30

 
 
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kd lang and Lyle Lovett deliver the goods, damn the heavy rain
kd lang and Lyle Lovett deliver the goods, damn the heavy rain
by Richard Kennedy - SGN A&E Writer

kd lang and Lyle Lovett
July 21 @ Chateau Ste. Michelle


It takes true musicianship, not just hit records, to keep a steady fan base over the course of 20+ years. To prove this, kd lang and Lyle Lovett filled the Chateau Ste. Michelle for a SECOND night last Saturday. In spite of pouring rain, the fans staked their spots in the grass and waited patiently while sipping wine for the multi-Grammy winning artists to take the stage. Both lang and Lovett were alternative country performers before there ever really was the phrase. Because of this, they always bring an eclectic crowd between them. Even though most of the audience was covered with ponchos and umbrellas, you could spot just about every age in the mix of suburbanites, hipsters, Gays and, of course, the awesome Lesbian fans that never miss a kd lang show in the Seattle area.

lang opened with her version of Neil Young's "Helpless" while striding in barefoot. I admit the first thing I thought when she came on was, "Girl, what are you wearing?!" She was sporting white linen trousers with an off-white shirt that was covered with a cream-colored vest. I have always considered lang to be very fashionable, even cutting edge at times, especially during her raucous days in the 80s, and the gender-bending days of the 90s. What was up with mixing the whites and off-whites? All was forgiven by the end of the song though, because it doesn't really matter once you get goose bumps from listening to her soaring vocals.

Following up this newer song was a couple of favorites from Ingénue. "Still Thrives This Love" with it's powerful and driving string arrangement complements her crooning voice, while "Wash Me Clean" is just as haunting as it was when it was released in '92. "Wash, Wash me clean, nend my wounded seams, cleanse my tarnished dreams" rolled over the crowd as rain poured down on us.

At about the 40-minute mark the Lesbian icon introduced two numbers, "The Valley" by Jane Siberry and "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen. Dedicating the first to "Ken Lang", we could only assume that it was someone she was close to. "I love the best of you, You love the best of me, though it is not always easy&We will walk in good company," and with that she broke down crying, and not a "sort of sad" cry, but what Oprah refers to as an "ugly cry." Fortunately, she was able to keep it together enough to finish the song, but visible tears were actually hitting the stage. It was altogether sad, touching, and made a beautiful song even more incredible. By the time she began the first few lines of the Cohen number she had to stop because she was too choked up. She started again and took the entire audience on an emotional journey that would bring us soaring to our feet by the last belting of "Hallelujah."

Like the consummate performer lang is, she lightened the mood by the end and channeled Patsy Cline for her signature closer, "Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray." In spite of the light element of her playing with the cigarettes at a mock "café table" center-stage, the genre-hopping queen held the final note so long that we couldn't even wait for it to end before we were again on foot for another ovation. By the time Lovett's set began, more fans had joined in the wet festivities. While chanting "We Want Lyle!", his 21-piece band took over the stage and opened with a hot blues number. Francine Reed, a long-time backup singer for Lovett, and a fantastic solo-singer in her own right belted out "Wild Women Don't Get The Blues" and it was obvious that the soaking group of listeners were true Lovett fans as they screamed out Francine's name. The lanky Texan finally joined the band and opened with a slow-paced song. Looking like a million bucks in his black western suit, that of course matched the suits of the entire large band, he joined Reed for a beautiful duet. It wasn't until fan-favorite "Church" that he really cut loose, raising his hands to the spirited gospel-flavored tune. "To the Lord, let praises be, it's time for dinner now, let's go eat."

Lovett actually had many in the audience raising their hands like it was a lively Sunday service. Many of the songs were new, and not familiar, but he peppered the selections with his classic bits like "I've Been to Memphis" and "My Baby Don't Tolerate." New numbers and old, it was certainly enough to keep most of the devotees throughout the entire rainy set.

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