Sarah McLachlan shines at winery concert

  • Written by Deborah Stone
The weather gods were in a benevolent mood on the second evening of Sarah McLachlan’s two-night stand at the Ste. Michelle Winery. Even the talented singer/songwriter made note of the fact that the sun was shining, a rarity in a month that has been more akin to January than July.

As always, the winery was in prime picturesque condition, creating the perfect outdoor setting for an evening of great music.

The show featured a unique format, as there was no opening act.

Instead, McLachlan shared the stage with her two backup singers, Butterfly Boucher and Melissa McClelland. When McLachlan sang, Boucher and McClelland provided background vocals.

Then McLachlan took her turn as backup for the two women when they each performed their own numbers.

Songwise, there were the usual McLachlan classic crowd pleasers like "Building a Mystery," "I Will Remember You," "Adia" and "Sweet Surrender." And then there were several tunes from her new release, "Laws of Illusion," including "Awakenings," "Loving You is Easy," "Don’t Give Up on Us" and "Forgiveness."

The CD is primarily full of songs of upheaval, remorse and regret, stemming from McLachlan’s divorce a few years ago, but there’s also a silver lining to it, with hope for the future.

McLachlan remains as strong a vocalist as ever and she looked terrific in her skinny black jeans and short black boots.

At several points during the show, she lightened the mood of the night by taking audience questions, submitted in advance at the merchandise table on site.

In response to a query about what she would do if she weren’t a singer, McLachlan replied that she’d probably try her hand at designing jewelry or become a gardener.

She added that she was glad she didn’t have to go down that path because music has been the one thing in her life that she felt good at and she was glad it had all worked out for her.

Asked to share her thoughts on the song "I Will Remember You," she explained that it’s not about one particular person, but rather about the idea of remembering to be grateful to be in the moment.

Chanteuses Boucher and McClelland held their own throughout the show, harmonizing beautifully with McLachlan during her numbers and then strutting their stuff when it came time to taking the spotlight.

Boucher, an Australian singer/songwriter, has a melodic voice that she uses effectively to belt out her stylized and sophisticated blend of pop rock.

Her moodier tunes, "I Can’t Make Me" and "A Bitter Song" were most memorable.

McClelland, who like McLachlan hails from Canada, has a poetic bent to her songs and is known for her softer, yet full and sultry sound.

The crowd came alive during "Passenger 24," a searing piece of Americana that was inspired by her nine-day road trip from Chicago to Santa Monica. McLachlan ended the night with an encore of audience favorites "Angel" and "Ice Cream."

By that time, the sold-out crowd was on its feet to show its appreciation for a truly terrific talent.

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