Review: Sarah McLachlan mesmerizes New York with ethereal vocals Special

Posted Jul 23, 2014 by Markos Papadatos
On July 22, Grammy-winning songstress Sarah McLachlan played a wonderful sold-out concert at New York City's Beacon Theatre.
Grammy-winning singer Sarah McLachlan
Grammy-winning singer Sarah McLachlan
David Bergman
Backed by a four-piece band, McLachlan commenced her set with "Flesh and Blood," and it was followed by her Grammy-winning pop tune "Building a Mystery," where she accompanied herself on acoustic guitar and maintained exceptional control over her voice.
She was dressed in black leather pants and a sparkly silver top. She continued with "In Your Shoes," which she sang solo as the stage was graced in pink and purple lights. She was very expressive with her hands during this performance, where the listener could easily recall Adele.
McLachlan delivered the ballad "Adia" on piano, as white laser lights dimmed on her, which subsequently alternated between red and blue lights. This tune featured backing vocals from the male musicians in her band.
She immediately broke into "Answer," where a yellow light shined upon her. She commenced the song solo on piano, prior to being joined by her band midway through. Yet again, she had incredible control over her vocals.
McLachlan shared that "Broken Heart" is a new song that deals with "the battle between your head and heart, and you try to compartmentalize it through," especially at a time of loss.
She sang a moving version of her Grammy-nominated "Fallen," where she was backed by acoustic and electric guitars. Her performance tonight is proof that she should have won that Grammy the year she was nominated for this vocal, since it displayed her atmospheric voice.
After switching from piano to acoustic guitar, she sang "World on Fire" with her male band-mates harmonizing with her. "I try to live my life with gratitude lately, and I hope this album is indicative of that," she said, referring to her new Shine On CD.
Following this song, the acclaimed singer took questions from the audience that they had written to her via a "ask me a question" box that was at the outside lobby, and she invited social media contest winners to join her on stage as part of her "living room" as they greeted and chatted with the songstress, and she even posed for selfies with her fans.
McLachlan told her fans that growing up, her musical hero was Joan Baez and she wanted to be her. She also informed them during the question and answer session that she started singing early on in life, and she continues to sing on a daily basis and she hums everywhere she goes.
She changed the pace of her set with the nice, love song "Loving You Is Easy," since she did not want her crowd to get depressed with the plethora of melancholic tunes in her set. "This is not a love song, it's a lust song," she admitted.
"Monsters" featured McLachlan on guitar and it is about "coming to terms with people's moral and ethical expectations" and she noted that life would be boring without its challenges.
After a sip of water, she sang "Stupid" without the guitar, as red and purple lights alternated on her stage.
She took a brief intermission, which allowed fans to get up and stretch, and go to the lobby and jot down additional questions for her.
McLachlan returned to sing "Song for My Father," which she dedicated to her late father, whom she dubbed as an "awesome dad" and a person that gave her "unconditional love." It was a very poignant and fitting tribute to her father that moved several audience members to tears. He would certainly be smiling upon her from heaven.
She followed it up with her popular Grammy-winning song "I Will Remember You," which has become a staple for graduation ceremonies. She backed herself on piano and it resonated well with the fans.
Other noteworthy songs were "Brink of Destruction" and the optimistic yet beautiful tune "Hold On," where her vocals were reminiscent of British songstress Dido.
She commenced "Love Beside Me" by singing on the microphone, in another controlled performance, and ended it with a piano instrumental.
McLachlan displayed her vulnerability on "Fear," and she delivered a fearless vocal, commencing the song on piano and then taking over the microphone, emerging as a musical siren. The emotion she poured into this tune was truly remarkable and her vocals were piercing and reminiscent of Celtic Woman. It garnered her a very deserving standing ovation and was arguably her best performance of the night.
"Witness" showcased her ability to hit the high notes, and in "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy," she underscored the lyrics, "I won't fear love."
In the upbeat "Sweet Surrender," she had the audience dancing along as she nailed the electric guitar.
One of the most pleasant surprises was when she randomly picked a question from her "ask me a question" box, and it turned out to be my own (which was a real treat since I thought the odds of it getting selected were against me). I had asked her which male artist she would like to sing a dream duet with, and she selected "Peter Gabriel" as her answer, which was indeed a good answer.
She introduced her talented band members which consisted of a keyboard player, bassist, electric guitarist and drummer, prior to closing with the rocking "Possession," which earned her another standing ovation.
For encore, she returned and delivered a solo piano version of her signature song "Angel," displaying her mellifluous vocals, yet leaving the crowd in tears as a result of its raw beauty. She was able to silence the entire venue during this performance, and there were no gimmicks, just a woman with sheer talent that was able to blow everybody away. It garnered another standing ovation, and broke into "Beautiful Girl," which she dedicated to her two girls. She noted that parenthood is the most rewarding and challenging job in the world, and she wouldn't trade it for anything.
"It's time for dessert," McLachlan joked, prior to treating her audience to "Ice Cream," which she incorporated as a sing along. For her final song, "The Sound That Love Makes," she played the ukulele, which ironically enough was the first instrument that McLachlan had learned to play, and left New York in awe of her talent.
The Verdict
Overall, Sarah McLachlan put on a phenomenal concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York. Her vocals were heavenly, melodic and simply too good to be mortal. She is certainly the "Judy Collins" of my generation and a true song stylist. One's life is not complete without attending a Sarah McLachlan concert. She interacted well with the crowd and gave them a warm and intimate evening of music to remember. Her show garnered an A+ rating.
For more information on Sarah McLachlan and her upcoming tour dates, visit her official website.