The rain held off for Sarah McLachlan's second concert in Toronto on August 20th, but I don't think it would have mattered if I were drenched. I doubt my eyes would have left the stage, where the lovely Sarah performed her heart out to Canadian fans, who were eagerly anticipating her Canadian concert comeback.
After a fairly unknown opener—Butterfly Boucher—Sarah took the stage. Opening with "Adia," her voice soared through the Molson Amphitheatre, without a hint of effort. Six screens projected her image—flawless make-up, a beautiful ensemble, and perfectly done hair, gently blowing in the night air. She was a beautiful figure amidst a backdrop of a whimsical scene of trees and castle ruins. She created a fairytale, and she was the princess.
Welcoming the audience (that was a surprising mix of all ages, and many men), she explained that the concert was being filmed for an upcoming DVD, featuring the two Toronto shows. Perhaps that explained her striking appearance. Because of the DVD, she would perform her old favourites. She told the audience that it was good to be back on stage, and thanked Canada for "being patient with [her]." The Canadian audience did not have to wait much longer. Sarah launched into a two-hour show of wonder.
To be a truly successful Canadian musical artist, you must have the voice, and the song-writing and music-playing abilities. Sarah displayed all three. She sat alone at the piano, gracing the audience with "Angel," inducing a 2-minute-long standing ovation, mid-show. She danced across the stage, playing guitar for songs like "Sweet Surrender" and "Building a Mystery." Towards the end, she sat with her guitarist, and a single spotlight, gently delivering "Blackbird," an old Beatles hit. Her ability to sing with emotion was nearly overpowering, as I found myself with tears in my eyes as she sang "I Will Remember You."
In between songs, Sarah shared short stories, about her husband and their new baby, even touching on the subject of breast feeding, highly recommending motherhood.
Fans of the old Sarah were not disappointed either, as she played many of her breakthrough songs, like "Hold On," "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy," and "Fear."
By the end, the crowd was nowhere near ready to leave. Sarah returned to the stage to perform five additional songs, and nearly everyone in the sold-out amphitheatre was on their feet, singing along to "Ice Cream," and one of her latest efforts, "Stupid."
It was clear that Canada welcomed the songstress back with open arms, and I can guarantee that many of the concertgoers are awaiting the release of the concert DVD. And to Sarah, who was nervous that taking such a long break might affect her popularity, I say this: welcome back, and we can't wait to see you again.
Writer: Amy Bielby