Volume 92, Issue 7

Tuesday, September 15, 1998

here we go


The resurrection of fair lilith

By Christina Vardanis
Gazette Staff

Being the first woman of creation has its drawbacks.

There's a world to be filled with sappy movies, shoe shopping and gossiping – and no one else to share this with except one guy who insists you submit to his beliefs and instruction. When Lilith, of Hebrew folklore, refused to resign her soul to this fate, committing the first ever "walk-out" on Adam, her legend didn't die. It was only put on hold until a reminder of female pride and power was needed again.

Enter Canadian songstress Sarah McLachlan and a funny little idea about creating a music festival comprised of strong female voices, both musical and political, with the intention of drawing female talent to the forefront of a male-dominated industry. Her all-female tour was touted as one of the best to hit the summer festival parade of 1997.

The second coming of the Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women and Music concert, AKA "Sarah and Friends," graced Toronto for two dates this summer at the Molson Ampitheatre. The Aug. 16 show's second stage featured Mary Lou Lord, Eve and the accordion-jamming tunes of the Toronto-based Swamperella. All of them offered raw, acoustic samplings of smaller bands with huge talent.

Opening on the mainstage was Liz Phair, the weakest link of the Toronto show. Her set seemed unoriginal and tired – as if this was a show she'd been doing for too long. After a long day of waiting for the main stage to open, her unenthusiastic performance and repetitive set was disappointing.

Chantel Kreviazuk followed, who took the time between songs to talk to the audience, often commenting on her nervousness. As she announced her performance of "Wayne," she delved into a series of chords at her piano, only to end up giggling.

"Oops," she said between laughs. "That's not "Wayne," that's "Surrounded." Already heard that one – guess I really am nervous." However unsettled she claimed to be, save the one obvious slip, it didn't surface in her performance. Kreviazuk belted out tunes from her debut album with the confidence of a veteran, proving she has the endurance to out live the "one-hit-wonder" stigma. She ended the set with "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and included a segment for audience participation.

The total antithesis to Kreviazuk's interactive bent followed with Paula Cole, who dominated the stage from beginning to end. Her total inhibition, primal antics and enrapturing voice demanded respect and awe.

Cole doesn't play the piano – she attacks it. Her set was not meant to please anyone but herself and yet she managed to garner the undivided attention of all 16,000 audience members. Her unabashed rendition of "Feelin' Love" embodied the strength, intelligence and sexiness Cole is known for.

From the jungle to the girl next door – an emotional Natalie Merchant stopped herself in the middle of her first effort on stage with tears streaming down her face.

"I'm going to try and put on my happy face, even though I'm not very happy today," she explained. She then continued with a relaxed and comforting set. Merchant's spontaneous and abstract side took over for a while, as she danced and spun herself around the stage enough times to take flight. For the end of the set she settled into a massive swing and sway, while performing a very tranquil "Kind and Generous."

When McLachlan took the stage, her reception was that of a true superstar. Headlining each and every tour date of the concert must be taking its toll on the singer/songwriter but she performed with the energy of a rookie. Most of the attention was given to songs from Surfacing, including a rare performance of "Black and White." Her solo piano performance of "Angel" was symbolic of the entire concert – focused, emotional and peaceful.

With an ensemble encore that brought the entire crowd to their dancing feet, Lilith has once again given her many fans a kick in the butt and a warm hug.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998