k.d. lang brought her dancing shoes and a brand new five-piece band to the Benedum Center for the WYEP 35th Anniversary concert. Sometimes lang played the guitar and even attempted playing the banjo, but it was her voice that was her most used instrument throughout the almost 90-minute set, which featured several encores. The large stage was set up with lighting and a projection screen in the back, with the band near the middle; allowing lang plenty of space to dance and interact with her band and audience. Some of the band members were multi-instrumentalists. Despite pleas from the audience, lang did not remove her shoes (she apparently usually performs without them) and she proved she’s very light on her feet. An early highlight was lang’s version of Neil Young’s “Helpless”. The first standing ovation came after she did a song from “Hymns of the 49th Parallel”, the Leonard Cohen penned “Hallelujah” in which lang showcased her extraordinary voice. lang did vintage tracks like “Miss Chatelaine” as well as “I Dream of Spring” from her most recent release “Watershed”. Of course lang sang “Constant Craving”, perhaps her most well known song. During one of the encores, lang referred to Tony Bennett as her mentor. The final song was “Lock, Stock and Teardrops” from “Shadowland”.
Fellow Canadian Meaghan Smith opened the show and this leg of the k.d. lang tour. Smith was joined center stage by her husband Jason Mingo on guitar and harp pedal and their friend Austin Nicholsen on upright bass. She was on stage for about 30-minutes, played seven songs and danced a little. Smith plays guitar and also played the omnichord. She engaged the audience using the harp pedal to accentuate what people did that day (working and laundry). The singer song-writer reminded me of a young Linda Ronstadt. Smith told the stories behind such songs as “Poor”, “You Got Out” and her final song about her parents sending her to bed in the summer when it was still daylight, called “Five More Minutes”. She shared with us that she does answer her own e-mail. Smith asked for a photo of herself from the stage with the audience in the background. I’m sure everyone was smiling.
Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host