Ever since I listened to her 1993 album Fumbling Towards Ecstasy I was hooked. Over and over I listened to this album while I drew in college, and it’s one of the few albums I enjoy listening to from start to finish. Her lyrics and songs are retrospective, somewhat dark, and full of poetic musical morphine. The fact that she’s beautiful is an added bonus. (I am on record with saying that if she just sat on a bar stool at a concert I would watch her for two hours and she wouldn’t even have to sing.)
In 1996 I had the opportunity to see her in concert at Pine Knob, an outdoor pavilion in the Detroit area. I was working in the advertising department for a local lawn and garden company and they were one of the major corporate sponsors for the 1996 summer season. The sponsorship tickets were the shit. Center section. A dozen or so rows up. Super close for the concert of a lifetime. Except there was just one problem: The date of the concert was on a date that Julie and I already had something planned. So instead of cancelling the first gig, I did what I thought was the right thing to do. I turned the tickets over to my now sister-in-law Joanne. She went to the concert and I went to my previously planned engagement. She saw the concert and as a thank you Joanne bought me a t-shirt (one that I still have) and everytime I look at it I am reminded of the missed concert of one of my favorite artists. I have seen Sarah in concert since then, but no seats have even come close to those I gave away. Joanne reminds me of that frequently.
Flash forward to tonight. One of my clients sponsors CMAC, the outdoor pavilion in Canandaguia, NY. Sarah McLachlan was in town performing with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and thanks to the generosity of my client and Courtney, I was able to go with my youngest son Aaron and good friend Grant Taylor. These seats were the shit. Center section, a few dozen rows up in the location with the high top tables. I brought my 9-year old son AJ with me because he’s in Orchestra at school. He plays the Viola, practices almost everyday, and even has lessons over the summer. I knew he’d enjoy the RPO behind Sarah.
Sarah came out right at 7:30pm. We were close. So close that we could see her smile, her expressions of gratitude, humility and joy from being on stage. This concert was pure musical morphine.
The highlight of the concert was when she performed her song Fear. It’s track number 11 from the aforementioned album. The song is powerful in its simplicity, the vocals are ridiculously high and the harmony gives me goosebumps. The subject matter of the lyrics is something I can identify with. Fear. Fear of rejection, love, new starts, and the honest truth. The first part of the song Sarah talks about comfort, a long lost friend, and a newborn child. All positive associations. Then the next part is the fear… trembling, hunger and a lack of shelter. This fear is fed by the uncertainty of life, and shows the spectrum of feelings associated with love, friendship, life decisions, new endeavors and the future. They can either be these positive, wonderful things, or they can rip your soul apart. Right now I feel like I am on the soul-ripping side.
Watching Sarah perform this song, and the entire concert with the RPO tonight was wonderful. It was a 16 year wait to get back to the type of seats I gave away to my sister-in-law, but this time I was able to buy Joanne the t-shirt.
Thank you Sarah and the RPO, it was well worth the wait.