Monday, March 21, 2011

A Night With Sarah McLachlan

Oh Sarah!!

Friends lets me down, people let me down, and the world lets me down. Please, not you too...I just don't have the strength to let the heros in my life let me down.

I went to see Sarah McLachlan on St. Patty's Day at Massey Hall in Toronto, and I was looking forward to finally seeing my B.F.F. She came out looking great, and she sounded great. She was funny, she was honest, personable, and she shared her stage and spotlight with Butterfly Boucher, Luke Doucet, and his wife Melissa McLelland. They were all great additions, and they proved to be a great entourage to the show. It was all going so well...

And then the wheels started to fall off....

I knew I was in trouble when Sarah sat at her piano, and told the sell-out audience that there were some songs that she just didn't feel connected to anymore, and wouldn't feel genuine in singing them. I assumed that she was referring to her break up with her ex-husband Ashwin Sood, and maybe the songs that reminded her of their romance together, but I put it out of my mind and listened onwards.

By the end of the show, I'm counting on my fingers, and looking at my watch, and wondering when she is gonna get to the songs that I have been waiting to hear. I was originally thinking that they would most likely be in the encore, because they were such big hits. So I sat patiently, and waited.

But they never came...Here are the 6 songs I expected to hear: (call me crazy if you wouldn't want to hear Sarah sing these)

1) ORDINARY MIRACLE (She opened the Winter Olympics in Vancouver with this!!)

2) Song For a Winter's Night

3) Blackbird

4) River

5) Push

6) Full of Grace

Full of Grace is my favourite Sarah song. You know how you have a song that you just simply connect to, and think that someone wrote and sang just for you? Well, this is my song. It may not be her biggest song, but it's something special, and I was ruined that she never sang it.

So here's my beef...

Do you think that a performer should have to play the songs that their fans want to hear?

I remember a couple years ago, I went to see Prince, or "the artist formally known as Prince" Whatever... the little circus midget who wears Purple and sings and dances on stage to Purple Rain. -That guy...

Anyway, he came out in the press saying that he was now a reformed something or other, and he wasn't going to play certain songs now, and the press weren't allowed to ask him questions about his past and shit. So when I went to see him play, he wouldn't play "Darling Nikki" and a whole lot of other songs that didn't agree with his newly reformed sense of conscience.

Well, when we are paying to watch you play the songs that got you on that stage, I could care less about how it hurts to play those songs. Billy Joel said that he would never play "Uptown Girl" again after he and former model, and now ex-wife Christie Brinkley broke up, because he wrote that song for her.

Well, I can understand as the artist that these songs may have deep meaning and all, but we as the fans have connections to them too. I'll grant you that they probably aren't as deep as the artist's connections are, but whatever; there is a connection that we can relate to, and we are paying to see you play...

So when I pay to see an artist play live, I think it is unfair to not expect to hear the songs that have gotten you famous because they are too painful for you to sing about. If actors can get on stage and perform and do this, why can't musicians?

So I ended up leaving Sarah's concert that night feeling let down, and cheated. I had bought a ticket to her show that left me feeling worse because of an un kept expectation, than before I went in the first place.

The next day, having slept on it, I wrote her a letter and went down to Massey Hall to drop it off for her (she was playing back to back concerts there) and asked her why she didn't play these songs that were so dear to her fans, and I let her know how let down I felt because of it.

I haven't heard back from her, or her people yet, and I wonder if I will... I would like to think that Sarah is down to earth, and that someone from her staff would reach out to an isolated fan with an explanation, but who knows? What I do know, is that Sarah cancelled her performance in London, Ontario on Sat. March 19th the following day at the John Labatt Centre.

Co-incidence? I think not... ;)


  1. C'mon Chuck. We, as a generation seem to be beyond selfish. It's all about 'me' - I, me, mine if you will. I will bet dollars to donuts that there were others equally bothered to not hear their favorite song. So factoring that a few thousand people will have a wide array of favorites, is it realistic to expect her to play 80 songs to ensure that everyone hears 'theirs'? Not in my humble opinion.
    The comparison of an actor does not really wash. That would be like saying that you will only be satisfied with a Brando film if he says " I coulda been a contenda". Because, after all, that role helped make Brando the star he became, no?

    Con MacLean

    p.s. This rant was typed on my handheld. Sorry for mistakes or autocorrections.

  2. We go to concerts to hear their past hits that made them famous and likely because they are all great songs. Big hits are just that, they are big because they get wide audience appeal. I can understand why a musician would 'retire' a song or two...(ie: Elton John for Candle in the Wind) but for someone like (Sarah, whom I am also a big fan of) to not play a whole wack of songs that had wide troubling to me also. My favourite concert ever was U2 Zoo Tour...does anyone remember how wacky the tunes were in that album? I was afraid they would play them all! Luckily they played ALL of their big hits and the fans went crazy....that is what I had hoped for and it was my best concert ever. Play to the fans and you will remain successful, but alas, as an artist, their artistic integrity or conscience does not allow them to do so sometimes.
    Peter Knechtel

  3. when i saw sarah during the afterglow tour, she mentioned that she didn't love singing ordinary miracle because she hadn't written it and often forgot the lines. funnily enough, she then went on to mess up the lines and had to start over. :P

    the songs you've listed are excellent (everything sarah sings is excellent!) but to be fair, four of them aren't even 'her' songs. blackbird? river? if i'm going to see sarah mclachlan, i'd prefer to hear sarah mclachlan.

    i was at the same concert (and the next night's) and loved it!!! i think it's just an example of not being able to please everyone. i thought it was the perfect blend of old and new. :-)

    hearing full of grace live would be AWESOME, though!


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