Multi-Grammy winner Sarah McLachlan played Los Angeles’ The Hollywood Bowl July 15-16 to happy crowds both Friday and Saturday night proving this singer-songwriter fills even the largest venues with fans who come out to feel her love.
However many times you visit “The Bowl” there’s always a few moments that capture you sense of awe. The first thing upon entrance is the sheer size of the venue. It has the capacity to hold over 14,000 and tonight it looks nearly sold-out. The second insight reveals itself as the concert begins. The venue features several large screens hooked up to a closed-circuit television production with several camera to capture intimate angles of the orchestra. Watching the intensity of the violinists, the cellists, horns, each individual of each section. Masters of their craft who have been hand-selected by The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. And tonight they’re here, doing what they do best for your enjoyment.
Conductor Thomas Wilkins welcomes us. The jovial master warms us up with George Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm, Embraceable You, The Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody before introducing the night’s star.
Sarah McLachlan ascends in a dazzling dark gown with a guitar strapped around her, an odd coupling of glamour and street festival, and she pulls it off remarkably. But this is only the first of many of the evening’s remarkable moments. Miss McLachlin begins with her biggest hit Building a Mystery. The crowd settles back comfortably realizing it’s going to be a fun night. The songstress proceeds to take us on a journey of love, loss and every human emotion in between.
Her stage band is given equal credit for their work, with backing vocals by bassist Butterfly Boucher and Melissa McClennan. Acclaimed guitarist Paul Buckmaster brought tremendous emotion to moments throughout.
At this point, she laughs at herself and urges each of us to “kiss the person next to you.” Watching thousands of people lean in to share a moment is something to behold and is just part of her magic. At the same time Conductor Wilkins steps over for a kiss of his own with her, which she obliges him. This brought the biggest laughs and cheers of the first half.
For the most part Ms. McLachlan kept the conversation minimal between yarns. It wasn’t how many words she chose, but rather the message. She thanked the crowd of Angelenos for braving Carmageddon and coming out this weekend. She quipped on about which of her songs she has and hasn’t allowed in movies, about the pain of her divorce and even kidded about her habit for writing depressing songs, which inspired her to conjure some happier ones.
The audience found her work insightful, emotional, empowering. By the night’s end, many flowed with happy tears, many more swayed and sung along.
The encore included Ice Cream, a happy fan favorite that illicited cheers from all sides of the venue. A surprisingly happy ending to an expectedly solemn night.