Last night Sarah McLachlan and the Chieftains kicked off The Acoustic Tour at the Palace Theater in New Haven, and it was great. There were a few little phoqueups (some of the lighting cues were a bit abrupt and both Sarah and Ash flubbed lines in a couple places :), but in general it was a wonderful show, and everybody was having a great time.
Ron Sexsmith opened -- we missed him completely, on purpose. After a brief intermission Sarah came onstage and sat at her electric piano to do the version of "Possession" that's hidden at the end of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. Then Ash, Brian and Dave joined her onstage (Brian played guitar and Dave bass at first!) for an hour- long set of stripped down versions of everything from The Freedom Sessions plus "The Path of Thorns (terms)". The set list:
Path of Thorns
Full of Grace (sometimes Fall From Grace, but she was feeling positive that evening :)
Good Enough (encore)
The new arrangements worked very well -- Ash provided backing vocals, and my friend Shura was stunned afterwards when I told her that no, those weren't tapes of Camille! :) The new song (Sarah hasn't decided whether or not it's going to be "Fall From Grace" or "Full of Grace") has evolved quite a bit from the first performance in March, and I think with more instrumentation it's going to be a good one. Sarah's voice was a little bit rough around the edges, but for the most part in fine form. And for the first time in a while we were close enough to the stage that we could actually see her face as she sang, which was a plus. :)
After standing ovations and another brief intermission the Chieftains took the stage for an hour of wonderfully fun music, including a medley of tunes from The Long Black Veil (interspersed with "Satisfaction" before the song the Stones helped out on). Carlos Nunez, Galician piper extraordinaire joined them for a few songs, and Sarah came out at the end for "The Foggy Dew", the song she sang with them on House of Blues. The final song was a total Celtic jam, during which the amazing Cape Breton fiddler Ashley MacIsaac came onstage and Sarah stayed out for a little bit of vocal interplay in the middle. It was incredible.
I really wish Sarah had done more with the Chieftains, but according to Cathy from Nettwerk she doesn't know any more songs yet (though Cathy implied that Sarah may know more by the end of the tour), and she was really tired last night anyway.
The strangest bits of the evening were when the random dancers (also seen on the House of Blues thingie) came out at random intervals which even seemed to surprise the band. Turns out they're from Long Island, which made it even more surreal. Dunno if they're in it for the duration of the tour.
If this tour is coming to your area and there are still tickets available, GO. I mean come on, it's Sarah!!! And the Chieftains are great too. :)
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