I realised last night I’ve waited close to twenty years to see k.d. lang. In 1993 when she won the Grammy I was at my aunt’s house in Melbourne and I remember watching this woman I’d never heard of, dressed in a great suit, accept an award and sing Constant Craving. I was intrigued by her but somehow never got around to looking her up.
A little while later, possibly even the same year, I was at someone’s house. I don’t know who she was. A friend had taken me there. An old style Canberra house in one of the leafy suburbs. There was rain. And a fireplace. Glasses of wine. I asked what the CD on the stereo was – k.d. lang I was told. Ingenue.
Another kd moment.
Then nothing for a long, long time.
I dabbled. I bought Hymns of the 49th Parrallel, her album of stunning covers of Canadian standards. I fell for that album in a big way and so jumped at the chance this year to see her live when I learned she was playing Canberra, at the AIS. Surely even as a mild fan I was going to be impressed at That Voice.
I was. More than a little impressed. Her voice filled the room. It reached out to everyone. She crooned. And then she got loud. Then she crooned again. Soaring voice, so much feeling, so much energy. She was far more energetic than I anticipated. And she danced in a really goofy way. I watched her and thought you know what? There’s no need to be ashamed of dancing if you don’t do it well (like me). Just do it and be yourself. It works.
(At the AIS last night. Image source Flickr: Jeaneem)
I wouldn’t confess to being a huge fan of all her work. Some i find pretty forgettable (so does she, it seems. I saw her interviewed and she said she’s not always very happy with the songs she writes herself). But when she gets it right, when she’s at her best it’s magical.
It’s perhaps a cliché to say that her performance of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah is one of her finest moments but I was looking forward to it all the same. It’s a stand out.
Last night, it was breathtaking. Literally. There were moments when her voice was pure joy and you could feel the audience holding its collective breath.
The night was perfect for that. If I never see her live again, I’ve been there when she’s sung that song.
I listened to her, wondering what it must feel like to be able to do that with your body? I love to sing and get a lot of joy out of it how it feels but to be able to do what she does? A rare and incredible thing.
Thank you kd for a wonderful show. Such a treat.
This is the first song off her new album and was the show opener last night. I knew right away I was in for a spectacular night.