As the house lights dimmed and the band took the stage, the sold-out hall came to its feet and a barefoot k.d. lang strode into view. The ovation fell to near silence as lang paused for a moment at the microphone stand. Seemingly taking it all in, she began the night with the highly emotional “Save Me.”
Her voice, as smooth and sultry as ever, is truly something to behold live. Taking us on a journey from her beginnings through today, she honored the 25th anniversary of her breakthrough album Ingénue, bringing each song to life with masterful vocals, delivered with impeccable control and presence. With each song, lang’s remarkable band shined, especially highlighting two of Portland’s brightest young stars, Moorea Masa and Tahirah Memory, singing backing vocals, all of which served to make the night even more memorable.
The stage backdrops, elegant lighting and excellent sound lifted the atmosphere to impressive heights. The performance not only featured lang’s vocal prowess, she also shared moments of humor and playfulness—with a few winks and a few stage moves up her sleeve, at one point even dancing and leaping across the stage in her suit and bare feet, truly enjoying the moment.
After 25 years, Ingénue clearly stands the test of time. Her biggest hit “Constant Craving” won a deserving standing ovation from the crowd. The set then featured a gorgeous “Honey and Smoke” (from the case/lang/veirs record—listen below) followed by “I Dream of Spring.” From there, lang choose a set of three covers, including Joni Mitchell's “Help Me” and Neil Young's “Helpless,” both of which fit perfectly with lang's voice. But it was Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah” that was, naturally, the showstopper, giving lang a chance to really shine while taking us on a spiritual journey that was as soulful and authentic as any performance I have ever witnessed. I sat stunned in my seat—awestricken by the moment. A couple seated in front of me simply stood up exclaiming, "Yes!" as the standing ovation began.
If you have an opportunity to see k.d. lang live, take it! She is an amazing entertainer with one of the greatest voices you will ever hear. Along with her knack for connecting with her audience, her charm and humor will just make you laugh and smile.