Last month, Ron, Brigid, and I went to Indianapolis and saw k.d. lang perform with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Wow, what a terrific show! Okay, I'm a big fan of hers, but still, I think anyone who saw her and who appreciates a great voice would have to agree that she is an outstanding live performer. This was our second time to see k.d. lang. The first time we saw her was during her tour for Ingenue.
I first heard of k.d. lang when her single "Trail of Broken Hearts" played on VH-1. I just loved the sound of that song and her voice, so I bought the CD Absolute Torch and Twang. That song is still one of my absolute favorites, but I like "Pullin' Back the Reins" from that CD even more. I played the heck out of that CD. Then for some gift-giving occasion Ron bought me her first two albums -- Angel with a Lariat (as k.d. lang and the Reclines) and Shadowland. I liked both of them, but Shadowland just blew me away. I did not expect an album of torchy blues. She has such a powerful voice and projects so much emotion. So, when Ingenue was released, I snapped it up immediately. This CD is also a good one, but it's one that grew on me slowly. At first I didn't like it as much as Shadowland. Today I love every song on it, and it's one of my favorites of hers.
The first time we saw k.d. lang in concert was an elaborate surprise for me pulled off nearly perfectly by Ron and his parents. They knew how much I liked her, and when they saw she was coming to Louisville during her Ingenue tour, the three of them bought tickets and planned their surprise. Ron's parents told us they and another couple had tickets to see Michelle Shocked, but the other couple at the last minute had something come up and couldn't go. So Mom and Dad asked us if we'd like to use the spare tickets and go with them. We liked Michelle Shocked, so we said yes.
The day of the concert, Ron pushed me through the lobby quickly. Then we ran into the other couple! As I learned later, the other couple knew all about the surprise and were able to play along quite nicely. But at the time I was really embarrassed for them having been apparently caught in a lie. After that, we went to our seats. When the usher tried to hand me a program, Ron pushed me hard enough that I stumbled! And needless to say, I didn't get a program. After we took our seats, I asked to see Ron's program, but he kept saying he was still reading it. Ron does read slower than I do, but this was ridiculous. Between getting pushed all over the lobby, him not letting me get a program, and now this, I was getting mad.
To say the least.
Ron could see I had reached my boiling point, and when I asked again if I could at least look at the ticket stubs while he read the program, he practically threw them at me. I glanced at them, but I was so mad I couldn't really see them. I mean, Ron was being a complete and total jerk. But then I could hear Ron and his parents laughing, and I looked up to see the three of them leaning out from their seats, all lined up so they could each see my face, and all nodding and smiling these huge smiles. I was a bit confused, so I glanced at the ticket stubs again -- and saw they said k.d. lang, not Michelle Shocked. Well, maybe Michelle wasn't, but I sure was Shocked!
That was a terrific performance, and I left an even bigger fan than before the show. I continued to buy her CDs, including the soundtrack for Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, even though I never saw the movie. And I continue to love her music and her voice. So, when I saw that she was touring and performing with local symphonies and would have a stop in Indianapolis, I knew we had to go.
Now, it's been more than a few years since her Ingenue tour. I fully expected at this concert that her voice would have lost something in the intervening years. She still sounds wonderful on her CDs, but who can't sound good in a studio? But even with my lowered expectations, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to hear her live again.
Well, not only has k.d. lang not lost anything, she has actually improved with age. She has greater control over her voice and is more able to finely nuance her emotional range during each song. Nearly every song was a highlight. She sang many of my favorites, including "Don't Smoke in Bed' and "Still Thrives This Love." She can't be beat on Roy Orbison's "Crying," of course. Her rendition of Neil Young's "Helpless" was beautiful, and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" was nothing short of brilliant.
Yes, I'm a k.d. lang fan, but really, I have no choice. What a voice!