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Originally published Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Concert review

Sarah McLachlan still has the goods at Ste. Michelle

Nova Scotian singer Sarah McLachlan, who founded the short-lived Lilith Fair in 1997 to showcase female artists, veered into Seattle this week, where she played the first show of a two-night stand Tuesday at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. She was touring behind her recent release, "Laws of Illusion."

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Concert Review |

Nova Scotian singer Sarah McLachlan, who founded the short-lived Lilith Fair in 1997 to showcase female artists, veered into Seattle this week, where she played the first show of a two-night stand Tuesday at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. She was touring behind her recent release, "Laws of Illusion."

McLachlan remains as beautiful and strong as ever. She was accompanied by Canadian and Australian chanteuses Melissa McClelland and Butterfly Boucher, respectively; Boucher also played bass guitar. Decked out in skinny jeans, a black vest and short black boots, McLachlan said she was "so happy to be back" in Seattle, though she later joked while talking about the band's garb that she didn't expect it to be winter weather. (Yes, everyone is feeling our pain.)

To start the show, McLachlan played two songs off the latest album, "Awakenings" and "Loving You is Easy," with the major hit, "Building a Mystery," sandwiched in between. Somewhat surprisingly, she then ceded ground to the two younger singers and took her place as sexy, grooving backup singer.

Three white curtains gathered in the middle at the back of the stage served as a backdrop for a multicolored kaleidoscope-inspired light show that often resembled a lava lamp. McLachlan lightened the mood throughout the night by taking audience questions, submitted via the merchandise table. Audience members now know her favorite toothpaste (Tom's of Maine) and whom she'd most like to sing a duet with (Peter Gabriel, and also Chris Martin of Coldplay).

The show really took off during the second set, with starker moments that highlighted the dreamy, unusual quality of McLachlan's immediately identifiable voice. She was accompanied by the strong vocals of the younger female singers on a slowed-down version of "Good Enough" and "The Path of Thorns." McLachlan closed out the night with an encore of audience favorites "Angel" and "Ice Cream," which brought the previously staid crowd to its feet.

Tuesday's show quickly sold out and as of that night, there were only 70 tickets left for Wednesday. That's not too shabby for a singer who most would say had her heyday in the '90s.

McLachlan tried to revive Lilith Fair last year but sales were slow. But maybe Lilith Fair 2012 isn't such a bad idea, Sarah.

Mary Guiden: marygseattle@gmail.com

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