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Review: Sarah McLachlan at Meyerson Symphony Center

Posted 1:34pm on Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2013

Like a painting on a museum wall, Sarah McLachlan's voice hung in the Meyerson for all to admire.

The 45-year-old singer-songwriter was in town Monday to perform at the Vogel Alcove's "Arts Performance Event," an evening with its proceeds benefiting the work of the Dallas-based Vogel Alcove, a non-profit organization providing education and child care for homeless children under the age of six.

Her 75-minute set was frequently breathtaking, particularly in light of McLachlan's admission she'd been suffering from "walking pneumonia" for the last seven weeks, and despite what she called "a frog in her throat," she was delighted to finally be able to sing again.

Not that anyone would have guessed the Grammy winner was ailing, since she showcased the upper registers of her mezzo-soprano voice more than once Monday, most memorably during the vertiginous Fear, a standout track from her 1993 album Fumbling Towards Ecstasy.

Elsewhere, McLachlan, joined by multi-instrumentalist Vincent Jones and guitarist David Morita and backed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Sean O'Loughlin), recast the familiar with ease. Sweet Surrender was slowed down and made to smolder, while the set-opening Building a Mystery was given dramatic heft by the orchestra.

It's easy to dismiss McLachlan's catalog as being little more than glib, gooey paeans to love (or gloomy, mid-tempo slices of self-loathing) but it's impossible to ignore that voice. Sitting in the still darkness of the Meyerson, captivated by McLachlan's effortless runs and sparkling voice, there was the opportunity to simply appreciate what was unfolding before you.

Forget the aggressively heart-plucking ASPCA commercials; ignore the lovely, shapeless radio hits. Just stand (or sit) back, and behold Sarah McLachlan's skill, offered up as a gift. How is that anything less than admirable?

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