Lilith Fair Review – July 30, 2010 – Comcast Center, Mansfield, MA (aka Boston)

Tegan & Sara made their single Lilith Fair appearance in Boston

Back in May 2009, I was so excited to hear that Lilith Fair was coming back. I am a big Sarah McLachlan fan – I can sing along to her ridiculously operatic first single “Vox”.

Of my wishlist of Lilith artists, Tegan and Sara, Beth Orton, and Sheryl Crow did sign-on, and I went to the Mansfield, MA (aka “Boston” stop) of the tour since it was the only stop for Tegan and Sara and it was near NYC.

Unfortunately, the tour suffered from sluggish sales, resulting in slashed ticket prices which alienated die-hard fans who bought tickets early, pre-ordered Sarah’s new album, and paid full price for seats that were often lackluster. Then the southern portion of the tour was canceled and big-name acts like Kelly Clarkson, Carly Simon, and Norah Jones ended up canceling or being cut out of the tour. The tour should have been much shorter and with more big names – the LA stop had virtually no headliners.

Despite having paid $50 for lawn seats that were slashed to $10, the venue made up for the ticket sales’ shortcomings. Parking was free, and if you talked to one of the managers by the lawn entrance, you could exchange your lawn seat tickets for second tier seats, which was fantastic after arguing with Ticketmaster over upgrading the seats.

Even though Kelly Clarkson and Carly Simon both dropped out of the show, I was a fan of all of the artists on the mainstage – who tended to be more indie than mainstream. Beth Orton opened the show solo, doing her folk thing and singing songs I remember from nearly ten years ago. Her cover of “Ooh Child” is a stunner. But it was sad that she was still relegated to an opening act at Lilith.

Next up was Sara Bareilles who was a bouncy entertainer and sparked up the crowd with her banter about singing songs about douchebags. She did a cover of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and performed “Gravity,” her loveliest song.

Cat Power has notorious stage fright and seemed totally out of her element at such a big venue. I guess she needs that cash money. She wouldn’t look at the audience and sang very drowsily. Her setlist included the Stones’ “Satisfaction,” the Beach Boys’ “Sea of Love,” and her own song “The Greatest.”

Tegan & Sara revived the audience with their perky thank-yous after every song. Tegan was effusive in her praise of Lilith Fair. She dedicated “Call It Off” to Sarah (“not Sara, she gets enough”) and everyone who puts on Lilith Fair, stating:

“The first time Sara and I played Lilith Fair was eleven years ago. We only did one show but every single interview we’ve ever done they’ve asked about Lilith Fair and I think that just shows how significant Lilith Fair truly is and that even when it was gone it was so missed by everybody and I think it’s absolutely amazing. . .hats off to you guys for coming out and supporting such an incredible, incredible and important festival.”

Older Sarah closed it down with the usual hits and was very heavy on the Surfacing album – I really didn’t need to hear “Building A Mystery,” “Sweet Surrender,” “Adia,” AND “Angel.” She also did the electric version of “Possession,” the sentimental favorite “I Will Remember You,” and the setlist singalong staple “Ice Cream.” She also did a few songs off of her new album, my favorite was “Forgiveness.” I wish she had mixed it up and done “Elsewhere,” “Full of Grace,” or “Black and White” but alas.

To close, the festival performers took the stage (sans Beth Orton and Cat Power) to cover “Because the Night,” which is a Patti Smith/Springsteen song apparently – I only know the 10,000 Maniacs cover. Too bad Tegan and Sara’s mikes don’t work.

A great show overall and worth the $50. But get it together for the next time, Lilith Fair organizers! Don’t take advantage of the fans who buy early – upgrade our tickets or give us some free merch.

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