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Music Review: Sarah McLachlan – Mirrorball – The Complete Concert

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Known for her beautiful voice and feminine strength, Sarah McLachlan has become an icon for all that is good in the chick rock scene. She is attractive and talented. Of course, her main appeal is the ability to write songs, which speak about the most intimate moments in a person's life. It is easy to relate to Sarah's music. Whether you are male or female you can listen to her music and get what she is saying.

A few years back, Sarah was a major player in the music industry. She had hits left and right and wrote songs and recorded CDs that were good from front to back, which isn't the easiest thing to do. Creatively, she was at the top of her game. When she decided to take some time off people could not help but wonder if, when she came back, she would be as good as she was upon leaving.

The answer, sadly, was not really. The first CD upon reintroducing herself to the music scene was Afterglow. That CD was extremely disappointing to me, as a Sarah fan. However, when I heard about the expanded new take on Mirrorball, I was anxious to review it.

Mirrorball is not a new CD by any means. In fact, I also have the original Mirrorball, McLachlan's first live album. This current two-disc set offers the very best of Sarah McLachlan, sung live and recorded while Sarah was on tour in Portland, Oregon. The entire 1999 Mirrorball is included on the two CDs presented on Complete. If you are a Sarah McLachlan fan you owe it to yourself to buy the full-length version.

I cannot say enough good things about Complete. While I am usually highly critical of live music and CDs, I have had the privilege of seeing Sarah live during the final year of Lilith Fair. A true performer, she was amazing, offering an incredibly enjoyable show.

And just as I remember her then, she is remarkable on this live CD. The music has been re-mastered so it is crisp and clean, and the enjoyment evident in her voice while she is on stage shines through loud and clear.

In two CDs you have all of the best songs written and performed by McLachlan. From "Possession" to "Ice," all of her best songs are represented. While this is a two-disc set, I cannot say I favor one CD over the next. The first CD has some of my favorite hits, including "Building a Mystery," "Plenty," "Hold On," "Good Enough," and "Ice," among others. Meanwhile on the second CD there is "Fear," "Vox," "Possession," "Ice Cream," "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy," and "Angel." As any true old school Sarah fan will tell you, all the best is represented in full force.

Which was not the case with a similar CD to the original Mirrorball — put out right after the late '90s concert — that was beset with an under-representation of good songs. Rather than using one master recording and remastering it, as was done here, there were several songs from different concerts across the tour. It ended up feeling somewhat like a cheap ploy to sell a CD that most fans already owned, although not live. This time, however, the CD is a pleasant surprise and one that was desperately needed for any fan who missed the goodness that was once Sarah.

From cover art to credits, everything you could hope for is here with Mirrorball: The Complete Concert, and well worth enjoying. It is unclear as to what will come next from Sarah. Hopefully she will be out of her Afterglow funk and put out the next CD that will remind us of how good she is – but if that doesn't happen at least the complete Mirrorball can keep us afloat until McLachlan regains her grip and puts out something we know she is capable of, once more.

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About Dominick Evans

  • Vern Halen

    I didn’t know Sarah M was on the Mirrorball tour with Neil Young & Pearl Jam – I bet that sounded….. what? Oh. Never mind.

  • Congrats! This article has been forwarded to the Advance.net websites.

  • Scott Butki

    Great review. I love Sarah so I’ll have to get this cd.
    I’ll never forget that the one nite I saw her live (except for a later Lilith Fair show) was the nite the L.A. Riots broke out. And the show was in L.A