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k d lang, Brighton Dome review - superb revival of classic album | reviews, news & interviews

k.d.lang, Brighton Dome review - superb revival of classic album

k.d.lang, Brighton Dome review - superb revival of classic album

Iconic Ingénue revisited after 25 years

k.d.lang performed Ingénue's songs in the same order as the albumEstelle Masary

It’s hard to convey in an age of equal marriage and gender fluidity the impact that k.d. lang’s Ingénue had when it was released in 1992. The album, 10 tracks that tell of the pain and pleasure of love and longing, was a huge hit with a generation of gay men and women, closeted or out, who felt it spoke directly to them. Straight people were welcome to the party too, of course; broken hearts don't discriminate.

Ingénue remains her finest work, the first, she says, that she wrought from her personal experience rather than simply musical expression. Her previous albums had been influenced by country and rockabilly, but here were ballads, cabaret and cheesy pop, the yearning lyrics inspired by her attraction to a straight woman who was married – which we found out when lang spoke publicly about her sexuality. 

With her androgynous good looks, cropped hair and masculine suits and boots, it was hardly a surprise – but nor was it that the album went on to achieve iconic, multi-platinum status. It was a terrific idea, then, to re-release the Ingénue 25 years on, and tour with this show, Ingénue Redux. “Happy second anniversary of the 25th anniversary,” lang said drily. “What is it? Borax?”

She was in a relaxed and jocular mood, teasing an audience filled with lesbian couples with a knowing “Strapping on my guitar”, and hamming it up as she pranced across the stage during the swooping orchestral strains of “Miss Chatelaine”.

Lang was mostly faithful to the songs, which she performed in the same order as the album. An added guitar riff here, a delayed delivery of a line there, were the minor differences in the early numbers "Save Me" and "The Mind of Love", but then a few tracks in things diverged and she let her cracking five-piece band have their moment.

Pianist Daniel Clarke gave funky jazz-infused interludes in “Seasons of Hollow Soul” and “Tears of Love's Recall”, and there was a superb breakout by bassist David Piltch (who played on the original album) and drummer Andrew Borger on “Outside Myself”, while Grecco Burrato 's guitar-playing added greatly to the live performance.

She ended with the album’s best-selling single and Grammy-winning “Constant Craving” – a passionate paean to unrequited love – and the crowd had their chance to sing along. It's a difficult trick to pull off, pleasing the old fans while revitalising beloved songs, but lang achieved it with aplomb.

The album completed, lang performed another, shorter set, and if the crowd had already been appreciative of a voice that has withstood the years magnificently, here its quality, its operatic purity and power, soared. She sang songs by three fellow Canadians – Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me”, Neil Young's “Helpless” and Leonard Cohen “Hallelujah” – each a test of any voice, but here displaying what an angelic instrument she has.

As an encore lang sang two more of her oldies – “Sing It Loud”, dedicated to climate-change campaigner Greta Thunberg, and “Sleeping Alone”. Then she delivered a homily that we are all different, and all the same; we're just looking to love and be loved in our own unique way. Her rapturous, adoring fans couldn't agree more.

Her voice has withstood the years magnificently, and its purity and power soared


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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I couldn’t agree more. This review sums it up nicely. What a splendid concert. Her vocal range is still as good as ever and her voice is an exquisite instrument. Her engagement with the audience and the subtle tweaks make it so much more than just listening to a great album. I just wish I had run into her at Infinity Foods, I would definitely have helped her select the best houmous!

Could not agree more, vocally superb, with amazing musicians, great atmosphere. Rates as one if not the best concert I have ever seen and I have seen a few lol

Very nice review.. I saw 14 concerts in 2018 and 2019, including some really big names. k.d.’s show was definitely the top of the heap for me. It’s not just her cosmically androgynous voice, but her ability to make the audience experience the pain she felt when ingenue was written. Thats a pretty amazing accomplishment—the ability to touch one’s soul.

I was there! Superb concert, which garnered three standing ovations for kd. I was expecting a great night, but I didn't expect how confident and amusing on stage she was. Having an audience made up of practically all women might have helped to make a wonderful atmosphere.

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