Saturday, February 13, 2010

k.d.lang + leonard cohen = hallelujah

I knew there was a reason I gave up my great perch at Walter's on North last night.


From this particular corner stool you can watch a TV screen unimpeded, catch the action at the pool table in the adjoining room, see who's coming through the front door -- or leaving -- and clearly hear the jukebox music channeled through the speakers overhead. The only rub is that the lovely and talented barmaid Cricket is often stationed at the other half of the bar. But she does know how to work the room.

Anyway, I gave it all up last night after watching the U.S. entourage enter the stadium in Vancouver. I may have been missing a lot viewing the splendor and majesty of the Opening Games amid the loud music and barroom chatter, but it LOOKED pretty cool to those of us who were paying attention.

What I did next was pure serendipity. I got home safely, turned on the TV set, and sat down just in time to watch k.d. lang belt out a stirring rendition of "Hallalujah." What an amazing performance. If you didn't see it, I'm sure it has been posted somewhere by now. I just grabbed what I could find and threw it up here for you.

Canada produces some of the finest songwriters, singers, musicians and artists on this planet, and to start naming them here would be a disservice to those who might not receive mention. But today it is safe to say that k.d. lang is one of the finest, and last night she may have been the proudest among them.

It's been more than 20 years since lang remade Roy Orbinson's "Crying" -- a song very few vocalists would or should attempt to take on -- and belted it out of the park. And while her open lesbianism and political views were at least a distraction earlier in her career, she has always been there with that big, beautiful voice, waiting to take on anything.

And last night, performing fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen's classic, she was never better.


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