Lilith Fair - 1999

A Review

We trekked, ticketless, to the New World Music Theater, in Tinley Park, IL. Our luck changed when my fellow Lilith Fair fan, Meridith, secured tickets from people whose companions did not show up. Most seats in the pavillion were sold, and most of the grassy lawn area was also taken, albeit wet from the day's rain.
Lilith Fair is a musical festival founded 3 years ago by its headliner, Sarah McLachlan. Initially skeptical critics have been silenced, however, as the fair has continually proved successful both financially and artistically.

Opening at 5:30 on the Main Stage was Deborah Cox. She had soul, especially on her hit, "It's Over Now." Apparently worried that the mostly white audience would not be quite familiar with her original work, she threw in a few covers as well.

Next came the Dixie Chicks. Although this was the band with which I claimed the least familiarity, they had high energy, enthusiasm, catchy songs, and the crowd was very into their whole set.

Following was the Indigo Girls. With a folksy brand of music low on electronica, they blended their voices into harmony oh so delicately. My favorite Indigo Girls' song was performed second in their set, "Galileo." They also broke what I thought was one of the standard and traditional music rules in a festival of this type. Usually, the headliner performs last, and comes on stage for the first time as the last act. However, in the middle of their set, Amy Ray and Emily Sailers welcomed Sarah McLachlan, who then joined them in another sweet rendition. More guests came from the just ended second stage, and everyone jammed like Neil Young on "Rockin' In The Free World." Deborah Cox came out next, and joined the gang for another IG hit, "Closer To Fine."

The biggest selling artist of the bill came next. Sheryl Crow has three albums of superb material from which to choose, and she did not disappoint. She broke out all the hits, with the exception of her breakthrough single from her first album, "All I Wanna Do," which I am not complaining about, as I got sick of that song years ago. A pleasant surprise was her rendition of the GNR clasic, "Sweet Child O Mine." I must say she keeps improving, as her latest, "My Favorite Mistake," which is from her third album, sounds better, more from the heart, and less whiny than most of her second album.

The roar of the crowd was deafening when Sarah McLachlan took the stage. She had a seven-piece band, and did not disappoint in performing all of her hits, and she even threw in a few surprises. I must say my faorite songs here were "Building a Mystery," followed by "Adia."
In the grand finale, all the performers joined Sarah onstage, and broke into song.

McLachlan has won her battle to prove that female artists can draw on the concert circuit keeping up with the men. However, this is the last Lilith Fair, ever. In fact, the whole tour will be ending in early September. Sarah gave a rousing speech at the end, including the profession of mutual love, admiration, and respect shared by all the artists, and a heartfelt thanks to the crowd. The applause grew louder, as the whole cast received a deserving standing O.