Thirty-six hours after the concert, I still have an estrogen hangover. Make no mistake, that’s a good thing.
The night before last, I had primo seats and VIP privileges at the final stop on the Lilith Fair tour, thanks to some well connected friends.
It feels like years since I’ve been to a concert. I was just glad they didn’t confiscate my Tums at the door.
You will recall that Lilith Fair began in the late 1990s and ran three years as an annual concert celebrating women in music. Founded by Sarah McLachlan in response to concert promoters’ alleged bias against all-women shows, Lilith Fair featured women solo artists and women-led bands. After 10 years, Lilith Fair resumed this summer and culminated its multi-city tour in the Washington area Tuesday night. Truly, it was music of women, by women and for women.
I have nothing against male musicians—in fact, I have secret crushes on many of them—but it’s a rare and stirring experience to wallow in the glory of one’s gender on a sultry evening, enjoying a cold beverage under the stars, in the company of terrific people of both genders.
Following a number of smaller acts appearing throughout the afternoon, the main stage kicked off with Sara Bareilles, new to the Fair and white hot these days, who opened with several familiar hits. She was followed by Cat Power, whom I didn’t know, but are in the very large cyber-basket I carried out of iTunes yesterday.
For me, the treat of the night was getting to hear Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks, performing as their new group Court Yard Hounds. They dazzled the audience with their strings (fiddle, mandolin and banjo) and earth-moving vocal harmonies. Best line of the night: “The Dixie Chicks stay at The Ritz. The Court Yard Hounds stay at Motel 6.”
Indigo Girls sprayed a geyser of energy into the pavilion, finishing up with my—and I think everyone’s—favorite singalong, “Closer to Fine.” Then Sarah McLachlan brought it home with a set comprising her classic cry-in-your-chamomile ballads and more upbeat selections from her new record. Whether she’s at the piano, burning up the guitar or demonstrating one of the richest voices in the business today, every one of her songs stirs emotion.
As a student of song lyrics, it struck me at the time how many appealed uniquely to the female spirit. I don’t intend sexism, but I also don’t suspect many men think, let alone sing, “Your love is better than chocolate.” (Maybe “your love is better than a Chipotle double meat burrito with extra guacamole”)
For the finale, Sarah invited all of the preceding acts—and their crews—on stage, where they sang “Because the Night,” written by Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen. It was fitting for the last words of the last song in the last show in what I hope isn’t the last Lilith Fair tour, to be “because the night belongs to us.”
I expect my next hangover will arrive with my iTunes bill.