Our dear friend Merlyn Carney bought us tickets to see k.d. lang play the Lincoln Center's Allen Room last night.
We sublet Mer's apartment on the Upper West Side back in the early 90s when Mer went out to L.A. Out there under the palms Merlyn made many friends, as she's one of the loveliest and sweetest and funniest people on the earth and one of the great friends she made was...
Now, I've heard Ms. lang sing on many recorded musical devices. I've heard her on the radio, on the CD player, even heard her warble away on my own Ipod. But Holy God Almighty.
I mean, Great Merciful God.
I have seen many, many things live and up close and personal. I used to work at the New York International Fringe Festival. I've spent some time overseas. I've been to Kansas City and two state fairs but I have never seen anything like I saw last night.
I could blather on indefinitely and have fun doing it, but honestly words fail. All I can say is it was like seeing every man, woman, child and angel you've ever heard sing that could sing and having it all come out of this smiling, bemused, relaxed little person's mouth.
In person, she looks a little like Dame Judi Dench and a lot like Pretty Boy Floyd right before they shot him down. And she just stands there with the presence and good humor of someone who long ago stopped caring about what any critic is going to think or say, she's just doing her job and she knows she's doing it well.
And god, she does it well. At a certain point, like right after she did Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, I was thinking,
This must have been like it felt watching Sinatra in the 50s. Or Billie Holiday before that.
Her microphone work, the notes that came out of her mouth, her band, her relationship to the crowd...
Jesus, y'all. Seriously.
If she's playing within a three hundred mile radius of your home, sell the truck and get a bus ticket and be there.