k.d. lang’s breakthrough record, “Ingénue,” is 25 years old now, and the Canadian singer is headed out for an anniversary tour during which she will sing the album in order. Her tour starts with three dates in the Seattle area, Feb. 23, 24 and 26.
k.d. lang’s breakthrough record, “Ingénue,” is 25 years old now, and the Canadian singer is headed out for an anniversary tour during which she will sing the album, in order, starting with the swooning, lovestruck “Save Me,” and ending with “Constant Craving.”
The latter is the song for which lang won a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1993 and an MTV Music Award for Best Female Video.
You think of the years, and then you think of the opening song, how the first few lines of “Save Me” seem to send lang’s lush, languid pipes straight up a steep vocal hill.
Are you going to be able to reach those notes? I ask lang, on the phone from her home in Calgary recently.
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“You’re going to have to wait and see,” she said with an easy laugh. “I did all right last year. But every day is a challenge. You’re going to be happy, though.”
lang’s celebratory, 19-date “Ingénue Redux Tour” had its beginnings last fall, when Nonesuch Records released a remastered version of the album with some previously unreleased live recordings.
lang opens the tour with two shows at the Vashon Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 23 and 24. They will benefit the Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust and the Vashon Center for the Arts. (Slava Grigoyan will open).
On Monday, Feb. 26, lang will move over to the Moore Theatre in Seattle.
A lot has happened in the last 25 years. lang is now not the same person she was when “Ingénue” hit — nor is her audience. You wonder what she thinks about when she sings these songs.
So did she, before she started rehearsing.
“I went through a big process of internal investigation into how I was going to approach this music,” she said. “I talked to a lot of friends and fans and really meditated about how I should approach the music at this point.
“And it came down to really wanting to sing it in the most open, neutral way. That doesn’t mean unemotional, but not superimposing any of my stuff overtly. My experience with ‘Even Cowgirls Get the Blues’ (the Gus Van Sant film for which she contributed much of the music) is that people have been living with the book for 25 years.”
It’s the same with “Ingénue,” she said.
“I’m just giving it to them,” lang said of her fans. “There are slightly different arrangements, but the integrity is there.”
She contacted the musicians touring with her over a year ago and they started rehearsing six months ago.
“I am super-duper prepared for this tour,” lang said.
She has never played “Ingénue” in order, even when recording it. So singing the songs this way has been an eye-opener. She feels them differently.
“It is like a light bulb going off when I perform now,” lang said, reciting the names of some of the songs — “The Mind of Love,” the playful “Miss Chatelaine,” the pensive “Season of Hollow Soul” and the pained “Tears of Love’s Recall.” It is almost like traveling through every feeling of love: Joy, passion, pain, regret, loneliness.
“And then we get to ‘Constant Craving,’ and it’s all right,” lang said. “It is an acquiescence. It is an embracing of divine dissatisfaction, all the vulnerabilities and questions.
“Only when I sang the songs in order like that did I find the purpose of that song,” she said. We’re all nervous, we’re all vulnerable, we’re all hopeful, she said.
lang, who has performed with Roy Orbison, Tony Bennett and Elton John, nearly laid new claim to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” when she sang it at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC.
And in 2016, she collaborated with Neko Case and Laura Viers on the album project “case/lang/viers.”
lang splits her time between her homes in Portland and Calgary and is tending to her mother, who is in her 90s.
That, and getting ready for the tour are all she is doing. No songwriting. For now.
“I think about it every day, but I haven’t settled on anything and nothing is really calling my name yet,” she said. “And until that happens, I’m not going to force it.
“I have experienced forcing it,” she said. “And it doesn’t work.”
k.d. lang performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24, at the Vashon Center for the Arts, 19600 Vashon Highway S.W., Vashon Island; (206-463-5131 or vashoncenterforthearts.org), and at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, at the Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle; $47-$87 (800-982-2787 or stgpresents.org)