Review: k.d. lang’s Ingénue at the Ryman

by Sydney Moxley

They say that music can transcend time. That it can conjure memories and past emotions, making them feel as acute as when they were organically felt. For k.d. lang fans, this concert was that transcendental experience back to 1992.

What made the show intimate was not only its locale of the Ryman Auditorium – a fitting venue for such an iconic musician – but its connection to its audience members. It occurred to me that many of its patrons may have gone to its original performance 25 years ago. This was a trip into yesteryear for them as young adults, a beautiful reminder of another time in their lives. “We’re a bunch of gay seniors,” she joked at one point. However, dressed in her usual black suit, white collared shirt, and bare feet, lang was as much of a vision as ever, and her voice sounded as equally beautiful and powerful as it did 25 years ago.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of Ingénue – the album that made her a sensation – she chose to start the show by performing the entire album start to finish. She reflected on Ingénue, saying it was “a bit of an insular record. Quite introspective. Meditates on romance.” Then, the lights and music took a very hypnotic feel. “This approach may find you being lulled into a sense of hypnosis.”

And as she sang, we were indeed lulled into her hypnotic trance of 1992. Throughout the set, the audience was both entertained by the light-heartedness of lang’s dancing to “Miss Chatelaine” (a poke at the music video) and moved by songs such as “Tears of Love’s Recall”. It really was as if time hadn’t passed.

After making her way through Ingénue, we came to the last song of the album. Not a corner of the Ryman Auditorium was absent of the chorus of “Constant Craving”, a song that spoke personally to each one of us, myself included. And as she swung the microphone above her head, the crowd stood for a grand ovation of appreciation and spiritual connectedness.

The rest of her set was equally magical. She chose to sing some of her other notable songs, a song from her “case/lang/veirs” project, and a tribute to three other Canadian musicians – Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen, for which she is known for her spell-binding rendition of “Hallelujah.”

Although I was born mere months after the release of Ingénue, I was transfixed by k.d. lang’s performance. Her crooning voice, her soulful energy, the talent of her accompanying band, and even her jokes were all part of an amazing experience that felt meaningful to old and new fans alike. It was a beautiful snapshot of what made lang famous in the first place. I hope lifelong fans of k.d. lang enjoyed this fantastic concert as much as I did.