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(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sarah McLachlan headlines at Red Butte Gardens, Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Photos: Sarah McLachlan better than ice cream on a Salt Lake City summer night
First Published Jul 02 2014 07:43 am • Last Updated Jul 02 2014 12:54 pm

The sweet crooning and lyrical piano of Sarah McLachlan filled a warm summer night shared with a sold-out Red Butte Gardens crowd. She seamlessly switched between songs from her latest album "Shine On," and previous hits from "Surfacing" to create a perfectly relaxing evening.

Her voice, in live performance, could not match CD-perfect quality, but that didn’t detract from her performance; rather, it seasoned the concert under the stars with added soul and beauty — much like the gap-toothed grin of a supermodel.

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Opening song » The evening started out with a slightly rock edge provided by "Flesh and Blood" on her new album "Shine On" and then she jumped into her classic "Building a Mystery" from her album "Surfacing."

Highlight » To introduce "Brink of Destruction," McLachlan talked about starting to write breakup songs for "Shine On" but not being able to finish the threads of those stories. When she met her current beau, NHL star Geofff Courtnall, she said it brought back the possibility of love and having a whole new world of possibilities open up. "This is for my sweetie," she said of the song.

Crowd favorite » The vibe at the show was chill, but the song "Witness" got quite a few people on their feet and singing along. After the sun set, more people were energized by her extensive vocal range and driving lyrics, with the bulk of the crowd dancing and singing along.

Best quote » "For me this record is about gratitude even if it’s not directly stated on the record. I feel really grateful. This next song is about that. We all shine we all have that ability to give and to shine and to create positive social change. If that’s smiling at someone who is having a bad day or giving money to charity, whatever we can do. We can get overwhelmed or lost, but I really do believe those little things make positive change," she said before launching into "World on Fire."

In the crowd » The popularity of Sarah McLachlan was shown by the diversity of her sold-out audience. There was a smattering of children but not many teens. However, there wasn’t one dominant age group. While slightly more women showed up in small groups, there were plenty of men in the crowd and nearly everyone was enjoying wine, beer and snacks in a picnic setting. Two small groups of audience members were brought on to stage, and she answered questions from the audience — her favorite thing to cook? Braised lamb shank.

Encore » She started her four-song encore set with "Beautiful Girl," her haunting hit "Angel," the upbeat love song "Ice Cream and rounded it out with "The Sound that Love Makes."

Low note » While the natural light was gorgeous, any attempts at a stage light show for the first half of the show were quite hindered on what she called a "teensy" stage. However, after the sun set, the crowd started getting down with a great light show.

Next up » The Avett Brothers play a sold-out show on July 9 at 7 p.m.


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