After wrapping "Laws of Illusion," her first album in seven years, last week for a June 15 release, Sarah McLachlan is turning her attention to preparations for Lilith Fair's return o the road after an 11-year break.
"We talked about it every once in awhile, but the mood shifted last year," McLachlan tells Billboard.com. "Before it was like, 'Oh no, Lilith, I can't imagine going back there and doing that again' to, 'Y'know, that was a lot of fun...Let's talk about that' and we thought, 'Well, let's do it again.' It was pretty much as easy as that."
McLachlan says it was important for Lilith 2010 to "spruce up our image a little bit. There's no more naked woman coming out of a mandrake root; I look at that now and cringe." But, she adds, the general philosophy of the female-centered package remains the same. "We're trying to put on a really good musical show. We're trying to create awareness for local women's issues in the communities we're going into. We're trying to raise money for charity. We're trying to leave a positive imprint wherever we go."
McLachlan herself says she's particularly excited about having the Go-Go's and Bangles take part in some of this year's dates. "That's my high school days," she notes. She's also pleased to be able to mix new Lilith participants such as Loretta Lynn, Mary J. Blige, Cat Power and Metric with returnees and "friends" like Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris and the Indigo Girls. McLachlan is also preparing to take a look at the tally of the Internet fan poll she held to help determine what she'll play during her Lilith sets.
"It will be partial input," explains McLachlan, whose first single from "Laws of Illusion," "Loving You is Easy," is currently available at digital retailers. "I have my own desires as well, but obviously my fans are coming to see me. They're paying money to see me, and I want to know what they want to hear. I can't wait to play these new ('Laws of Illusion') songs live, but the trouble is, doing Lilith, everybody wants the hits, so I have to be careful. I'll rehearse four or five of the (new) songs and just rotate 'em and do two each night or something like that."
McLachlan says she's aware that Lilith ticket sales are "pretty soft" right now but counters fan complaints about their prices. "There's about 300 seats out of 16,000 or whatever that are $250," she says. "Then there's 9,000 that are 25 dollars, so come on. We're working our hardest to have reasonably priced tickets so it can be accessible for everyone and that people will want to come. We might get slaughtered, I don't know, but I kind of have blind faith in the fact we're putting on a really great show and we always have, and that will bring people in the end."
Lilith Fair kicks off June 27 in Calgary, with 36 dates before wrapping Aug. 16 in Dallas. The tour played to more than two million fans between 1997-99 and raised more than $10 million for national and local women's charities. A "Lilith 2020 Tour Compilation," featuring McLachlan's "One Dream" from the 2020 Winter Olympics and tracks from Kelly Clarkson, Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, Court Yard Hounds and others, also hits stores on June 15.