Copyright 1999 The Boston Herald

August 4, 1999


LENGTH: 434 words

DATE: Wednesday, August 4, 1999

BYLINE: Sarah Rodman

TITLE: Lilith acts rock hard in finale



Lilith Fair, featuring Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, the Pretenders and

others, at Tweeter Center, Mansfield, yesterday.

``Girls Rule'' tattoos were the order of the day. A men's room was converted

for ladies. Mother Nature provided sunshine. The free condoms were ribbed

for her pleasure. All clear signs that the Lilith Fair was back in town.

In its third and final summer jaunt, the distaff music festival touched down

at the Tweeter Center yesterday and rocked harder than both previous years

courtesy of feral sets by Sheryl Crow and the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde.

Although that pair's hastily put-together, comedy-of-forgotten-words duet of

``If It Makes You Happy'' made Bob Dylan and Paul Simon's gravel and honey

duets of a few weeks back sound like the Everly Brothers, it was a kick to

see master and student kicking it on the same stage.

It was that kind of day. Performers watched each other and collaborated and

Lilith leader Sarah McLachlan played her own version of ``Where's Waldo,''

popping up in every mainstage set wearing a different sundress.

She sang background on Me'Shell N'Dege'Ocello's gauzy ``Grace'' during the

latter's liquid jazz-funk set. She popped up to frolic with 30 kids, as r&b

tap dancer Mya sang the ``Rugrats'' anthem ``Take Me Back.'' She lent hearty

``whoo-ooh's'' and shook maracas and her booty during the Pretenders'

absolutely galvanizing ``Middle of the Road.''

Finally, the Canadian songbird added lilting harmonies to Crow's ``Strong

Enough.'' Crow returned the favor by adding steel to McLachlan's sugar on

the elegiac piano ballad ``Angel.''

It was Crow who proved her mettle last night with a 50-minute set that

smoked through the superb, edgy roots rock of her 1998 album ``The Globe

Sessions,'' including the heartbreaking song for the dumped, ``The Difficult


Hynde steamroller through sound and monitor problems, threw in some odd and

raunchy comedy and closed with a swaggering ``Brass in Pocket.''

McLachlan's set was the cool down after those workouts, sending the

ecstatic, overwhelmingly female sold-out crowd back to their resting heart

rates with fluid piano ballads like ``Adia'' and the moody synth pulse of


On the smaller side stages, sandy-smooth local vocalist Lori McKenna shined.

Aimee Mann's new songs sound smart, wry and melodious but a bit bleak for

this giddy crowd.

Everyone joined in for a sisterly finale of Bob Dylan's ``I Shall Be

Released'' with surprise guest Judy Collins lending a grande dame air to the


The event raised $18,900 - $1 per ticket - for the battered women's outreach

group Respond Inc.