Funny girl k.d. lang rewards patient fans

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 February, 2005, 12:00am

k.d. lang

Hall 3, Hong Kong Convention

and Exhibition Centre

One night only

From the moment she took the stage last night, cult singer k.d. lang let the crowd know that she's laid-back enough to laugh at herself.

The gay singer's banter with the crowd at the convention centre's most intimate hall was often tongue-in-cheek, with references to the fuss made over her sexuality.

Earlier she had come on stage to personally announce an unexpected 20-minute delay between the impressive local support acts, Chet Lam and Elise Liao, and her own set.

The audience's patience was rewarded, not only by lang's 13-song set, but by the accompaniment of a 20-piece Hong Kong orchestral string ensemble that was to add an extra lush dimension to the singer's guitar, bass, piano and drum back-up.

Only four songs were from lang's recently released Hymn Of The 49th Parallel - an album of covers named with a geographical reference to her native Canada (lest anyone confuse her for an American).

Her set kicked off with Don't Smoke In Bed - a winsome ballad from her 1997 album, Drag - which she executed with some powerful moments reminiscent of Shirley Bassey.

Crying was the first of lang's handful of covers, and it drew the first big audience response. She's made the Roy Orbison classic into her own lounge lament, complete on the night with brushed drums and deliberately over-cheesy strings which hammed-up the song's dramatic tone.

Neil Young's Helpless, from the new album, invoked minimal intervention from the string section, and was to be the most rock'n'roll number of the night.

Constant Craving, the song that scored lang her biggest chart success in the mid-1990s, didn't receive as many whoops and whistles as her two slide-guitar-infused encore numbers, which saw most of the crowd storm the front of stage.

Lang's mock-flouncy hula-dancing routine, once again, poked fun at her own identity.