Labor/Labour Day Weekend was absolutely crazy this year in the Pacific Northwest. You had Bumbershoot going on at Seattle Center (August 31-September 2), Zac Brown Band and OneRepublic (August 31) and the Foo Fighters rocking Safeco Field (September 1), and then there was Lights playing her first ever show in Whistler, Canada (September 1). My plan earlier in the year was to finally see Dave Grohl live and perhaps catch some of Friday’s action at Bumbershoot, but when I heard that one of my favorite artists was playing in one of my favorite places on this planet, it was a no-brainer…I was headed to Canada.
I arrived in Whistler Friday afternoon. It is only about a two and a half hour drive from my house in Bellingham, WA and I try to make it there a few times a year. The beauty that you witness on the Sea To Sky Highway is awe-inspiring. Everything, from climbers taking on the sheer face of the Stawamus Chief in Squamish to the blue/green waters of Horseshoe Bay and Lions Bay, is worth every minute. Later that night I witnessed a brand new spectacle in the Whistler area (Cougar Mountain to be exact) called Vallea Lumina; a late night walk through the forest, drenched in the most beautiful light show I have ever seen.
The next day it was time for a different type of “light show” – see what I did there? Ever since the Vancouver/Whistler Olympics were held in 2010, the Olympic Plaza in Whistler has hosted free concerts every weekend in the summer. Lights just happened to be the second to last one this year. Before I get into how amazing the show was, I want to give the village of Whistler the credit it deserves. Hosting the Olympic Games can be a crap shoot for a region, but Whistler has made the most of it and has kept the spirit of the Games alive and well eight years later. It is pretty remarkable.
Although the calendar still read summer, a chilly breeze settled into the mountain Labor/Labour Day Weekend. Lights was set to take the stage at 7:30 pm and given the fact I saw her walking the trails back to Whistler from Blackcomb with her daughter, Rocket, just a little bit before that, it was a safe bet that she was starting on time.
By the time 7:30 rolled around, I was shivering a bit from the sudden drop in temperature (and the fact I picked the wrong hoodie for that particular evening), so when Lights hit the stage, it was the perfect time to start moving and warm things up. She started the night with “New Fears” off of her latest album, Skin And Earth, and went straight into “Savage” after that.
I know I have said this several times in my reviews of her latest music, but her voice just keeps getting better and better. You will often find with many artists that after their first album, they tend to write music that will be a little bit easier to sing live. That is certainly not the case with Lights and yet, she slayed the new material like it was nothing. About halfway through, it was time for her to check up on a couple of songs from Tiny Machines (“Up We Go” and then “Running With The Boys” later), as well as “Toes” from Siberia and an acoustic version of “Drive My Soul” from her debut album, The Listening. Before she bid farewell to the crowd and what seemed like the last bit of summer as well, she treated us to a cover of “Lovefool” (The Cardigans) and then jumped back to her new stuff with “Kicks”, “We Were Here”, and then “Giants” for her encore.
I have seen Lights four times in concert now over the last seven years. She was great in 2011, but she is something truly special now. It is pretty amazing that those of us in Whistler were able to take in that magic for free especially when she is worth any price of admission.
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine
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