This video companion to the Canadian singer-songwriter's triumphant live album confirms in sight what that recording advanced in sound--Sarah McLachlan and her fine, flexible stage band have evolved into a superb live performing unit, breathing added fire and nuance into McLachlan songs that were already stunning in their original studio versions. Always a strong, charismatic singer, McLachlan now conjures a rare balance of delicacy and power, measured here in performances of signature songs that add a new, more muscular edge matching her band's rock firepower. Thus, "Possession" expands beyond its already sensual promise to touch on truly erotic abandon, while "Building a Mystery" focuses its portrait of a narcissistic poseur with a harder edge and a newly amended, R-rated lyric that's entirely appropriate.
Shot on McLachlan's 1998 headlining tour, the concert captures her in a more theatrical and frankly glamorous (if slightly funky) vein than her fabled Lilith Fair shows: in her floor-length blue gown, sparkling blue mascara, and bare feet, she evokes a more demure, Gen-X cousin to Cabaret's Sally Bowles. With 23 featured songs, Mirrorball on video adds 9 tracks not heard on the CD. The audio mixing is generally excellent, especially on the DVD version, which provides some hall ambience but retains a front-array, proscenium placement to instruments. Shot on film, rather than videotape, the concert preserves the stunning, subtle lighting effects of McLachlan's touring production, albeit at slight visual sacrifice in lower-light segments in which the resolution is grainier. --Sam Sutherland