Fans go absolutely crazy for k.d. lang. Recently I saw her in a fairly intimate setting of about 700 people. When the doors opened to take our seats, several dozen people ran while knocking and elbowing everyone and everything out of their way to the front row. (Even the video crew guys and to jostle their way to safety.) These were not kids mind you; these were fully grown middle-aged people (mostly women), who likely have very sophisticated jobs during the week. They probably had Cotillion classes too as a youngster. Never would they be caught slurping soda through a straw, or cutting in line at the bank. But when seeing k.d. lang is at stake, these people are literally frenzied, out-of-control, not-based-in reality automatons with a mob mentality. I thought them to be an example of the collective human Small Self gone awry.
It was actually offensive to me, not to mention a bit scary. I dove out of the way and made sure to hang way in the back for the entire show. There was no need for me to imbibe this crazy energy k.d lang or no k.d lang. I mean sure, I was excited to see her too, but… not at the expense of basic societal courtesies or substantive human dignities. Dang!
Although I witnessed what a deem to be a nauseating sight, it got me to think about what it is about k.d. that has this effect on people well past the grips of impulsive youth! What were these fans thinking? The short answer is likely that they were NOT thinking. But this is not only uncharitable, it is too simple an explanation to shed light on what I think is a complicated attempt to process an encounter with purity of being; an encounter with k.d. lang.
There are many ways to talk about k.d.’s voice. One way is to use traditional musical terminology and to describe her voice as perfectly pitched, having a tremendous range, having excellent onset of sound, tone and more. Another way is to talk about how sexy she can be. But all of these descriptions are merely superimpositions on a voice that has some kind of direct access to Truth itself. Most of us recognize this fact, and so we are eager to agree that k.d has one of the best voices to bless the microphone this generation, at least.
All major religions and philosophies tend to agree that humans naturally seek the Good, or the Truth. So when certain fans are confronted with the prospect of close proximity to them they do not have the inner constitution to confront it with strength and respect for what it is. At some level, they realize its dramatic importance, and yet they are spiritually unprepared to truly interact with what k.d. allows to come forth. I want to say that I do not mean to criticize these fans necessarily. I am simply trying to offer a more meaningful explanation than “They all want a piece of k.d.” or some such explanation.
Did I lose you with the “purity of being” thing? What I am trying to say is that k.d. lang has a voice that is truly a kind of portal to Truth and Being in-and-of themselves. It is this recognition of this portal (even at a very cursory level) that causes many fans to go bananas! There is a saying in education (especially special education which I taught for decades): “all behavior is an attempt to communicate”. Thus, these spiritually impoverished fans, I submit, were trying to express a base awareness of this grand moment; this moment when they could see (from the front row) Truth itself.
For many other fans, any seat in the house was good enough. Truth, after all is everywhere. But for those “newer” to this experience, I suppose the front row meant something. In this moment, I caught another glimpse about how hard it must be to patiently affiliate with this common occurrence; how taxing it must be at times to have the ability to bring access to Truth to the masses in this way.
k.d., I have to commend you yet again, not so much for your artistry, but for your adept moves in managing human behavior. Not only do you show compassion, equanimity and patience, but you show (to those who see) your intimate connection to Truth itself.
Photo of k.d. lang purchased from Corbis Images and used with permission