Sarah McLachlan is resurfacing 

Is there a supermarket tabloid that isn’t currently spattered with male-star infidelities? Grammy-winning siren Sarah McLachlan doesn’t think so.

“It’s an epidemic these days — men behaving badly,” says the now-single mother of two, who recently separated from her husband of 11 years. “But you know, men have been behaving badly since the beginning of time. So it just amazes me that people are so shocked when they find out these things about guys, because guys who don’t do that seem to be the exception.”

McLachlan, 42, would rather skip her own gory details, thanks.

But the breakup did lead to two career epiphanies — her elegiac new “Laws of Illusion” comeback, which documents her life-affirming emergence from said tragedy; and the rejuvenation of Lilith Fair, her long-dormant all-female music festival, which hits Shoreline on Monday.

“But people just change, and love changes, and the way you feel about people changes,” she says. “And I’m very slow to process stuff, so it took me a while to realize that [the marriage] just wasn’t working anymore.”

Listeners can feel the artist’s pain and frustration in gently-strummed “Laws,” dirges like “U Want Me 2” and “Don’t Give Up on Us,” then her ensuing optimism in “Awakenings” and “Bring on the Wonder.”

“Everything’s just so much more disposable now,” she says. “It’s much more socially acceptable these days to separate and get divorced than to go through the ugliness and try to work it out. But when this happened to me, I was like, ‘I’m 40 — I’m not dead yet! I’ve got a long life left to live, and I want to be happy.’ So I had to work hard to figure out what that looked like. Now I’m back, and I feel like I’ve got something to give the world.”

Lilith was crucial to that vision. This year’s model includes Heart, Colbie Caillat and Miranda Lambert.

The animal lover (whose touching two-minute public service announcement raised over $30 million for the ASPCA) will be bringing her cat Simba and chocolate lab Ripley on tour, as well as the offspring. “I’m a mom, first and foremost — that defines me more than anything else,” she explains.

McLachlan has also mastered multitasking. She’s phoning from her native Vancouver immediately after her daughter Taja’s 3rd birthday party, with the exhausted girl asleep at her side. Her 8-year-old, India, however, is wide-awake. “And you know those punching bags that you blow up into a guy who screams when you hit him? India’s just kicking the crap out of this guy right now,” she chuckles, ominously. “And it’s sooo great!”


Sarah McLachlan, headlining Lilith Fair

With Heart, Miranda Lambert, Colbie Caillat, A Fine Frenzy, Marina & the Diamonds, Susan Justice, the Submarines and Ann Atomic

Where: Shoreline Amphitheatre, One Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View

When: 2:30 p.m. Monday

Tickets: $36 to $133.50

Contact: (800) 745-3000,

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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