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Sarah smiles

So the traveling festival Lilith Fair didn't have the same sort of pull in 2010 that it commanded back in the middle '90s, when Canadian songwriter and singer supreme Sarah McLachlan first launched it. In the summer of 2010, Lilith tanked, played to half-empty houses, and ended up canceling a bunch of dates. None of this stopped McLachlan, who released the excellent "Laws of Illusion" in June and responded to Lilith's seeming collapse by launching a tour of her own.

Sarah McLachlan and Friends -- the friends in question being fellow Lilith survivors Butterfly Boucher and Melissa McClelland -- are bringing an open-ended format involving performance and audience discussion to midsized theaters around the country, one of which is Shea's Performing Arts Center (646 Main St.), where McLachlan performs on Thursday. Reviews from the road have been glowing, and most have approvingly noted the intimate, inviting atmosphere of the performance/discussion format.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $41.50 to $62.50 (box office, Ticketmaster).

-- Jeff Miers

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