Lilith Funks Up Florida Preview Show

Rapper Missy Elliot and trip-hop/ hip-hop combo Luscious Jackson will grace the main stage.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- As a veteran of last year's most popular summer concert tour, Indigo Girl Amy Ray has high

expectations for Tuesday's holiday concert/preview of next summer's Lilith Fair.

And she's ready to start celebrating.

"I think it's going to be like one big party," she said recently about the gig that she and her folk-rock partner, Emily Saliers, are

scheduled to play.

Even if she's right and the eight-hour, all-woman show follows right along the lines of 1997's summer-long musical celebration, it's

turning out to be something a little different as well. If next Tuesday's Lilith Holiday Concert in South Florida is any indication, the

festival is getting funkier.

The year-end concert at the Coral Sky Amphitheatre features a more musicially diverse lineup than the women-with-guitars, folk-singer-songwriter

caravan -- which crisscrossed the country last summer on the inaugural tour -- by bringing urban music acts such as rapper Missy

Elliot and the trip-hop sounds of Luscious Jackson to the main stage. Meanwhile, the harder rockin' K's Choice will be the

headliners on the second stage.

And Saturday Night Live comedian Ana Gasteyer -- who sang with organizer and sultry songstress Sarah McLachlan in a skit

on the show this season -- will make an appearance, headlining the third stage.

"That's something a little different, a little quirky, a little out there," said Marty Diamond, a partner in the Lilith enterprise and

owner of Little Big Man, the tour's booking agency. The diversified bill, he added, didn't come about as a reaction to criticism

surrounding last summer's homogenous lineup.

"This mixture is definitely a different creative mixture, and that's what we're aiming for," Diamond said. "But it wasn't like we were

trying to exclude people last time. We invited everyone -- performers like Garbage and the Pretenders and Erykah Badu -- but not

everyone was able to join us."

Lilith was a question mark before it rolled through 35 cities and became the most highly acclaimed and successful tour among the

slew of 1997 summer festival concerts, including the granddaddy, Perry Farrell's Lollapalooza. Disbelievers had predicted that founder McLachlan would fall on her face, that no one would pay to see an all-woman lineup. There were meanspirited jabs at the festival; some sub-genius types called it "Lesbo-palooza" and the "Breast Fest."

"Lilith was an unknown quantity," Diamond said. "Now, we've proven ourselves, and I think more people are going to be willing to

sign on for next summer."

The preview show lineup -- which also features solo artist Sheryl Crow, Chantal Kreviazuk, alterna-rockers Letters to Cleo, and, of

course, McLachlan -- will offer the audience a sample of what they can expect from Lilith '98, Diamond said.

One of the goals Diamond said, for example, is to get Elliot to play this summer by showing her what a positive experience Lilith can

be. "If the experience is good for her, I hope she will. We'd like to have her on the bill.''

Diamond also intends to invite back most everyone who played last time. Tracy Chapman, Shawn Colvin, Joan Osborne, Jewel, Pat

Benatar, Emmylou Harris, Lisa Loeb, Suzanne Vega, Fiona Apple, Meredith Brooks, Dar Williams, Mary Chapin Carpenter and

Juliana Hatfield were some of the artists who played at least a portion of the 1997 tour.

In addition, Lilith organizers will continue to let acts sign up for only a piece of the festival instead of demanding that they play the

whole summer.

"That makes booking easier and it keeps things fresh," Diamond said. "For example, the Indigo Girls have already agreed to do three

weeks with us next summer, and they'll bring the Indigo magic to places out West, like Seattle, that didn't get to see them last time."

The wish list of women that the show's organizers would like to add to the mix include Badu, the Pretenders, Garbage, Natalie Merchant, Bonnie Raitt, Annie Lennox and Tori Amos.

"We're talking to them, they're our targets, but nothing is definite yet," Diamond said.

What is definite is that Tuesday's celebration/preview should be eight hours of culturally diverse entertainment, the organizer added. "I think it'll be a good time."

Indigo Girl Saliers has no doubt.

"We really enjoy the sense of community at Lilith and getting the opportunity

to play with other people," she said. "It's cool." [Mon., Dec. 15, 1997, 9 a.m. PST]