Despite the fact that I have seen Suzanne Vega live 6 or 7 times, I still get a sense of anticipation every time. I first listened to her when back in 87 on a rare day I stayed home from school and the local rock station had a feature on her. Her voice captured me instantly and I went on a quest to get her first 2 albums (not easy to get imports in Mexico back then!). I had become a true fan.
I have seen her with a number of different backing bands, including 3 piece (guitar, bass & drums), 4 piece (keyboards, guitar, bass & drums) and even just herself and a bass player, usually Mike Visceglia. However this time she was joined on stage by Mike, and by Dubliner Gerry Leonard on electric guitar, giving her performance a whole new dimension.
This tour is to promote Suzanne's new album "Close-Up Vol 1, Love Songs". the first in a series of 4 that are planned to be released over the next 2 years and are more raw re-recordings of Suzanne's songs. This tour also marks the 25th anniversary of the first album, so a good few old songs were included in the set, sadly no Undertow (I have never heard it live!), although she told me after the show that she still plays it occasionally. Here is hoping for the next time!
The show started with "Marlene on the Wall", her voice sounding as good as ever, and the crowd of mainly seasoned fans enjoying every bit of it. She played the usual suspects of Luka, Gypsy, Left of Center and The Queen and the Soldier. She played some new ones for me live: New York is a Woman, Frank & Ava and a rare gem for me Some Journey. The setlist also included the DNA version of Tom's Dinner which was fantastic!
She was more talkative than I have ever seen her before, telling stories before every song, and not the same ones I have heard before! This time I learnt that the guy behind Gypsy was the Arts and Crafts councilor in the boys camp... which brought a chuckle to the audience. There was no reading before Neighborhood Girls, which thankfully didn't skip like on my original vinyl. (Well, I couldn't travel back to the States to return it so I had to leave with it... to this day 23 odd years later, I still expect the CD to skip when I am listening to the song!)
I got the setlist from stage, if you are wondering what are the numbers beside every song, it is for Suzanne to know where to place the capo on her guitar. I then went to the the merchandise stall to buy her new CD (well worth a listen) where I was told that she would be coming out to sign autographs in 5 minutes, so I decided to stick around and she kindly signed my setlist.
If Suzanne Vega plays anywhere near you, go and see her. I hope she keeps coming back to Dublin tour after tour. I will keep going to enjoy what has always been a great night!
- Marlene on the Wall
- Small Blue Thing
- Frank & Ava
- New York is a Woman
- Pornographer's Dream
- Harbor Song
- Left of Centre
- Blood Makes Noise
- The Man Who Played God (A Sparklehorse song)
- The Queen and the Soldier
- Neighborhood Girls
- Some Journey
- Tom's Diner
- In Liverpool (it was on the setlist but it wasn't performed!)
Live picture of Suzanne from the flickr photostream of zoomzuzaki