Sunday, June 13, 2010

Suzanne Vega Live at The Village in Dublin - June 10th, 2010

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
  • Caramel
  • Frank & Ava
  • New York is a Woman
  • Pornographer's Dream
  • Gypsy
  • Harbor Song
  • Tombstone
  • Left of Centre
  • Blood Makes Noise
  • Solitaire
  • The Man Who Played God (A Sparklehorse song)
  • The Queen and the Soldier
  • Neighborhood Girls
  • Some Journey
  • Luka
  • Tom's Diner

  • Calypso
  • Rosemary
  • In Liverpool (it was on the setlist but it wasn't performed!)

Autographed setlist!

Live picture of Suzanne from the flickr photostream of zoomzuzaki

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Julie Feeney Live at the National Concert Hall - May 29th, 2010

When I was telling people that I had tickets to see Julie Feeney at the National Concert Hall, I was always asked: What kind of music does she play? Answering the question is not straightforward. Julie's style can best be described as "classical pop".

For last Saturday's concert, Julie was accompanied on stage by the Pages Orchestra, a 20+ piece orchestra with piano, strings (violins violas, cellos and a double bass!), winds, harp and percussions. Julie played the piano, recorder, accordion and her trusted harmonium.

She played a selection of songs from '13 Songs' and 'Pages' in full. As always, the arrangements are very different from the album versions and really emphasize her beautiful melodies and harmonies. She also added a couple of covers, including a great version of Halleluja, and excerpts from Philip Glass' Songs from Liquid Days.

I was lucky enough to get 2nd row tickets despite the fact that I only bought them 5 days before the concert and it was fully sold out by Saturday. And the acoustics of the National Concert Hall really made for a fantastic show.

Aching sounded beautiful with the full orchestra, as opposed to last year in Crawdaddy when she sang it with the harmonium only. One More Tune is a favourite of mine live, she gets the crowd really engaged clapping and singing. Myth went down very well as Julie walked around the theatre while interacting with the crowd. And of course the encore of Love is a Tricky thing, followed by Impossibly Beautiful finished what was a fantastic night and a very different concert.

Julie's songs, interwoven harmonies and poetic lyrics are truly beautiful. I hope that she releases a live album to enjoy the experience over and over again.

  • Autopilot
  • Monster
  • Alien
  • Grace
  • Instrumental Interlude 1,000,001 (instrumental version)
  • Valentine's Song
  • Stay
  • Nothing to Declare
  • Knock Knock
  • Wind Out Of My Sails
  • Myth
  • Excerpts from Songs from Liquid Days
  • Fictitious Richard
  • Mr. Roving Eye Guy
  • Aching
  • You Broke The Magic
  • Life's Nudge
  • Hallelujah
  • One More Tune

  • Love Is A Tricky Thing
  • Impossibly Beautiful
Update, June 5th, 2010 - I received a message from Julie yesterday where she kindly told me that the first instrumental was a special arrangement of 1,000,001 that she prepared for the show, so I have changed the setlist accordingly!