Suzanne Vega LIVE: review

Suzanne Vega
The Sinclair, Cambridge, Mass.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

In the women’s room after the show, a teary and slightly inebriated women told me that she was at the show with her daughter and had sung her “Tom’s Diner” as “sort of a lullaby” and that her daughter was excited to hear Suzanne Vega perform the song. This rather summed up last night’s show—- lots of nostalgia for mostly middle-aged white people. A first for me in my 25-years of music criticism: I spied a gray-haired couple pressed up against the stage during opener Ari Hest’s set [a prolific singer/songwriter from Brooklyn—be sure to catch him] obviously staking their spot for Vega.


Only a bit more than half-capacity on a cold and rainy Wednesday night, Vega immediately connected with the crowd by explaining songs, chit-chatting and performing old favorites like a soft and staccato laced “Marlene on the Wall”, a calypso-y “Caramel,” the languid, lovely “The Queen and the Soldier” and up-tempo dizzier “Don’t Uncork What You Can’t Contain” [She said after that many found the song confusing and “I really like it and I like singing it.”] along with newer songs from her latest album Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles such as “Fool’s Complaint,” which she said “sounds really long and complicated but it’s really not, this song is short and we’re just going to sing it.” Other new songs she played included “Crack in the Wall” and “Jacob and the Angel” and the brilliant “I Never Wear White.”

Dressed in a black blazer, black tank, black jeans and long black and white print scarf and accompanied solely by Gerry Leonard on guitar. A simple set-up. Sometimes she also played guitar and sometimes she just sang. Her arrangements and presentation propel her live performance. Despite the annoying call-outs for her to sing “Luka,” Vega maintained her spirits throughout her set. She finished with a slowed down “Left of Center,” a cool version of “Blood Makes Noise,” the new song “I Never Wear White,” and the song that everyone seemed to be waiting for, “Luka.” She then returned for a three song encore. Total playing time: one hour and a half. Suzanne Vega is truly a sweet, talented musician.

vega album

purchase at Amazon: Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles


05/01/14 Natick, MA Center for the Arts in Natick

05/02/14 Brooklyn, NY The Bell House

05/04/14 New York City Winery

05/05/14 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe

05/07/14 South Orange, NJ SOPAC

05/08/14 Annapolis Ram’s Head On Stage

05/09/14 Alexandria, VA Birchmere Music Hall

05/10/14 Lumberton, NC Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater

05/11/14 Charlotte, NC Booth Playhouse

05/13/14 Ann Arbor, MI The Ark

05/15/14 Chicago, IL Old Town School of Folk Music

05/16/14 Madison, WI Barrymore Theatre

05/17/14 Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Center

05/19/14 Portland, OR Aladdin Theatre

05/20/14 Seattle, WA The Triple Door

05/22/14 Grass Valley, CA The Center for the Arts

05/23/14 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall

05/24/14 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre

05/25/14 Solana Beach, CA Belly Up Tavern


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