Archive for the ‘Suzanne Vega’ Category

Suzanne Vega Sage Gateshead 18 February 2023

“My name is Luka, I live on the second floor, I live upstairs from you, Yes, I think you’ve seen me before If you hear something late at night, Some kind of trouble, some kind of fight, Just don’t ask me what it was…” (Vega, 1987)  A great song which rings round and around in my head before, during and after this great concert.

VEGA TIXSuzanne Vega kept passing me by, or rather, I foolishly kept passing her by. Each time she played locally, usually at the Sage, I thought of going along, and then some reason made excuses to myself to pass. She was one of several artists over the years who, for no particular reason, I liked and yet I never took the time to go and see them in concert. Well, I have come to the decision that in future I will try and catch up on as many of those artists as I am able.

VEGA4The song “Luka” rings round in my head as the concert grows nearer. I listen to her music on my friendly intelligent assistant, Alexa, and find that I know quite a few of her songs, which surprises me a little. Suzanne Vega emerged from the folk scene of Greenwich Village, New York, in the early 1980s; with her pure voice, a clutch of songs and an acoustic guitar. Her songs drew from storytelling each one weaving its own picture and enticing the listener to think about the content. She released her self-titled, highly acclaimed debut album in 1985. From the Sage website: “Known for performances that convey deep emotion, Vega’s distinctive, “clear, unwavering voice” (Rolling Stone) has been described as “a cool, dry sandpaper-brushed near-whisper” by The Washington Post, with NPR Music noting that she “has been making vital, inventive music” throughout the course of her decades-long career.…….[she]………“observes the world with a clinically poetic eye” (The New York Times), Vega’s songs have tended to focus on city life, ordinary people and real-world subjects. Notably succinct and understated, her work is immediately recognizable—as utterly distinct and thoughtful as it was when her voice was first heard on the radio over 30 years ago.”

VEGA1Like her songs, the stage set is minimal and she’s accompanied by a single, excellent, electric guitarist. She starts, well, at the start (where else to start?) with “Marlene on the Wall” and moves through a mixture of old and new tunes each one telling its own story. She is not afraid of bearing her soul, telling us of a teenage love affair at summer camp, initiated through a mutual admiration of Leonard Cohen and his music. She told the guy not to contact her again, and wrote a song to mark the affair. But he reappeared via a note and a bunch of flowers at a concert in Liverpool one night. This sparked another song and a lifelong friendship. They meet for lunch regularly. Her set, like her songs, is full of similarly quite personal stories. She alternates between her acoustic guitar, a lovely dapper top hat and a quirky little finger clicking dance. Wonderful. (Note to myself. One day I must summon up the courage to wear the battered old top hat I bought some time ago on eBay. Or maybe not: perhaps I will silly or too eccentric, unlike Vega).

VEGA2Do we like Blondie or Lou Reed? The Lou Reed vote wins (and includes Vega’s own vote) so we are treated to “Walk on the Wild Side”. I recognise many more songs than I expect. “Tom’s Diner” gets into my head and sticks there. “Da da da da…….” Not a bad way to end an evening.

I’m pleased I made the effort Suzanne. There is a depth and honesty within the simplicity of your stories. Thanks for sharing them with us. “Luka” comes back into my mind. So does the top hat. Maybe I will decide to wear it one day after all. Thanks again for a lovely evening and thoughts of my top hat.

VEGA5Setlist: Marlene on the Wall; Small Blue Thing; Caramel; Gypsy; In Liverpool; The Queen And The Soldier; When Heroes Go Down / Lipstick Vogue; Rock in This Pocket (Song of David); Last Train from Mariupol; Solitude Standing; Left Of Center; I Never Wear White; Some Journey; Luka; Tom’s Diner;

Encore: Walk on the Wild Side; Tombstone; Rosemary

Roger Waters plays Dark Side of the Moon Hyde Park 1st July 2006

Roger Waters plays Dark Side of the Moon Hyde Park 1st July 2006
waterstix2006Hype Park Calling Festival 2006
Main Stage: Roger Waters (featuring special guest Nick Mason); Texas; Starsailor; Breaks Co-op; Chris Difford
Stage 2: The Lightning Seeds; Robert Cray; Suzanne Vega; Blackbud; Rocco DeLuca and the Burden
I booked a cheap hotel room online for David and I to stay in for this event. The room was not far from Marble Arch. We arrived at Kings Cross and tool the tube over to the hotel. When we arrived the guy on reception apologised and explained that there had been some mix-ups with bookings and that he was going to have to move us to another hotel nearby. He offered to drive us there, and took us through a maze of streets, where we arrived at a run-down seedy looking hotel. He took us to our room which was upstairs and left. As we looked around the room we realised how we had got the booking so cheap….the bathroom had no door and the beds were worn and scruffy. Still, we decided it was only going to be for one night, so we shrugged our shoulders and walked over to Hyde Park; we still weren’t far from the Marble Arch entrance to the event.
Hyde Park Calling was a new festival. Roger Waters headlined the Saturday night and the Who were doing the honours on the Sunday night. The supporting line-up was strong. I remember we watched and enjoyed Texas, and some of the Lightning Seeds.
watersdarksidetixThe main event was Roger Waters who was playing Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety, along with Floyd buddy Nick Mason on drums. The show featured an elaborate stage design by Mark Fisher (who was behind the design of Pink Floyd’s The Wall shows), and included giant puppets, large video screen displays and a 360° quadraphonic sound system. Roger’s performance was divided into two sets: the first featured Pink Floyd material and songs from Roger’s solo career, and the second The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety, plus encores. The songs were performed true to the recording, and the sound was crisp and clear from where we stood about half way back in the park. What better way to spend a summer evening than listening to the Floyd’s classic album. A guy in front of us was incredibly drunk, and insisted on singing all of the words to the songs right into our faces. Sometimes he would stop singing, hug us and tell us how great Pink Floyd were.
After the show we meandered back through the streets to our seedy hotel room. We were up early next morning and back on the train home.
Setlist. Set 1: In the Flesh; Mother; Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V); Have a Cigar; Wish You Were Here; Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun; Southampton Dock; The Fletcher Memorial Home; Perfect Sense (Parts 1 and 2); Leaving Beirut; Sheep
Set 2 The Dark Side of the Moon, with Nick Mason: Speak to Me; Breathe; On the Run; Time; Breathe (Reprise); The Great Gig in the Sky; Money; Us and Them; Any Colour You Like; Brain Damage; Eclipse
Encore: The Happiest Days of Our Lives; Another Brick in the Wall Part 2; Vera; Bring the Boys Back Home; Comfortably Numb
Roger Waters band: Roger Waters (vocals, bass guitar and acoustic guitar), P.P. Arnold (backing vocals), Graham Broad (drums and percussion), Jon Carin (keyboards), Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Carol Kenyon (backing vocals and lead vocals on “The Great Gig in the Sky”), Dave Kilminster (guitar), Katie Kissoon (backing vocals), Ian Ritchie (saxophone), Harry Waters (Hammond organ, synthesiser, and Roger Waters’ son), and Snowy White (guitar).