Suzanne Vega

Last night I saw Suzanne Vega at Richard’s on Richards. I was terribly excited to go – I had meant to see her in Seattle in December, but could not due to finances. Then, here, I thought the show was on Saturday, when I was enjoying a most wonderful dinner prepared by Brian. So when Ben ICQ’d me to ask if I wanted to go I said ‘yes!’. And so go we did.
The show was really perfect. The crowd, a mixture of older straight couple and young lesbian couples (it really was a couples crowd), was enthusiastic and as excited as I to see her. The opening act, a New Yorker by the name of Bob Hillman did a great job. He reminded be alot of a slightly more wacky Dan Bern, with his imagery even more out there. He quickly gained the respect of the audience by playing an off-the-cuff track called ‘opening act’, which served to both introduce him and set us at ease (‘some of you aren’t even listing!’). Later, when singing a song about how communists aren’t dangerous anymore, he adlibbed in some bits about socialised medicare in Vancouver and the fascists at the Elbow Room café
Suzanne Vega was pleasingly intimate, sharing stories on the origins of the songs (‘Hold me like a baby’ is one of her earliest songs, written at age 17 for a boy from a Liverpool, a counsellor at camp near to the one she was working at – her first love, and written near the end of the summer as a ‘goodbye gft’. She added that in exchange, he gave her his bandanna). She also sang a nice mixture of songs old and new. I knew every old song, but, unfamiliar with the new album, those songs were not known to me. They were, however, still quite good. She seems to be doing an interesting thing playing with breakbeats and jazz timing, which worked quite well.
Ben added as we left that she was the last one on his list of must-see acts, so as added bonus, this last must-see show was truly spectacular.

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