Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Suzanne Vega at Cadogan Hall

We went to see Suzanne Vega tonight at Cadogan Hall in London (Suzanne seems to like that venue, she's played there enough times now). This is part of her short British tour to promote the new album,  'Lover, Beloved' that holds the music for her stage show about Carson McCullers. The new record is released on Friday and Suzanne played six of the songs from it - all well worth investing in. She's already played around Europe and the photos are from one of her shows in Germany (courtesy of Willem Melsson on Facebook).

It was a show of several parts, starting off with a selection of her greatest hits (she has so many that it's always a surprise which she chooses to play) followed by a set showcasing four of the new songs followed by more hits. The encore gave us two more of the new songs.

We had 'Marlene on the Wall' (with the top hat, obviously), 'Luka', 'Tom's Diner', 'The Queen & The Soldier', 'Gypsy', 'I Never Wear White', 'Crack in the Wall', 'Small Blue Thing', 'Caramel' and a host of others. I've said it before and I probably will say it again, but I love Suzanne's voice and it's as strong as ever. It soothes and relaxes, it forces her words into your brain almost effortlessly, usually accompanied by her strumming on her guitar.

And that's something worth considering for the new songs - some of them lead off with piano and it was quite a surprise to hear her singing to a largely piano backing. It created a different tone to the new songs, a new feeling when guitar isn't the lead musical instrument - and I liked it.  The new songs are part of a whole, a show about a specific person, so they do sound a bit different to the rest of the set - they're out of context so they would do - but they're really good and bring another layer to Suzanne's voice.

As ever, it took Suzanne a few songs to start talking, more than a 'thank you' to acknowledge the applause, and I love hearing her talk, her dry wit and obvious humour.  She's been at this game for a long time now and has played all over the world with all sorts of other artists but she's still herself, almost stubbornly so. And I wouldn't have her any other way. She's still creative and gets out there to play her songs. She's written some classics in the past and she's still pushing forward with new songs and projects and the songs from the Carson McCullers show sound excellent - I look forward to hearing them all. Even better, hear them all in the context of the show. It's opening in America next year so here's hoping it's a success and is brought over here at some point.

Thank you for a lovely evening Suzanne - I look forward to the next time!

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