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Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Suzanne Vega @ Villa Montalvo

I'm a bigger fan of concert venues than I am of individual performance artists. My list of great venues in the Bay Area include:
All of these theaters, unlike the larger venues, offer close intimate seating where you can see the performer, rather than stadium seating where you have to see the performer on a big screen. My view on those is you might as well stay home and watch YouTube.

When I saw that Suzanne Vega was going to be live at the Carriage House in February 9th, I made it a point to bring my wife to it. I'd never seen her live before, but I liked her introverted lyrics and my wife thought she was good after watching some videos on YouTube.

Vega did not disappoint. Her second song on the set, Small  Blue Thing, blew me away. I had heard  the song on CD before, but it did not had the impact the live performance had. I said "wow, that's beautiful to my wife" and then heard someone else in the audience say loudly, "Wow!" The rest of the concert went by in a trance, with Vega playing some new songs mixed in with some old favorites.

It did not come off without a hitch. In particular, my favorite song of hers, The Queen and the Soldier was marred by her coughing in the middle and then having to regain her place with the help of the audience. I also felt the non-a capella version of Tom's Diner was too distracted by the electric guitar. Nevertheless, most arrangements were just her accompanied by an electric guitarist, so you couldn't accuse the concert of being overly elaborated or over-produced.

I had a great time, and if you get a chance to see her in an intimate venue while she's on tour, I highly recommend doing so.

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