Come back #SuzanneVega
(November 2 2013)
Held up to the standards of the Madonnas and the Gagas she might as well have been naked. Hers is a show without gimmicks: just heart, hands and voice used to transport us all back to another time, individual and collective.
Suzanne Vega had been singing to me for just a few moments and I was 17 again. Familiar, quirky tracks that mesmerised me as a teenager delivered perfectly … this time by the cool, kooky Suzy V in person.
She, too, is all grown up, but the musical alchemy is completely intact, unspoiled.
She toyed briefly with wearing the black Top Hat that some will remember from the eighties, but that was soon discarded as she seemed to reach out and touch every one of us sitting in the gorgeous amphitheatre under the trees of the Paul Cluver forest.
Love it or hate it, who could forget ‘My name is Luka’? There was no better accompaniment to my own late teenage angst (part anger, part hurt, 100% drama) than Suzanne Vega’s catchy ballad. Truth be told, Vega’s other numbers, Gypsy and Blood Makes Noise, had a special place too. Most of the old favourites were on show tonight with a sprinkling of new numbers that show she has not lost her knack for cutting through the humdrum and articulating fear and delight (with a dusting of magic dust for good measure).
Gerry Leonard (aka Spooky Ghost), her only band member, filled all the space around her with his supercool vibe and great base-playing, as well as the only almost-gimmick of the show: playing a number on a guitar made from a Castrol oil drum that he bought that day in Cape Town “after researching and talking about it for months”.
Kinda kooky and extremely likeable on stage, Suzanne Vega doesn’t miss a beat. She is a brilliant, accomplished singer-songwriter with star quality and a solid vein of magic that you catch glimpses of frequently.
I am not saying anything about the opening act. In fact, I am removing promotional material published here earlier about him because … um … well … because this is my ‘happy place’.
Vega plays a second show at Paul Cluver on November 2 and the Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg on November 3.
Vega’s SA tour is brought to South Africa by Charl van Heyningen Enterprises in association with Rolling Stone magazine.
Tickets from computicket.
For further information visit www.suzannevega.com