- Jimmy Broccoli
Suzanne Vega: A Very Special Evening
20 years ago I had the decision to see Vonda Shepard or Suzanne Vega in concert. My boss offered exclusive tickets to one or the other. They were both scheduled to play live at The Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada (USA) a week apart. Suzanne’s husband had recently left her for Vonda – making the close concert scheduling controversial. I enjoyed their music equally.
I chose to attend the Suzanne Vega show. My friend Marcella and I hung out on the upper level of the theatre, by ourselves, grooving to one amazing song after another (the first floor was packed with fans). It felt like the evening was ours – it was absolute magic and is one of my favorite evenings.
It was the most personal and intimate concert I’ve ever attended. Ms. Vega talked openly and often about hurt and pain and life – and performed every song of hers I loved. She was obviously on-edge and bitter throughout the evening. She spent half of the evening telling stories to the attentive audience. We all listened – and none of her stories ended happily. It was her open and bitterly honest diary on verbal display. And it was heartbreaking.
That night I watched, in real time, a musician I very much admired and continue to admire emotionally break down on stage – little by little. It was folk music done raw, honest, and in the open. She was angry and hurt and sad. And that led to one of the most amazing and emotional performances I’ve seen to this day (and I’ve seen many). Celebrities are no different from us when it comes to pain and sadness. Sometimes I forget that.
To this day, I love the music of Suzanne Vega and love the music of Vonda Shepard. The older songs of both remain emotionally impactful to me.
And I’ll always remember the night my best friend and I had an entire concert floor to ourselves. VIPs, but with seats a couple of dozen feet higher than the rest of the crowd. It’s 20 years later and I remember the evening clearly. It was absolute magic.
And, I guess it made an impact.
Blood Makes Noise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6qvIhygLTs
The End of the World: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7hOLWU_cww
Ask the Lonely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9xYRD4I7RU
Photo: Suzanne Vega