Suzanne Vega - Kelvingrove Summer Nights 2022

28 Jul 2022

Suzanne Vega - Kelvingrove Summer Nights 2022

A night of chilled out, acoustic melodies

After 2 years of waiting due to the COVID pandemic, Regular Musics Kelvingrove Summer Nights returns to the Kelvingrove Bandstand, the festival has enjoyed great success with its annual event since 2014, when the bandstand was recently renovated and reopened to the public after many years derelict and in disrepair. The festival has featured the likes of Steve Earle, Burt Bacharach, Suede, Echo and The Bunnymen, Alison Moyet, Squeeze and The National performing live in Glasgows unique outdoor venue.

The first act of Summer Nights 2022 was American singer Suzanne Vega, best known for her 1987 song Toms Diner, which was remixed by British DJs DNA in 1990, the remix became a worldwide hit and received considerable airplay on the radio, ironically the song was released without the permission of her record label and they were considering legal action against the DJs, but Suzanne loved the remix so much that she let them proceed.

Supporting Suzanne on the evening was Red Sky July, who played some sweet acoustic melodies including a cover of Bruce Springsteens Dancing in The Dark to get the crowd prepared for what was to follow.

Suzanne came on stage with Irish born guitarist Gerry Leonard, beginning their set with Marlene on the Wall and Small Blue Thing.

Vega then said to the crowd that she was relieved that she was in Scotland because they have travelled the world such as Italy, Spain, France and had difficulty with the languages, but now she was in a country where everyone speaks English and that we all understand each other, someone from the crowd yelled "we speak English with great difficulty" which Vega seemed to agree to, based on the fact that people outside the UK find Scots hard to understand despite speaking the same language, but we see the funny side of it.

Gypsy was next on the setlist, which Vega wrote when she was 18 based on her first love, a Liverpudlian, In Liverpool soon followed which she wrote 15 years later about the same guy, seen as a sequel to Gypsy, despite now split up her first boyfriend sent her flowers and his email address on her 45th birthday, Vega also admitted that she doesnt like singing Gypsy in front of her mother, as she always asks "Does he still have a thin and slender body?", "Yes" replied Vega constantly.

Suzanne followed up with a long and sad song, nothing to do with her first partner this time, Queen and Soldier before admitting to the crowd that she took a DNA sample on AncestryDNA, she told the audience that she was 99% North European and was expecting to be mostly of Scottish descent, as she saw herself as a Scottish lady. The results surprised her however, as it turned out she was 43% Swedish, 22% Irish and 12% Scottish, she pointed to Gerry and said that he is 100% Irish, nothing else, the audience cheered to Gerry for being genuinely Irish and nothing else.

Heroes Go Down was played which Vega dedicated to Elvis Costello, and it featured the chorus from his best known song, Pump It Up.

Another speech from Vega followed as she explained to the audience that she did a benefit concert in New York City to help the people of Ukraine, and also said that she was stunned that the war is still continuing 5 months later, Rock In This Pocket was one of the songs she played at the benefit concert, and it was the next song on the setlist.

Vega explain that Horizon was a song that she wrote in dedication to a deceased Czech Republic Prime Minister, who saw God as Love and saw God as the Horizon, this was played along with Solitude Standing.

"I never wear white, my colour is black, Ill explain in this song" said Vega as I Never Wear White was performed, saying that "Black is for secrets" and "Black is the truth of her situation".

A loud cheer from the audience was heard as Toms Diner was next on the list, to the style of the DNA remix rather than the 1987 original that had no music, people got off their seats and danced at the front.

A 30 second encore followed as Vega and Leonard returned to do a cover of Lou Reeds "Take a Look on the Wild Side", Vega explained "Lou Reed didnt like to play his biggest hit live, but I do".

She thanked everyone who turned up on the night as well as the production crew for making the night happen, saying that its a pleasure that she is finally able to play live after 2 years in limbo, saying the whole situation has been crazy, Luka was then played.

"Wanna hear something loud and ugly?" asked Vega, Blood Makes Noise was played followed by the last song of the set, which was Tombstone.

A night of chilled out, acoustic melodies and it was very enjoyable, everybody left satisfied, including the people in the park opposite the venue who failed to get tickets for the sold out event, cheering Suzanne as the gig concluded.

For those unlucky ones in the park who never got a ticket, Suzanne will be returning to Scotland on February next year, where she will be playing at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh.

After returning home from the gig, I discovered that the Glasgowmusic founders sister, Suzanne, was named after Suzanne Vega.

You can view a photo gallery of the gig via the link below, photography and review by Stewart Fullerton.

Click here for Gallery


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Review - Suzanne Vega - Kelvingrove Summer Nights 2022 - Glasgowmusic.co.uk