Nineteen years ago, my late grandmother put $5 in the hands of both my sister and I, and sent us into the Sam Goody in the Wonderland Mall in Redford, MI.
With that $5, I bought the first piece of music that I paid for in my life - a cassette single of Suzanne Vega's "Luka." In the era of the Beasatie Boys and Guns N Roses, I chose the dark folk singer. (My sister, if you're curious, purchased Taylor Dayne's "Tell It To My Heart.") I played the single until it wore down, memorizing not only the song but also its B-side ("Night Vision").
In college, I got into Suzanne Vega again. She released a few really daring, almost avant-guarde type albums that I consider two of the best of my collection, especially her industrial folk album 99.9, a masterpiece. Through it all, she's wowed me with her eclecticism, being able to range from long narrative folk ballads to smart electronica pop to chamber music.
The concert tonight saw her do all that. It was quiet at times, it rocked at times, and completely made me forget everything I didn't want to remember and remember everything I didn't want to forget.
Ironically, "Luka" was probably the most uninspired of the performed songs. The keyboards were drowned out by the band, which was just a little too big for that little song and its little narrator. That's okay, though. That's just a minor quibble. The concert was a blast.
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