August 28th 2005 at Santa Monica Pier, California
Suzanne Vega
Review Review by Ross Anthony

A beautiful California night. The wind carries some sand off the beach to the pier. Wooden, the pier hosts no seats. When I arrived an hour and a half early, lawn chairians had already taken the first row. But second row center was open. I knew I should have brought my folding chair! Still, I was smart to bring a butt pad, fleece jersey and some reading/writing material. Oh, and I bought a slice of pizza on the way -- not that good.

Suzanne came up to sound check for about 10 minutes at 6:30 (an hour before the show). It was fun to hear her start one of her songs in the wrong key, then stop quick just prior to a high (would have been really high) note. "That's not the right key!" She said looking at her bassist, who replied, "Yeah, I know." To which she laughed at herself and joked, "You could have said something."

Actually, Suzanne continued that light easy, quick to the ironic humor, attitude throughout this short free concert. (45ish minutes). I especially enjoyed her intros to songs that I had listened to many many times. Oh, did I mention that I'm a huge fan? I see one rock concert a year, on average, so it was no small blue thing that I'd made the trip to this one.

Anyway, the song introductions where fun. I had no idea that "Maggie May" references that Maggie of Rod Stewart's song. Oh, dah, now I get it.

Interestingly enough, probably half of the songs were performed with Suzanne on an acoustic guitar and Mike on electric bass -- just two performers. I like this arrangement, and Mike's bass lines are juicy, sharp, and accent Suzanne's excellent songwriting. But the bass was way too loud. Not just a little, but to the point of distorting Suzanne's vocals. It was quite annoying. I'd thought earlier during the sound check that her vocal eq was messed up--nope, the darned bass shredded it. That said, the songs where Mike took a break enjoyed a pleasant mix. Refreshing. Then, as if to add salt to the wound, Suzanne performed a couple of songs with just voice and bass. Again, very bold and interesting, but the bass was too loud. Still "Blood Makes Noise" worked well. While, "Left of Center" didn't fair so well in this arrangement.

Having connected strongly with Suzanne's music for many years, I handed her a copy of one my books before the concert. Will she enjoy my stuff as much as I enjoyed hers? I don't know -- be pleased if she did. Btw, I picked up a Live CD of hers after the show -- very nice. A much better eq mix on the CD than at this particular show.


  • suzannevega. Copyright © 2005.
  • Starring Suzanne Vega.
  • Produced by www.twilightdance.org.
Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:54:40 PDT