It’s been a fair few years since Suzanne Vega last played a live concert in Manchester, but last week saw her triumphant return at the stunning Bridgewater Hall.

The latest lady with a decades-long career to visit the city over the past few years, she’s undoubtedly looked after her instrument as we’re treated to a voice still clear and strong, but no less breathy – a hallmark of her enduring career.

A simple set of hues which varied from purple through to blue via reds saw Vega on stage with only three seasoned and talented musicians (two guitars and a set of drums) to support her.

The first half of the concert was dominated by tracks from her earlier albums, with standout tunes including Calypso, based on the Homer classic, Night Vision – which was inspired by the poem Juan Gris by Paul Éluard, and In Liverpool, the personal track inspired by a brief love affair with a young man from, guess where? That’s right. Liverpool.

Following a short interval, we were then treated to more tracks from Vega’s second album Solitude Standing, and the later 99.9F°, including songs such as Fat Man and Dancing Girl, and If You Were in My Movie. The latter two proved to be great crowd-pleasers.

By now, the core 45-plus audience were tuned and ready for her three final, and most memorable tracks: Tom’s Diner – which came complete with theatrical top hat, Left of Center and the stunning homage to a legendary screen diva Marlene on the Wall, sending a packed house out into a drizzly Manchester night.

Did anyone else get the irony of listening to Left of Center and then coming face-to-face with the Conservative Party Conference right across the road at Manchester Central?

Bravo, Vega, for a lovely, memorable evening. It took many of the audience back to those halcyon days of early infatuation, bandanas and the kissing.

By Iain Scott


To read Northern Soul’s interview with Suzanne Vega, click here.

For the full line-up of events at Manchester’s The Bridgewater Hall, visit the website