WHERE & WHEN: York (Grand Opera House), Wednesday 20th June 2012
COMMENTS: Accompanied only by session player extraordinaire Gerry Leonard, this was a perfectly judged evening of stripped-down intimacy. Opening with the often misunderstood as cold fish Vega having ribald fun (well, wearing a Dietrich-homaging top-hat and cracking polite jokes about the sexual proclivities of the actress) for signature-song MARLENE ON THE WALL, and then finishing up with a crowd-pleasing double-whammy (coffee-shop bohemian’s diary reading TOM’S DINER and child-abuse smash-hit LUKA) meant that even the casuals began and ended happy. Inbetween, plentiful arch patter seeped around bare-bones versions of Vega’s 35 years chipping away at the cool-face of NY beat-poetry. Of particular note were the ice-meltingly wordy GYPSY, the fleeting romance of ROSEMARY, and the seldom-heard paean to times with her (now deceased) brother in the New York arts-scene on LUDLOW STREET.
THE AUDIENCE: Heart in the mouth moment after an uncontained shout of “I love you” from the cheap seats, but Vega grinned wildly and blew a kiss, which set the tone.
FOOD & DRINK: Five pounds for two soft drinks. That tells all of her demographic, right there.
IT MADE ME THINK… Three pleasing new songs from Vega’s recently-penned play about Carson McCullers (author of The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter) kept the die-hards happy and suggested there is plenty of songwriting life left here.