Suzanne Vega’s current Australian tour is given fans a one-time chance to hear two of her classic albums ‘Solitude Standing’ and ‘99.9° Fahrenheit’ from start to finish.
‘Solitude Standing’ was the big one for Suzanne, reaching no 7 on Australia’s album chart in 1987. “I thought they made a good balance,” Suzanne tells Noise11.com. “A lot of people got to know it because of the two hits. The 99.9 album was the edgy album. It probably has the most experimental music that I have ever done in my career. It had a lot of fans because of that. It was very successful. ‘Blood Makes Noise’ was a no 1 alternative hit. I thought it would be fun to put the two together because it is a very good contrast”.
While celebrating 30 years of ‘Solitude Standing’ Suzanne is also celebrating just over 30 years since her first Australian tour. “I remember coming here for the first time in 1987,” she says. “The Australians were great. I have very good memories of my tours there. It’s been 31 years since I first toured there. That is a lifetime.
Suzanne performs the albums in track order staring with ‘Solitude Standing’. “We start with an acapella version of ‘Tom’s Diner’,” she says. “We go through the whole album. I play it in order and I tell stories about things that I remember. Sometimes we do the exact arrangement. Sometimes I change it. Sometimes I do an acoustic start then the band comes in. I am playing with Mike Visceglia, who was on the original album. Its great having him back”.
A remix of ‘Tom’s Diner’ by DNA was also a hit a few years later. “We do both. I start with the acapella version and finish the set with the remix version,” she says.
Her song ‘Luka’ was about child abuse. It was a strange topic to become a hit song. “This issue is still in the newspapers,’ Suzanne say. “If anything it has come more to the surface. I still get young people who write to me who say they didn’t know there was a song about this topic. The song speaks to them, it tells their story. Unfortunately in some ways its as timely as ever.
“I think it was a hit partly because of how it sounded but also what it talked about. People talked about it because it really doesn’t state it so it is an interesting topic”.
‘Solitude Standing’ was Suzanne Vega’s second album. ’99.9° Fahrenheit’ was her fourth. She completely skips over the third album ‘Days of Open Hand’. “Its not my favourite album to perform,” she says. “Also it made more sense to commemorate the 30th and 25th anniversaries. Maybe one day I’ll do ‘Days of Open Hand’. It was a difficult album to record and it is not an album so many fans know. I really have to say I prefer these days”.
’99.9° Fahrenheit’ had some top shelf musos including Elvis Presley’s bass player Jerry Scheff. “He was brilliant. He came in and did it very quickly. Mitchell hired him because he wanted that greasy feel on that particular song. He was very quick and he had a nice flourish about the way he played”.
Suzanne Vega will perform again tonight (August 3) in Melbourne and Saturday in Adelaide.