Elated: An Evening with Suzanne Vega at the Dakota

Photo by Ben Allen

Last updated on May 14th, 2022 at 05:37 pm

If you considered going to Suzanne Vega at the Dakota but decided not to, you made the wrong decision. The career-spanning show exceeded expectations.

Photo by Ben Allen

First a bit about the venue. The Dakota is not a large space, but it’s quaint, and there’s room enough to breathe and relax without worrying that you’re going to step on anybody. It’s one of the Twin Cities best venues.

Photo by Ben Allen

The Dakota went silent when Vega took the stage, but the crowd didn’t exactly stay quiet.

A table of attendees off to one side professed their love to Vega and her music, which she thanked them for, and suggested they should have caught the earlier show. Which, of course, the table did, and cackled about it.

It’s a joy to witness a lifetime storyteller exercise their craft with ease and precision. The scenes and characters in her work are riveting.

Vega was accompanied by long-time collaborator Gerry Leonard on guitar. Leonard sported brightly colored dye splotches in his hair, but otherwise he played more of a background, supportive role.

Photo by Ben Allen

Vega’s been playing some songs for over 30 years, but nothing she played felt like it was dialed in or on autopilot. She was engaged at each step and every word felt poignant.

So yeah, if you didn’t catch Suzanne Vega at the Dakota, kick yourself. It was well worth it.

Photo by Ben Allen

Written by Ben Allen

I tell the story of the energy transfer between people who play music and that music's listeners. I photograph and write about festivals and concerts, which I've attended for three decades. I'm also the tall guy you probably got stuck behind at a show. First concert: Nirvana at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Dec 1993. Yes, I am old. Tall and old.


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