Suzanne Vega with Duncan Sheik at the Barns at Wolf Trap

For a change it was my husband who decided we should go to a concert last night. Usually its me dragging him out to things. The concert was at the Barns at Wolf Trap. As you may recall I’ve written many times about how Wolf Trap is one of my favorite concert venues. To be more specific I’ve always been referring to the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, which is their outdoor summer venue. The Barns is a much smaller venue built into an old barn in the park.

It was my first time there, and it’s a very intimate venue. It makes me regret some of the other concerts I’ve seen advertised but didn’t go to realizing now how awesome they would have been there. It’s still a trek though especially on a weeknight, so I have to really want to see someone. Even more so with the threat of winter weather during certain months.

With Paul working in DC these days it didn’t make sense for him to come home to Baltimore first and then drive down to Northern Virginia. I figured out that the Forest Glen metro station was convenient for him to get to from his office and fairly close to 495 so I could drive down and pick him up there. So I’m the one who got to sit in stop and go traffic for almost an hour and half (so many accidents) while he got to enjoy the trafficless short part of the ride.

The concert itself was somewhat of a collaboration between Suzanne Vega and Duncan Sheik. He opened, but really it was a joint show in which he just played first as they both played about an hour and then came back out on stage together for the encore.

I have never been a fan of Duncan Sheik’s music, and last night’s concert proved to me that I am still not. I did appreciate the fact that he told stories about the songs he was singing, but also he’s a really awkward storyteller. I wasn’t really quite sure to feel about him as a performer aside from the music.

As you may or may not know, Duncan Sheik wrote the music for the Broadway show Spring Awakening. He sang a couple of songs from that last night. At the time I saw that show I didn’t care for it. It’s one of the few shows I’ve ever really thought about leaving during intermission. Listening to those songs last night realized that my opinion of it probably hasn’t changed.

I knew there was a Broadway musical based on the book American Psycho. Until last night I had not realized that Duncan Sheik had also written the music for it. He sang one of the songs and the style was very much reminiscent of the music from Spring Awakening meaning I have even less desire to see it than I did before. Sorry Duncan Sheik. You’re just not for me.

We were obviously there to see Suzanne Vega. Duncan Sheik and she have been working on a play (with music but not a musical?) together based on the author Carson McCullers. She sang three songs from that last night, and I actually really enjoyed them. I’d see the show if the opportunity presented itself.

She also sang a variety of songs from across her career. Some of them the hits you would expect and some more deep dives into her catalog. Going in I wanted to hear four songs and she played all of them, so I was happy. She started off the show with “Marlene on the Wall”, which one of the songs on my list. She also sang “Left of Center” and “I Never Wear White”, which is off of her most recent album.

The last song I was hoping she would play and figured that she would was “Luka”. I was obsessed with that song when it came out in 1987. Makes sense that a 9 year old kid would be in love with a song about child abuse right? I have a very vivid memory of listening to that song while swimming at our neighborhood pool. This song made it to number 3 on the pop charts at the time. I’m trying to imagine this song ever getting anywhere near a pop chart in this day and age. An indie rock song about child abuse. I think not.

As I mentioned Suzanne Vega and Duncan Sheik came out together for the encore. Apparently it was his birthday so she had a cake brought out for him and sang him happy birthday. After that he sang “Barely Breathing”, which was his big radio hit back in the day. He didn’t seem to want to sing it anymore but was resigned to the fact that he probably has to sing this song for the rest of his life.

She sang “Tom’s Diner”. I did at one time love that song, but it was something that I eventually got tired of because it was overplayed and even 25 years later I haven’t gotten over it. I don’t know why some songs that I start hating because they’ve been overplayed I can eventually go back to after enough time and some of them remain forever tainted, but unfortunately this song was is one of the latter for me.

Basically I could have done without the Duncan Sheik half of the concert, but I really enjoyed Suzanne Vega. I also really enjoyed seeing a concert at The Barns and would definitely make the long trek down there to other performances.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s