Suzanne Vega is best known for "Luka," the 1987 hit about child abuse, seen through the eyes of a neighbor who can do nothing about it. The 62-year-old artist played that song at the Dakota Thursday, as she is practically obligated to do.
But the rest of her set showed off a long record of tackling a wide range of subjects, most of which are not nearly as traumatic in nature. She's also got a keen sense of humor.
For her opener, "Marlene on the Wall," she donned a top hat. During "Left of Center," her anthem of individuality, she boogied as if she was the coolest mom at the school dance. Her wit was on full display in "New York Is My Destination," a song from the point of view of novelist Carson McCullers.
Vega was backed only by guitarist Gerry Leonard, giving the Dakota audience the chance to hear and savor every word in a serene setting.
The only downside: Her set clocked in at 75 minutes, most likely because she was scheduled to do another show later in the evening.
But fans may have a chance to get more of Vega soon — in a slightly different way. "Lover, Beloved," a movie that Vega wrote about McCullers, premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in March and should be available for streaming in the near future.