I have to start by saying that I would never, ever, encourage a singer to do anything that risks vocal cord damage. So, if a singer has strep throat and even a sore throat, canceling a show could be the most professional thing you can do. But, Monday night I saw that as long as your throat is not affected, you can do a damn good gig with a head cold. It seems that one of the keys to doing that effectively is to embrace the limits that illness imposes and to work within your constraints.
I have seen Suzanne Vega in concert for at least 20 – 25 years. Her performance on Monday night was not the highest quality singing I’ve heard from her. But, you know what? It was a great show and it certainly was memorable. I have a lot of respect for Suzanne, in general. But, I had extra respect for her on Monday night. With a head cold in full force, and what was either water or a cup of tea on stage, Suzanne took the stage, knew she had some limitations, and gave her audience a really wonderful performance. Monday’s show in Portland was not the makings of her next live album. What it was, was a demonstration of how beautiful a performer can be when she respects her fans enough to get on stage and admit that she might have some limitations, to sing with all she can muster, to accept her limitations with a great sense of humor, and to perform well by not trying to perform perfectly. It was a great show and I want to say thank you to Suzanne Vega for being there for we, her fans, even when all is not perfect.
Speaking of giving thanks, I also want to thank Scott Docherty at http://www.redhare.com for taking this photo for me:
I have waited since the mid-80’s to actually get a photo of me and Suzanne. I hope she’ll be happy to know that this is as cool to me as are my photos of me with the likes of Eric Owens, Dawn Upshaw, Chris Rothko, Jennifer Larmore, Stephanie Blythe, and Morris Dees. So, thank you Scott!
Of course, the real thank you goes to Suzanne Vega. Next time I think of taking a day off of work when I have a cold, I’ll remember that there is a precedent set by someone I respect a lot, for just pushing through and kicking ass!
Come on back anytime; and get well soon!!!