Given how much she tours and how at home Suzanne Vega is in the live environment, it's surprising that she hasn't released a live album until now.
Solitude Standing - Live at the Barbican is a two CD set, recorded on the 16th of October 2012. 2012 marked the 25th anniversary of Vega's breakthrough second album, and so for a limited number of shows she performed it in its entirety, followed by a selection of other songs.
With a small group of supporting musicians - Gerry Leonard on guitar, Mike Visceglia on bass, Doug Yowell on drums and Hazel Fernandes on backing vocals, Vega is able to replicate quite easily the feel of the album. Sound quality is very good, sounding both clear and crisp.
Whilst a lot of the album has featured heavily in her setlists for the past 25 years, it was good to hear some of the songs that rarely get a live outing - such as In The Eye and Night Vision.
And after a short break, Vega was back to round off the evening with a selection of songs drawn mainly from her 80's and early 90's albums. I've always loved her debut album, so the inclusion of Marlene on the Wall, The Queen and the Solider and Some Journey was a particular pleasure.
Throughout the concert, Suzanne Vega spoke at some length between most of the songs, outlining some of the history about the writing and the meaning of the songs. Some of the stories, such as the one about Gypsy, are quite familiar - but Vega is a born storyteller and the stories are still entertaining, even after all these years.
Recorded, mixed and produced by Concert Live, it's a no frills package, lacking any sleeve notes for example. But this is a minor niggle, as the stripped-down and intimate feel of the performance and the quality of the music is the most important thing.
With her long awaited new album due for release in 2014, Solitude Standing - Live at the Barbican, is a good reminder of the depth and quality of her back catalogue.