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Vega's back and Sage gets music fans rocking.

SUZANNE Vega is making a return to the Sage Gateshead in February with a new tour, Never Wear White, to coincide with her first new material in seven years.

The pioneering American singersongwriter, famous for the haunting Grammy-nominated song Luka, will be performing tracks from her album - her eighth - Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles.

The 10-song collection, each telling a story of how the material and spiritual worlds intersect, is set for release on Vega's own label, Amanuensis Productions, that same month. Vega, who has clocked up 28 years in the music business, is making the Sage the second stop on her UK tour after Manchester, having played the Gateshead venue just last summer (her third time) ahead of which she told Culture how she associates it with Sting: "I remember it visually. I associate it with Sting. We've been friends over the years because we're both at A&M Records."

That tour was Close Up, in reference to the way Vega says she re-recorded and re-released her back catalogue in an acoustic style under the record label she had set up.

Having written poetry since childhood and recently a play about Carson McCullers, the author of American classic The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Vega told us then: "I love writing and I love books. If anybody ever sees the inside of my apartment they'll know!" So, it's good to hear there's more new work from the enduring star, who's known for songs such as Marlene on the Wall and album hit Solitude Standing and whose acappella song Tom's Diner also became a worldwide remix hit for UK-based dance duo DNA in the early 90s.

Her deceptively gentle but powerfully political style of acoustic pop is said to have inspired a generation of female singer-songwriters including KT Tunstell and Alanis Morrisette.

Vega has said of her first studio recording of new material in seven years: "We tried the songs out on the road, adjusting them every night depending on how they felt live.

"We've gradually made changes to lyrics, melodies, keys, tempos and arrangements. I Never Wear White has proven itself a crowd favourite night after night, whether we were playing in Arkansas or Tokyo."

Meanwhile, the night before Vega's gig marks another return to the Sage: this time for The Classic Rock Show which is described as the "ultimate live jukebox" for rock fans.

Following previous visits, it is back on its new European tour with a mix of tracks from the 10 best-selling rock albums of all time, plus extra songs added for 2014, and ranging from The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and local heroes Dire Straits through Bruce Springsteen, Meat Loaf and AC/DC to Supertramp, The Who, Elton John and Fleetwood Mac.

Over two and a half hours the audience can expect such legendary hits as Dire Straits' Money For Nothing, Lynyrd Skynyrd's Free Bird, Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell, and Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb in a packed show which will no doubt have fans on their feet and air punching like crazy.

The Classic Rock Show will be at Sage Gateshead on February 1, followed by Suzanne Vega on February 2. Both shows are in Hall One and start at 7.30pm. For tickets visit www.sagegateshead.

com or call 0191 443 4661.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 17, 2013
Words:569
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