San Jose (June 1, 2004)

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blackstripe
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San Jose (June 1, 2004)

Postby blackstripe » Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:58 am

I just wanted to say that I was absolutely floored by the conert tonight. It was really cool when people held up their cell phones as "lighters" :D Anyways, here are some pictures I thought you all might enjoy. They're kind of big though, since I haven't downsized them.

Also a few notes: Watermark was the charity who was hosting the event. They go to Tijuana and help the needy there.

And about the in-concert photos... sorry they're rather blurry and far away. I wasn't able to get close to the stage during the actual performance. Otherwise, enjoy!

[Links edited out because obsolete]
Last edited by blackstripe on Sun Feb 05, 2006 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

vinh
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Postby vinh » Thu Jun 03, 2004 1:35 am

thanks for the pics blackstripe! and you too Mr. photo-... ahem... the cellist Cheng. :D
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as blackstripe had pointed out, this was a charity event. proceeds from ticket sales went to fund Watermark's trip to Tijuana, where a young group of high school students will build a small 11'x22' home for a selected family. more information on Watermark and the Tijuana Missions Trip can be found <a href='http://www.sjccc.org/groups/watermark/Tijuana/index.html' target='_blank'>here</a>.


the concert was held at Montgomery Theater in San Jose, a building on the border of S. Market St and San Carlos. the Theater itself is a relatively small building. on the exterior, low walls surround the building providing an private outdoor area. during the pre-event, to the side of the building refreshments were being served (from what i heard), with more people gathered in the area to the front of the theater.

although the majority of tickets were no doubt purchased beforehand i believe the box office in front of the theater was also selling tickets. to the left of the box office was the entrance to the theater, and to the right was the exit.

at the entrance were two people checking tickets and answering questions.

upon entering the building is the lobby. Vienna, Watermark representatives, and special guest performers <a href='http://www.hook-slide.com/' target='_blank'>Hookslide</a> were present. Vienna was speaking to people and signing albums. Hookslide had their album, Original Spin, out as well. $5 from each album sales of both Hookslide and Vienna Teng will be donated to Watermark.

the Watermark group had a projector setup displaying pictures on the wall. two representatives were at a table with photo albums, as can be seen in blackstripe's photo.

i saw Mr. Cheng with his camera bag standing in the lobby, looking around, after which he went outside where he was joined by Mr. Batcho. of the people on the forums, Mr. Cheng was the only person i'd recognize. unfortunately i was too shy so i didn't say hello nor take any pictures despite having brought my camera.

to the side of the lobby was the entrance to the concert hall. a stairway led up to the balcony seats, and a door beneath led to the floor level seating. opposite this door were the restrooms.

at the door representatives were present to check tickets again and to explain that it is open seating.

passing through the doors is a hallway that runs before you and to the left. there are 3 entrances to the concert hall: one in the rear of the hall, and two near the stage area in front of the hall. the hallway to the left leads to the left-front entrance, and the one directly in front leads to the rear and right-front entraces. rough picture below:

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inside the hall, Isabel Chou, the event coordinator and apparently an old friend of Vienna's from school, was directing sponsors to their reserved seats. people with VIP tickets were free to sit anywhere from rows J and above.

for the most part, the venue is pretty small and thus relatively intimate. unless you sat in the reserved section, regardless of where you sat i think you would have had a decent view, or at least one that didn't get terribly worse. i can't speak for those up in the balcony however.

the show was scheduled to begin at 7:30pm and things pretty much got started right away. an interesting host, that i would describe as either stoic or apathetic but with a sense of humor (it's that combination that makes it interesting and more humorous), introduced the acts and presenters.

Hookslide was up first. they had some microphone trouble, but it got worked out.

i won't say much about Hookslide, so you can visit their <a href='http://www.hook-slide.com/' target='_blank'>website</a> to find out more. it should be interesting to note that all but one of them are also working in/with technology as their day jobs. it's the Silicon Valley, go figure.

what i will say about Hookslide is that i'd categorized their music as funk and vocal percussions. their music is very different from Vienna's and considering that the average age group of the audience members was upper middle age, i was a bit concerned that they wouldn't get a decent response from the audience. fortunately, i was wrong. among the young folks sitting towards the back and a few of the older people towards the front there was a plenty of yelling and clapping going on. i know that the older woman in front of me took well to their performance and bought a copy of their album during the intermission. at one point during Hookslide's performance Jon Pilat, the human beatbox, had a solo which definitely won over the audience. the group's cover of Aerosmith's "Dream On" was especially good as well.

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at the end of their performance Hookslide did try a sing along, and to some degree it worked, and on another it didn't... half the room sung "la da di da di da..." or something like that, simple enough to sing to... but the other half of the room had this line that required screaming... that i can't imagine anyone being capable of doing unless they had some singing skills... as Vienna had learned with Enough to Go By, you got to keep it simple if you want the audience to sing along...

another amusing piece from Hookslide's performance was their references to "Vienna... Teng...". the group would mention Vienna and the audience would roar and cheer in response. so it became something of a game... "yeah so... Vienna... Teng..." "yay! w00t w00t!" :lol:


altogether Hookslide pretty much stayed in their alloted, which ended around 8:00pm. afterwards, two reps from Watermark came up to talk about their experiences in the previous year's trip to Tijuana. the reps were only allotted 5 minutes, but had gone over. there was a 15 minute intermission after their talk.

i didn't care to lose my seat, so i sat in place. as a result, i can't say much about what went on in the lobby.


the concert returned with host introducing Vienna, explaining that she had performed the previous year and they had asked her if she would come back again this year.


now regarding Vienna's performance at this concert, i would say that this performance was less about Vienna. i hope it's not a blasphemy to say that around here, i'd hate to be lynched by a mob of warm strangers. :P

i can't speak for others, so really this is about my own experiences and impressions of the concert. i felt that all of the musicians on stage had equal weight in terms of "presence". even though the spotlight was on Vienna, it may surprise everyone but my attention was more on anyone BUT Vienna. ... ok, i can see that mob forming now... :o

seriously though, i thought that each of the musicians on stage contributed something to the performance and i was actually a bit annoyed that Vienna's mic was a often bit too loud that it drowned out the violin and cellos. i wanted to hear more of the accompaniment!

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i've never been good with remember set lists... what i can remember was that Gravity was played in the beginning, and The Tower was oddly separated from it and played towards the end. Daughter was in the set list, and Vienna revealed that it was a song for her father. The Atheist Christmas Carol was performed towards the end, but Vienna cleverly ommitted the title of this song... :) this is a Catholic group after all... it was on this song that Mr. Cheng was introduced to the audience i believe, he wasn't present when the other musicians were introduced earlier.

interestingly, Vienna has expanded her story... we all know that Carrie's Song and Walter's Song is a pair, but Vienna has made Anna Rose the child... so the three songs were played together. i was a bit disappointed with this grouping... for me, Anna Rose will always be associated with Lullabye for a Stormy Night, and it gives me more appreciation when paired that way.

for Enough to Go By, Vienna explained how early in her career she tried to get the audience involved in singing along with her on it, which didn't exactly work out... and from that experience she learned the importance of keeping things simple if you want the audience to sing along. i felt that Vienna's pacing on this song was off. it might've been just me, but it felt like she was speeding through the song, and i'd find myself looking for Mr. Lin for some indication that it wasn't just me, but he kept up so it must've been me...


before i talk about anymore of the set list, it should be noted that i was feeling a bit tense or high strung, my mind felt rather preoccupied as well. i can't explain it. something about this concert didn't quite feel right for me. after much though on my long drive home and all the way up until bedtime, i'm inclined to believe it was the venue and/or lighting...

my first Vienna concert was at Saratoga High School Library, and in retrospect, it was the perfect concert, the perfect venue IMO. it felt intimate, like you could connect. i think i came to realize what draws me to Vienna's music and that's that sense of intimacy.

this intimacy wasn't to be found at the Montomgery Theater performance for me. the acoustics were too loud (not volume, but rather the harshness of the sound), but most of all the lighting... i couldn't place my finger on it during the concert, this realization surfaced later... but the dark room with bright lights, this strong contrast... it didn't produce a relaxed environment to me. it felt formal... too formal... Vienna was funny and witty as usual, but it seemed kind of out of place, the wrong environment (too dark).

on my drive home i wondered if Vienna might've felt a bit disconnected from the audience... in this formal setting where the audience is sitting in the dark, she probably can't really make out faces and thus make much connection with the audience.

on lighting, the Saratoga concert was performed with a small set of standard indoor lighting, what you'd find at a library. as you could see Vienna clearly and normally (i.e. as she normal would appear), it felt casual and relaxed. it suits her music well. there's that intimacy. contrast this with colored lights and spotlights... and you might begin to understand what i'm trying to convey.

that said, the Montgomery Theater is a good venue in the sense that it is small and intimate, but provide grand scale acoustics. i would like to see a concert here with the house lights on.

[update: oy... just saw Klaorman's photos from Cowell Theater... that kind of lighting would work well for me]

now talking about acoustics... throughout the early performance, it occured to me that this was the perfect place for Passage. there was this light echo effect in this concert hall, the kind of effect you hear in Passage... and sure enough in the middle of the performance Vienna performed Passage.

what's really interesting is that it looks like Vienna came to this realization about the acoustics on the spot as well. if you look at Mr. Cheng's photo of the set list, you see Vienna writing Green Island Serenade after Daughter... during the performance, Vienna performed Passage just before Green Islande Serenade, having inserted it into the set list on the spot. good call. it was the perfect song for this place.


as i had mentioned, i was feeling a bit tense and high strung, but fortunately much of that was melted away when Green Island Serenade came on. :) i admit to trying to sing along or rather lip-synching to myself. there's just something about the song that calms a person.

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Vienna ended with Harbor, a bright song, a good way to end. but with a standing ovation, Vienna returned to the stage and gave us an encore... one that had me quite puzzled... she performed Between. i LOVE between... but to end the concert with this song would be questionable... in all fairness she did say that she was going to end on a happy song, but since we asked for it, we're gonna end with a sad one.

of course she couldn't end it that way, and she knew it. :) she gave us Soon Love Soon.

what can i say... the highlight of the show. :) we all know that Soon Love Soon is Vienna's sing along song, but what made it the highlight of the show was the wonderful involvement from the audience! it did sound like much of the audience was involved, and a good number whipped out their cell phones, waving them in the air, myself and the older woman in front of me included. :P if i had any reluctance to singing before, it has apparently disappeared. people in my section were a bit quiet to me, but that didn't stop me... :D i gave it what i had and had a blast. eventually the people behind me got in on it; i could tell from the bright cell phone lights shining on me. mid-way through the song Mr. Batcho apparently had caught on to the energy and came out to join on drums! :) that tells you how great the audience reaction was.


now i had talked only briefly mentioned the other musicians, but to give them more appropriate recognition there was: Mr. Jim Batcho on drums, Mr. Alan Lin on Violin, Ms. Jesse Ivry on Cello, and Mr. Eric Cheng on Cello. Vienna had a mix of songs that were performed with the group and solo. so if there were any concerns from people about the accompaniment, there was something here for everyone.

Mr. Lin's violin additions to Vienna's songs were wondeful. they're present on the album, but they don't quite ring out as much over the piano. LIVE however, that violin really stands out; even with the other instruments going, it felt like the violin had a solo. i enjoyed seeing Mr. Lin holding his violin and plucking like it was a guitar. i never saw the violin as a plucking instrument. :) Mr. Lin also provided the backing vocals, but in this i thought his mic wasn't turned up enough, he got drowned out a lot by Vienna. :)

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Mr. Batcho was another great addition. i never realized how big a difference adding percussions really made to music. indeed, a good portion of the time i had my attention locked on Mr. Batcho. you have to really appreciate how much control a drummer needs to exercise in producing soft sounds on top of the distinct beats. i loved seeing Mr. Batcho rolling off the high hats.

Ms. Ivry and Mr. Cheng the cellists were great too, that is when i could hear them... you know they were present, but the sound was so blended in. i wish they were given more volume so they'd be more distinct. of the orchestra instruments the cello is arguably my favorite; it has the most passionate sounds (aside from the violin, but the violin lacks that deep tone i love) to me, so it's understandable why i'd want them to be more distinct even if they weren't necessarily meant to be anything more than accompaniment. :unsure:

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anyhow, this was my impression of the concert. i hope i wasn't too critical. the Saratoga High School Concert set a high standard for me, so it'll be tough to top that. all the same i look forward to seeing more performances in the future. :)


oh! and on my way home, i passed by a street that caught my attention... i pulled over to take some pictures...


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Michele
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Postby Michele » Thu Jun 03, 2004 2:48 am

for the most part, the venue is pretty small and thus relatively intimate.  unless you sat in the reserved section, regardless of where you sat i think you would have had a decent view, or at least one that didn't get terribly worse.  i can't speak for those up in the balcony however.


I checked out the very last row of the balcony during intermission. Everything was perfectly visible. With good binoculars, one wouldn't necessarily need a front row seat.

i didn't care to lose my seat, so i sat in place.  as a result, i can't say much about what went on in the lobby.


Chaos and long bathroom lines.

i can't speak for others, so really this is about my own experiences and impressions of the concert.   i felt that all of the musicians on stage had equal weight in terms of "presence".  even though the spotlight was on Vienna, it may surprise everyone but my attention was more on anyone BUT Vienna.     ... ok, i can see that mob forming now...   :o


I think it's great that you checked out the other musicians. They're giving it their all too and they should be acknowledged for it. All too often there's so much emphasis on the lead singer of any band just because they're up front. For band members, it relieves pressure but that means there's less glory to be had for their work.

i was actually a bit annoyed that Vienna's mic was a often bit too loud that it drowned out the violin and cellos.   i wanted to hear more of the accompaniment!


They were drowned out even listening from up front. The sound mix at the Cowell show was better, but that show had some bad feedback problems. Maybe the third time will be a charm.

interestingly, Vienna has expanded her story...  we all know that Carrie's Song and Walter's Song is a pair, but Vienna has made Anna Rose the child... so the three songs were played together.   i was a bit disappointed with this grouping... for me, Anna Rose will always be associated with Lullabye for a Stormy Night, and it gives me more appreciation when paired that way.


I agree, but since Vienna's songs have all taken different lives than what she originally intended, I have made peace for myself with Anna Rose's new duality. :)

i felt that Vienna's pacing on this song was off.  it might've been just me, but it felt like she was speeding through the song, and i'd find myself looking for Mr. Lin for some indication that it wasn't just me, but he kept up so it must've been me...


She always plays it faster solo. I bet Alan'll get it next time (if there is a next time). Kyler has been able to keep up with it, but she's probably listened to Waking Hour a bit more.

my first Vienna concert was at Saratoga High School Library, and in retrospect, it was the perfect concert, the perfect venue IMO.   it felt intimate, like you could connect.  i think i came to realize what draws me to Vienna's music and that's that sense of intimacy.


The funny thing is, I feel totally opposite about this. The Saratoga show was a great performance, but I came away from it thinking something was missing. It wasn't the band, because the show the next day solo was good. I felt bad for the audience in the back having to stand because they couldn't see, especially when there were enough chairs; maybe Vienna not being up on a table :) (elevated) was the problem. I didn't like the sound in there, everything was echoing wrong. Seemed to me like if they were gonna build a quiet library, it shouldn't amplify every teeny tiny sound so when someone drops a book or something, it doesn't echo all over the place and annoy everyone. And I didn't like the lights in the library either, it was either too little or too much. I dunno. Maybe we can trade comfort levels somehow, and even it out for each other :)

Vienna ended with Harbor, a bright song, a good way to end.  but with a standing ovation, Vienna returned to the stage and gave us an encore... one that had me quite puzzled...  she performed Between.   i LOVE between... but to end the concert with this song would be questionable...  in all fairness she did say that she was going to end on a happy song, but since we asked for it, we're gonna end with a sad one.


She ended with Between as her encore for last year's show. It was by request, and was certainly an odd way to close out the show, but she'd already done her usual encore songs. I wonder what made her think to try it out for this year, if it's coincidence or she just wanted to work out an arrangement. I think she needs to release recordings of Drought and Between with strings. They're gorgeous and very different from the album versions.

As you said, Soon Love Soon was a highlight - loved the flood of cell phone lights and Jim playing at the end.

i never saw the violin as a plucking instrument.   :)


I thought it was uncommon but I saw that going on when we saw Ravel's Bolero. I guess I need to see more classical concerts.

Thanks for the pictures (and diagram, even!) and thorough reviews. I like knowing I'm not the only person who has to type out every detail of the environments and events :D

And I need to thank the band for their continued warm fuzzies, and Stephanie for splitting her tickets with us, and for her uber cuteness while singing along to the chorus of Harbor for the two SJ shows.

wayne530
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Postby wayne530 » Thu Jun 03, 2004 6:24 pm

i wasn't able to go to the saratoga show, but i thought the montgomery theatre show was awesome. she and the others (including hookslide, aside from their initial mic troubles) performed really well and i thought the acoustics of the venue were perfect. on top of all of this, i think it was great of vienna et al to come out and help support a great organization like watermark. her music and this organization's mission are both truly inspiring.

i took a couple of pictures, but all of the pictures with people need to be touched up (i forgot to turn on red-eye reduction on my camera :( ), so here's the only other picture, which is of the sponsors.

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i'll try to fix the rest of the pictures over the weekend and post some of them. was anyone able to record (audio or video) the performance? i would love to get a copy :)

is anyone going to the villa montalvo show in october? thankfully, i bought tickets as soon as they were announced. i've heard from others that only single seats are available now through ticketmaster, unless of course they're releasing tickets in blocks. i am really looking forward to seeing her perform live again.

sheeba
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Postby sheeba » Thu Jun 03, 2004 10:23 pm

Wow! Thanks for the blow by blow. Almost felt like I was there!

wayne530
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Postby wayne530 » Fri Jun 04, 2004 2:34 am

i know eric posted a picture of vienna as she was writing her playlist. but here is the complete playlist from the montgomery theatre performance:

Feature Moon
Gravity
Anna Rose
Shasta
Homecoming
Enough To Go By
Daughter
Passage
Green Island Serenade
The Atheist Christmas Carol
Tower
Harbor
Between
Soon Love Soon

her entire performance was approximately 75-80 minutes.

wayne530
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Postby wayne530 » Sat Jun 05, 2004 8:42 am

here are some random pictures from june 1:

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vienna teng, alan lin, jesse ivry, eric cheng

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enough to go by (pay no attention to the piece of paper)

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vienna exiting stage

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soon love soon (teaching the audience... "it's all echoey and stuff")

-w


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