Ha! finally got my hands on my laptop so I can add my own notes. (We've been on the road since Thursday, visiting college campuses with my daughter. She's been using the laptop to write a chem lab report. First things first.)
First off, Vienna really showed what an accomplished performer she was in this one, having to contend with a "plague afflicting the Ross School" (evidently an upper respiratory infection going around) that left her more vocally challenged than I've ever heard her before. As aaparallel pointed out elsewhere, she transposed whole songs down. She also altered some vocal lines so that they descended when we are used to hearing them ascend. She started out smoothly enough (maybe she moved the a capella
Green Island Serenade to leadoff to take advantage of early strength, altho I've heard her lead with it before, e.g., TEDxBoulder). As the evening went on she occasionally sounded like it was getting to her, but then she would come back. I didn't think she would do the high-register "and we can be as one god" in the last chorus of Soon Love Soon, the last encore number, but she did, and it was fine. Having a little grit in her normally silky voice actually worked to her advantage in Grandmother Song.
Some notes on individual songs. I won't duplicate tanthalas here, just add any additional observations I made.
The leadoff a capella
Green Island Serenade was sung while Vienna sat sideways on the piano bench facing the audience. What showmanship that was! Immediate audience rapport. I've seen her do it standing on the very front of the stage without a microphone as an encore (memorably, at Westhhampton Beach). Very dramatic, but what she did last night was much more effective for leading off.
Augustine was played without introduction, and ferociously, as if Vienna willed her hands to overcome her vocal issue. (It wasn't the only song played without intro. Understandably, there was a bit less banter last night than average--far less than at the loose-as-a-goose show at The Bell House in March where I last saw her.)
The Braid Gravity had a more elaborate looped vocal outro than I remember hearing before. Vienna's really got that machine doing her bidding.
Vienna made the point that Shasta did not represent her own point of view.
She also made the point that Homecoming was male POV.
She said Stray Italian Greyhound was the product of a conscious decision to write a happy song.
The loop "percussion" in Whatever You Want was beyond awesome.
I think she left the "numbers" interlude out of Seedling #3. I could be wrong, not sure. The audience absolutely ate it up.
Violin and cello were used to act out the couple upstairs in 1BR/1BA. Pretty funny!
Blue Caravan with strings and drums was a major highlight.
I think we've done the Antebellum sing-along before. Maybe at Infinity Music Hall, my previous solo show?
Violin and bass solos (brief) in Grandmother Song. Seed of a good idea. The violinist was game but maybe more at home in classics. Adding a serious down-home fiddle solo to this song would be something. I've heard it so many times live I can't remember if there was a fiddler on the CD. In my head I'm hearing what Carrie Rodriguez could do with it. As I mentioned Vienna's very slightly gritty vocal actually was a good thing here.
Vienna said the Soon Love Soon chorus was how she had originally envisioned the song. (With the chorus doing the rather enigmatic "and we will, and we will never" part -- is that how it goes?) As far as the "big chorus" (the audience part) went, I still think we did better in 3-part harmony at Highline in 2010.
After the show the merch table was mobbed! Sales must have been enormous. It took Vienna a while to come out (I wasn't sure she would, either because she didn't feel well or to save her voice) and the Power Center people had pretty much emptied the lobby. I left when they told me to, and there were few behind. To my chagrin, thus did I miss congratulating Vienna on her triumph.
I did however get a chance to tell Katie Lee I thought she did great too. It would be nice to have her succeed and see her again someday. The notice Katie got to do the opening gig kept decreasing with every retelling of the story by her and by Vienna during the show. I think it started at 36 hours, and ended somewhere about 8. If the show had gone on much longer one of them would have said Vienna found Katie in the lobby before the show and dragged her onstage.
I imagine openers are used to short notice. Anyway, her contribution to the evening was much appreciated.
The following day my wife and daughter and I toured the U-M campus and went to an info session. My daughter has had the U on her potential application list for a while, and she says it went to the top of the list after this weekend. I'll have to agree that it was pretty danged awesome. (I thought that while I was an undergrad at rival MSU, too.) So the ostensible and actual reasons for this trip both ended up justifying themselves. Quite the weekend. One more school to see tomorrow, and then back to the real world.