Freight and Salvage - Berkeley, CA December 29, 2013

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Michele
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Freight and Salvage - Berkeley, CA December 29, 2013

Postby Michele » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:38 am

For this show, Vienna had her keyboard back and set up on a stand, with the robots set up to work with it.

America (a cappella)
City Hall
snippet of Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
Blue Caravan
Gravity
- enter Alex -
Antebellum (guitar and piano parts switched)
In The Creases
Always Something Better
The Last Snowfall (with Alex kinda teasing Whatever You Want under it on piano)
Whatever You Want (looped version, with Alex on guitar)
Reckoner (Radiohead)

At this point, the request punch bowl is stuffed (along with my heart at the sight of it, it was awesome). There's no more slips of paper left to write on, and there was no point in putting out more paper since Vienna couldn't get to everything anyway. But I got all your chat room requests, so we just started ripping blank paper from around the other written requests to squeeze them in.
Meantime, Alex and Vienna frantically try to finish writing a new song to play for us.

The Hymn Of Acxiom
Landsailor
Say Uncle
Vienna talks about the request punch bowl, how there were so many different songs in there, and how having a hit single is on the bucket list, but then people come to shows only to hear that song. I looked through all the requests throughout both nights, and it's really remarkable that there's very little overlap in requests. There are requests in there from all the albums, with a great amount of covers that she's done live in the past, and the random fun songs. The "please" pleading can be fun. Someone drew a cannon for their Cannonball request. The first night, there was one who didn't write a request, but just left a note that said Be awesome :)
Level Up (on piano)
Eric's Song
Stray Italian Greyhound
Soon Love Soon (looped, with the audience singing, on keyboard)
Harbor (Waking Hour intro and explanation, paired with writing exercises of playing in 7)
- enter Alex -
Don't Be Afraid
Twenty Faces
new song, with the audience split singing two different parts
Never Look Away (Vienna forgetting lyrics, Alex on rebooting Nord...d'oh. Will post the Throckmorton acoustic version when I can...)
- enter Josephine! -
Goodnight New York (all on mic, Vienna on piano, Alex on guitar)

The Atheist Christmas Carol (audience singing chorus)
(Team VT shoutouts, fan shoutouts, Freight shoutouts)
Lullabye For A Stormy Night

And Alex played three chords of Freebird somewhere in there, couldn't find it, need to fall over...

Afterward, Vienna was serenaded by an a capella chorus chigaijin swiftly put together to sing The Hymn of Acxiom!
And finally, we serenaded mintpatty with Happy Birthday!

cmooreNC
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Re: Freight and Salvage - Berkeley, CA December 29, 2013

Postby cmooreNC » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:51 pm

Wish I could have stayed up for this one. In reading through what you've written, it looks like it was beyond wonderful!

Thanks for sharing, Michele.
Chris

Michele
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Re: Freight and Salvage - Berkeley, CA December 29, 2013

Postby Michele » Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:09 pm

The last three days were a great way to wrap up the year. I'll try to write out some more descriptions later - there was a story before Blue Caravan, and to post about the new song. I just ran out of ability to concisely retell last night, needed to catch up on sleep from all the late nights :)

I just re-read the chat log - that was me yelling hi at you all between sets :P I had to get on stage to grab the punch bowl, since Vienna had moved it, and apparently people were getting on stage to put stuff in it. Oops. I was away reading the backlog of the chat room at the time, and I could hear the front row chatter being picked up on the webcast, so I decided to say hi to the remote fans.

I think it was mentioned already, but you can tip Alex through StageIt, or by adding extra when you buy a track from his Bandcamp. And I'm sure Vienna and Amy are aware some of the Concert Window tip money should go to him.

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Re: Freight and Salvage - Berkeley, CA December 29, 2013

Postby Erik » Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:14 pm

While I'd love to comment and agree that the show was "beyond wonderful", this last show at the Freight and Salvage for 2013 was my least favorite show of the year. I would rank it just above the infamous Great American Music Hall show as far as a show experience is concerned.

I loved the Aims tour. I was able to attend 12 shows on the tour and had a great time at every single one of them. Those, in combination with three shows at the Freight and Salvage and one show at the Throckmorton allowed me to have one of the best fan experiences of my life in 2013. Thanks to all of the friends and fellow fans that I got to see on the road this year. You all make these events more than just Vienna Teng shows.

Lou and Colleen did a great job on sound, as they have for the past few years worth of Freight performances. Bob and Andrea made us feel very welcome throughout the weekend, which always makes me feel special and Vienna and Alex continue to be appreciative of the little bits of behind the scenes stuff that I continue to take pleasure in doing for them. That all means a lot to me.

Here's where the problems I had with the show fall into this post:
    Alex Wong as an added attraction is nice but there was just a bit too much Alex for me in what was advertised as a Vienna Teng solo show. The songwriting exercise debut also placed Alex directly in front of Vienna, blocking the audience's view entirely of the main performer.

    We kept Vienna out too late the night before, which probably also didn't help.

    The old Nord is pretty busted, which made playing songs on the Nord an even more risky endeavor which didn't really work out too well.

    Alex and Vienna collaborating on each other's songs in an impromptu unrehearsed manner, typically on unfamiliar instruments made the arrangements a bit "experimental jazz" at times and I didn't really care for that either.

    The show felt a bit too "free show at the Rockwood" for me, and after such a triumphant Fall Tour experience, it left me a bit disappointed.

There have been very few shows in the 140+ that I've been able to attend that I have left dissatisfied. Unfortunately, this was one of them. I just hope that 99.9% of the crowd left happier than I did as they still got to see some great performances by extremely talented musicians in a venue that makes everyone feel like they are at home.

We won't get to see Vienna much in 2014, if at all, and while the 12/29 show had some good moments, it just didn't feel like a proper goodbye.

Michele
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Re: Freight and Salvage - Berkeley, CA December 29, 2013

Postby Michele » Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:54 pm

The thing is, they've gotten away with "let's try it and see what happens" so many other times with it being awesome, that I'm OK with this time not quite working out. I don't want them to sacrifice taking chances with playing it safe; I felt like things were played too safe in the last leg of the tour with the static setlist. I was really happy with the other two holiday shows, the tour, the Kickstarter, the new album, so much else this year, that this show being a bit off, even being the last show, is kinda OK.

I think I told some of you to maybe keep a watch out in case we could do something else - the Freight has a dark day again on the 6th. Unfortunately, a last-minute thing that day isn't to be. Maybe I can post the whole Throckmorton show that day instead... :)

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Re: Freight and Salvage - Berkeley, CA December 29, 2013

Postby chigaijin » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:42 am

I'll counter the lackadaisical vibe a bit...the Aims shows were great, but very much based on the setlist. And since the Aims songs were so carefully arranged, the live show aspect wasn't as exciting as it has been. (Though that could have also been a function of the SF venue, which was big and dark and had a high stage.) This show, by contrast, was very organic, with more "what's on my mind" stories and playing with arrangements. Which didn't always work, but sometimes did. And I appreciate that there are still shows where they can just fool around, rather than being big-name musicians who always have to have a polished product.

I brought my brother along, so it may not have been the best show for his first live show, but he certainly still enjoyed it. He wasn't expecting Hymn of Acxiom to be performable live, since it would have been multitrack-recorded for the album.

Great sound seconded; there were many times that I felt almost like there was a backup vocal. (I will note a couple spikes of too-much-reverb, but for the most part it was solid.)

I agree that Alex was there quite a bit, and their experiment at writing a completely new song definitely fell down during the second verse where Vienna repeatedly tried to find a nice harmony to go with Alex's melody. The song itself could work, just not today. (In retrospect the meta of it reminded me a bit of "Rewind".) On the flip side, "Reckoner" worked very well.

Vienna told a fun story about tour fatigue tonight, saying how she'd usually crash a few days after she got back from a tour...and then realize it was a form of "adulation withdrawal". "I just did the dishes! Don't I get applause for that?" In these times, the slower, darker songs turn out to be nicer to play than the upbeat pop songs that she's been preferring most of the time these days. "...Anyway, that was a long way of saying thank you for requesting [Blue Caravan]."

If the "Gravity" from a few years ago was the Braid version, the beginning of this night's "Gravity" felt a bit like To the Moon. Though maybe I just have that game on the mind.

Never Look Away! I'm glad we got to hear this one, which is actually working fine on piano+vocals. Alex was supposed to be playing some synths on the Nord as accompaniment, but what he ended up with didn't really work, and was actually kind of distracting. Oh well...still glad to hear it live!

EDIT: forgot to mention that there were quite a few lyrical mishaps in Never Look Away. :-) I guess that was the night before showing, but that's pretty much the only place where someone would have noticed.

Eric's Song was definitely one of my favorites tonight. She played it straight but this night I was feeling it.

I loved this version of Goodnight New York, and Josephine was fantastic. EDIT: ConcertWindow didn't do it justice. :-)

And of course, good to see the people I did see, and sorry to miss those I didn't. Until next show!
Last edited by chigaijin on Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

Erik
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Re: Freight and Salvage - Berkeley, CA December 29, 2013

Postby Erik » Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:04 am

I didn't get to say this post-show but the choral arrangement of Hymn sounded wonderful as well. Thanks for doing that chigaijin and finding four brave souls to assist you in that presentation!

Michele
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Re: Freight and Salvage - Berkeley, CA December 29, 2013

Postby Michele » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:50 am

chigaijin wrote:the Aims shows were great, but very much based on the setlist. And since the Aims songs were so carefully arranged, the live show aspect wasn't as exciting as it has been. (Though that could have also been a function of the SF venue, which was big and dark and had a high stage.)


I dunno what it is about the Bay Area - the band gave everything for SF and Saratoga, and the audiences didn't give back (except for the first Indy show, only because VT egged them on to beat LA at the start). That's pretty much any show I go to, not just VT. For this tour, though, I wanted to see people really get into it (swaying/dancing) and I don't think it happened. Although I know people liked the performances, I was a bit "aww" over that - but I think that also means there's still something to strive for with that sound in the future. Just maybe not for a couple of albums...

chigaijin wrote:This show, by contrast, was very organic, with more "what's on my mind" stories and playing with arrangements. Which didn't always work, but sometimes did. And I appreciate that there are still shows where they can just fool around, rather than being big-name musicians who always have to have a polished product.


Exactly.

chigaijin wrote:I brought my brother along, so it may not have been the best show for his first live show, but he certainly still enjoyed it. He wasn't expecting Hymn of Acxiom to be performable live, since it would have been multitrack-recorded for the album.


Yay surprises! I think one of the strengths of the tour was the inventive presentation of each song. There was always something awesome going on to watch and try to figure out.

chigaijin wrote:Great sound seconded; there were many times that I felt almost like there was a backup vocal. (I will note a couple spikes of too-much-reverb, but for the most part it was solid.)


She was drowning in reverb for Mill Valley, and I think Lou ran with it (he was at that show, but not running sound) and was experimenting with how much is too much...I'm glad she got advice early in her career that she didn't need much. It still applies.

chigaijin wrote:Vienna told a fun story about tour fatigue tonight


Yay, now I don't have to type it out!

Thanks for chiming in, always hard to tell if we're being overly nitpicky or not...

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Re: Freight and Salvage - Berkeley, CA December 29, 2013

Postby cmooreNC » Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:08 pm

Erik wrote:
We won't get to see Vienna much in 2014, if at all, and while the 12/29 show had some good moments, it just didn't feel like a proper goodbye.


That could be the key to all of this, couldn't it? It's why I went to Salt Lake City. I sincerely doubt I'll be able to travel internationally to catch any of the "shows" (or whatever they turn out to be) this summer. So I, too, am anticipating that I won't be seeing any shows this year. Except maybe a Stageit, as we are "owed" one of those through the Kickstarter campaign and I am hoping to somehow manage to turn that into a live performance in Detroit or close by, if it's doable for her and we can invite a bunch of Warm Strangers or something. Just a theory at this point, as there are no plans. Will be seeing her in late February, but that's actually to attend another performance in the area and it will be a very brief "hello" visit.

But after reading through all of the comments above (which I VERY much appreciate) it does sound like this show was rather ragged. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but I'm sure if I'd been there I might well have agreed that it was not a proper way to wrap up what has been an incredible year.

Thanks to all three of you for sharing your perspectives. Personally I love all the detail.
Chris

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Re: Freight and Salvage - Berkeley, CA December 29, 2013

Postby chigaijin » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:11 am

Erik wrote:I didn't get to say this post-show but the choral arrangement of Hymn sounded wonderful as well. Thanks for doing that chigaijin and finding four brave souls to assist you in that presentation!

*blush* Thank you. (For everyone else: I got a group together to sing an a cappella arrangement of The Hymn of Acxiom.) That was our first day to practice all together, though most of the group had started learning earlier in the month. As Lily said, "I'm glad it kind of worked"!

...but no, I'm really happy we got the chance to do it at all. And thanks to Michele for recording it...turns out your recording is better (read: more balanced) than the one my brother got.

Like last time I've also got sheet music if anyone's interested, but really the next thing to do is to see what happens with Mr. Whitacre. (Or that drum corps...hm...)

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Re: Freight and Salvage - Berkeley, CA December 29, 2013

Postby josiah » Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:20 am

Michele wrote:I dunno what it is about the Bay Area - the band gave everything for SF and Saratoga, and the audiences didn't give back (except for the first Indy show, only because VT egged them on to beat LA at the start). That's pretty much any show I go to, not just VT. For this tour, though, I wanted to see people really get into it (swaying/dancing) and I don't think it happened.

Waaay late to the party here (I guess I like resurrecting dead threads?). I was at the SF late show, and I thought it was absolutely delightful. It was my first time seeing Vienna live, and I (and the friends I was with) thought she, Alex, and Jordan just knocked it out of the park. Sorry to hear that we as an audience didn't match... I guess next time I will bring some more energy!

I was also at the Freight and Salvage show, and I loved the casual vibe. I hauled another friend along and he greatly enjoyed it as well. It was definitely a very different show from the album tour, but just as much a pleasure to be at! Some of the things Vienna and Alex tried didn't work perfectly, but honestly, I'm not complaining. Their willingness to be take risks and have fun on stage added to the coziness--in a way it felt less like a performance and more like "let's spend an evening together".

chigaijin wrote:Like last time I've also got sheet music if anyone's interested, but really the next thing to do is to see what happens with Mr. Whitacre. (Or that drum corps...hm...)

Argh, seems like I should have hung around after the show!! @chigaijin, Some of my coworkers have started an a cappella group--is it cool if we steal this? If you have the .ly source lying around in case we want to make tweaks, that would be even better :D

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Re: Freight and Salvage - Berkeley, CA December 29, 2013

Postby chigaijin » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:09 am

josiah wrote:
chigaijin wrote:Like last time I've also got sheet music if anyone's interested, but really the next thing to do is to see what happens with Mr. Whitacre. (Or that drum corps...hm...)

Argh, seems like I should have hung around after the show!! @chigaijin, Some of my coworkers have started an a cappella group--is it cool if we steal this? If you have the .ly source lying around in case we want to make tweaks, that would be even better :D


Go for it, josiah! Here's the LilyPond source. I'd love to see a recording if you do pick it up.


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