The Towers of Vienna

Lately, Vienna Teng has been making the rounds in music stores in the Bay Area like Tower Records and Borders Books & Music to promote her album Waking Hour. This afternoon, I went to the Tower Records in Fremont to hear her sing with my cousin Cynthia. After several hours of interviewing with high-tech companies, she no doubt enjoyed Vienna’s live performance. Towers of Hanoi and CS brain teasers, Vienna’s not!

I’ve always wondered why some singers sound great on their CD’s but just terrible in concert. After years of blaming it on their sound systems, I’ve come to the conclusion that some people just don’t perform well live. This is one reason why I tend not to attend many concerts of big name performers; I’m afraid they are going to suck up the joint.

On the flip side, there are some bands where music plays second fiddle in their concerts. For instance, people don’t go to KISS concerts for their wonderful songs, but for their awesome live performance. I went to a Las Vegas concert of theirs a few years ago not having known one song of theirs. During the concert, it was so loud that I could barely make out what they were singing.

None of it mattered when you had fire breathing, blood frothing at the mouth, flying, rockets and explosions during the concert! Consider me conscripted into the KISS Army! Gene and Paul, they’re showmen, and over the years they’ve become masters at working the crowd over as well as they do all those nubile women backstage at evening’s end.

Fortunately, Vienna doesn’t have to blow fireballs out of her mouth to get our attention. Her music and her voice sound just as good or even better in concert. I especially enjoy hearing her work in subtle variations on familiar songs. The people at Tower Records seemed to like her work, as I saw many Waking Hour CD’s being purchased at the cashier this afternoon.

Have you noticed that the cover to Justin Timerblake’s new CD, Justified, looks eerily similar to Vienna’s? Slap in a light bulb and put in a little blue, and you’d have a mirror image of Waking Hour! The Top 25 shelf featured Eminem in the #1 spot, but you wouldn’t know that after I altered the scene. I shouldn’t have to do it for long, however. Once people hear her music, they’ll be joining the Cult of Vienna in droves!

Next Friday, Vienna’s going to be on China Crosstalk on Channel 26 her in the Bay Area. Check it out, as they are going to be showing footage that Eric and I made from her performance at the San Francisco Public Library last month!

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