Vienna Teng at Cowell Theater

Vienna Teng performed in front of a huge crowd at Cowell Theater last night, accompanied by musicians Jim Batcho (drums), ??? (bass), Eric Cheng (cello), Marika Hughes (cello), and Alan Lin (violin). Marika and Alan will be touring with Vienna for part of the year. Having toured with Vienna in the past, I wonder what kind of van or truck they are going to rent; there’s a lot of equipment to be transporting this time around!

Hearing her music with a full band is quite an experience. The sounds have more depth and are much richer. It’s neither better nor worse than just her and the piano, just different. A good kind of different! The opening act, Noe Venable was pretty good too, hitting my soft-spot for female vocalists.

Following the performance, the crowd emptied out in the atrium, where Vienna signed autographs and CD’s. It felt like I was in Hong Kong or China; there were so many Asians in the room! She certainly has crossover appeal, and I am looking forward to the day when Vienna’s considered by the public to be a great musician, not a great Asian-American musician. As with the show at Border’s, there were many people from different parts of my life: Stanford, Cal, Rice Bowl Journals, San Diego, and more.

I went with Rae, Dardy, and Raphael. We had a scrumptious sushi dinner at Zushi Puzzle. I surprised Rae with my sushi ordering restraint, though Dardy surprised us all with the amount he ordered! Fortunately, he didn’t have food coma during the performance. Raphael remarked to us that he likes to eat anything, and he really enjoyed the soft shell crab and the unagi. Despite my love for sushi, I have to watch out that I don’t eat too much. Like with Cat’s delicious cream puffs from Vienna’s RBJ concert, you have to eat with moderation.

Photos from the event. I took the performance photos from my seat, which I never left during the performance. Wow, what restraint! I do like the fact that Vienna condones photography or videography during her performances. It’s so unlike the big bands and musicians, many of whom are way too protective of their image and marketing.

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