The String Quartet Tribute to Vienna Teng?!?

Last night was a very awesome experience. We flew to LA and managed to make it back and worked full days and ate a small amount and such, which is great, but the point of going was to see the Vienna Teng LA Dreaming Through the Noise album preview show at Hotel Cafe. We got to LA around 3:30 and searched for a restroom facility. We found one and some tasty buffalo wings about a half block from Hotel Cafe. Then we started the line in front of the new entrance to the venue. Around 40 minutes or so later, someone else joined us in line as well. Vienna tried to get in around 20 minutes later, and when she couldn’t, I think she ended up going to Amoeba and browsing for a bit.

The club is still just as dark as ever. Vienna started with a bass player named Jonathan and a drummer named Aaron backing her on Transcontinental, 1:30a.m. and she prefaced it by saying that a common feeling about musicians are that they are only out to sell cds and tshirts, and that wasn’t what this show was about. This show was a preview of a cd that won’t be released for another month and a half, but that the group of musicians that were performing on stage was going to be playing very similar versions of the songs as would be on the album. They played 1br/1ba next, and Vienna had a little trouble playing percussion on the piano, playing the keys on the piano and singing at the same time. There were a few notes miskeyed and a few pauses in the vocal where there normally are not, but the show was about to get much MUCH better. Just after finishing up, Vienna did something completely (COMPLETELY) unexpected by my wife and I. She welcomed The Section Quartet to the stage. Now, I’ve been a fan of Eric Gorfain and The Section for at least five or six years, since the original String Quartet Tribute to Nine Inch Nails came out. I’d never had the opportunity to see them live, and there they are… accompanying my favorite musician… on Blue Caravan. I had planned to write a nice, journalistic review of the show. At this point, I was just… WOW TEH SECTION!!!! and that feeling lasted for most of the night. And on to morning. They played I Don’t Feel So Well next. I wasn’t really paying attention, I was watching the string section in awe. They played Love Turns 40 next. It has become my favorite song to sing along to in the car when I’m driving. I must confess, when Vienna debuted the song in 12.2004, I was kind of disappointed in it. Not really my cup of tea I guess, but I really have grown to like it. Then they did a really great version of Now Three. Vienna and The Section. Then Vienna goes and warns us about Pontchartrain coming up next. We hadn’t heard it yet. This song is very dark. It reaches into the Passage levels of darkness. I started to think, this could totally be a Portishead song. She could put together a nice trip hop remix and release it to one of those nice BBC stations and they’d play the hell out of it. Or, she could just keep it the way it is, because it is really that good. I don’t see how it can flow real well on the album, because this album is very shiny happy for the most part… and this song… is not. The verdict will be out when the final album gets ripped open and played. The Section took a bit of a break, and Vienna did Recessional (complete with cougher to start off the song), which has definitely become my least favorite song on the album (sorry Vienna), but it just doesn’t appeal to me. Not sure why, lots of other people like it. Then the Vienna Teng “Power Trio” continued on with City Hall. I miss the Short Story Dancers, but the song is still great. They welcomed The Section back to close out the night with a really great version of the probable first single from the album, Whatever You Want. Post-show, we got to spend a few minutes with a few of our friends and stopped to say goodbye to Vienna. I mentioned the “It sounded a little Portishead”, which Vienna took as a compliment, and I’m glad, because that was what I meant it to be. It was a great show. Vienna Teng and The Section, together, on stage with a crowd of around 110 (89 paid admission, the rest industry folk).

After the show our newly married friends offered us a place to crash and a ride to the airport in the very early morning. We were exceptionally grateful. We got to their car to discover they had gotten a $45 parking ticket, and though it was a damper on an otherwise great night, we were all a little too tired to care.

As I mentioned before, we somehow made it back in one piece and both worked full days today. Got a slice of Extreme Pizza (cheese) and a chocolate chip cookie for dinner. It is really hard to believe that 24 hours ago, we were watching The Section accompany Vienna Teng at the Hotel Cafe, and now I’m relaxing and blogging about it in Pacifica. I saw three different airports this morning (LAX, SJC, SFO) on my “commute” to work. Not something that happens for me every day. I had my doubts on this excursion being a good idea. I had my doubts that we’d make it to work today. I even had slight doubts about the show. All of my doubts were for naught. It was an amazing experience.

60 shows later, and I still can call a VT show “an amazing experience.” That’s a good thing…

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