Tuesday, October 14, 2003


Ever since a couple of awkward experiences in college, I've been reluctant to invite people to concerts for fear that they would dislike the music. But tonight I was disappointed in myself because Vienna Teng rocked The Ark here in Ann Arbor, and I was there alone!

Not only is she an incredibly talented piano player, she has a very moving voice. In a way, that's a little scary because most of her songs are sad songs, so you spend a good deal of time two inches away from tears. Still it was a satisfying feeling and her light remarks between songs were friendly, though disarming (did they compound the effect?!). At one point, she was talking about the road trips her family used to take and how her Taiwanese parents would always play American folk music: Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, John Denver... which is extremely cool because we are near the same age and my parents are also big on Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and George Winston--whose music, coincidentally, hers resembled but with Joni's voice. So I was moved to nostalgia when she covered John Denver's Annie's Song, a song out of my own past.

For one song, she taught the chorus to the audience for us to sing along, after which she complimented us on our singing. Much better than pretentious LA audiences, she said. I wonder, have I been in Ann Arbor long enough to laugh at jokes like that? In any case, the next time Ms Teng rolls through town, I'm definitely inviting a friend.

Speaking of which, Shonen Knife will be in Detroit on Halloween. Then again, they were one of those awkward experiences...


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