Maybe a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon was not the right time for an intimate listening experience. Ngo Thuy Mien and Thanh Trang’s Tinh Khuc Mua Thu—a fundraising concert for veterans living in Viet Nam— took place in VNCC’s auditorium at two o’clock was not a great success. I was hoping for a big rain to boost up the atmosphere, but the sky was bright and clear.
Besides the timing, the sleepy arrangements and the poor sound quality didn’t help either. Quang Tuan didn’t impress me much. His rendition of Thanh Trang’s “Huyen” was simply long and he didn’t have the stage performance. During the break (keyboard solo), he simply stood there looking at the audience and just waiting to sing again. Although Thien Kim could turn her back to the audience during the break to reveal her naked back, she was even more disappointed. She had to sing with the music sheet even on a well-known ballad like Ngo Thuy Mien’s “Ban Tinh Cuoi,” in which her short vocals took the bridge to nowhere. Diem Liem was the only one that could weather the quiet storm. Despite the snoozing accompaniment, she poured her heart out on “Tra Lai Cho Em,” a new tune from Ngo Thuy Mien that will guarantee to be a big hit. She also soared like a songbird in the afternoon on “Tu Giong Hat Em.”
After intermission, a PowerPoint-like video clip of the handicap veterans who are being ignored by the Vietnamese government was shown on a big screen to encourage donations. The best part of the show was the interview with Ngo Thuy Mien and Thanh Trang conducted by Duong Nguyet Anh, but it was rushed through because of time. Thanh Trang was quite hilarious in his answers even though he only had time for two questions.