Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Montreal Jazz Festival 2009

Can you distinguish the sound of 1,000 from that of 10,000 people? How about between 10,000 and 50,000? 50,000 and 100,000? 200,000 people? I can tell you this much, the roar from the audience in Montreal (estimated to be over 200,000) was beyond thundering, beyond explosive, into the realm of unfathomable! The cheers that Stevie elicited from the crowd from his mere presence shook my body to the core. And that was with my ear monitors in place! As far as I could see, people were crowed into the street that lay beyond the stage where we performed. We were supposed to start the show at 9:30, but were postponed by 30 minutes due to rain. Shortly after Stevie walked on stage, the rain subsided. Coincidence? Maybe…

We all poured our hearts in the 2.5 hour concert that night. The music of course included several of Stevie’s hit (Master Blaster, Higher Ground, Superstition, etc), but also included homage to Michael Jackson. The band performed “I Can’t Help It”, and grooved along while Michael’s recordings of a few hits (“The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Billie Jean”, etc.) were played over the PA. In a nod to the fact that we were performing for a Jazz Festival, we also performed “All Blues”, “Giant Steps” and “Spain”. The concert was a beautiful experience for all of us onstage, and most reviews and comments I’ve read online indicate that the massive crowd felt the same emotions that we performers did.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Milwaukee Summerfest 2009

For the first time since I’ve been touring with Stevie, we had an opening act tonight. John Legend performed a set with his full band. I decided to first do my make up and hair for the show, and then walked to an area next to the audience so I could watch John’s performance. He and his band sounded great! They performed a series of his hits, including his latest “Green Light”. But, I was waiting to hear “Ordinary People”, which came towards the end of the set. Satisfied, I returned to the dressing room to finish preparing for our show.

Another first: we started on time! Stevie spoke to the audience as we all entered the stage after him, and encouraged everyone to focus on the gift of Michael Jackson’s music, and to focus on love. Again, he started the show with “Love’s In Need”. Otherwise, the concert was a blend of the usual set list, spontaneous choices from Stevie’s catalog and Michael Jackson tunes. Stevie invited John Legend to come to the stage and sing several times during the night, including for “I Can’t Help It” and “Superstition”. Stevie also performed a more complete version of a song he’d debuted the night before, which he is dedicating to Michael and his family.

It was an extremely emotional night, with Stevie collapsing on his keyboard seat once during the concert. Aisha walked over to console him in his moment of obvious emotional pain. But Stevie pushed through the grief and gave a marvelous show. All of us on stage were affected by the shock of Michael’s death, and empathized with Stevie’s loss of a dear friend. I’m glad that we were all present to give Stevie our loving energy, along with that from the audience. What better balm for a grieving heart than love? None that I know!

As the parting note, the Michael Jackson montage that was played after the Kansas City concert was played again, with John joining all of us in a Michael Jackson dance jam. What a great show and what a lovely tribute!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kansas City Blues

Last night, we performed in Kansas City, MO. This was the first show after the announcement of Michael Jackson’s death. We’d traveled to KS the day before, and upon landing, all of our cell phones received a deluge of text messages announcing the shocking news. We all wondered how Stevie was doing, given that Michael must have been like a little brother to him. At the venue, the Starlight Theater, the mood was melancholy in the oppressive heat, but not somber. We did our usual sound check, including several of Michael’s tunes, since we all guessed that Stevie would be performing at least a few of MJ’s hits. We started the show with “Love’s In Need”, instead of “All Blues”, which we’d been as the opening song since the 2008 Tour. The show flowed between Stevie songs and Michael songs. At one point, Stevie became overwrought with emotion and asked Keith John to sing the lead on “Never Can Say Goodbye”. At the end of the show, Stevie had the audio engineer play a montage of Michael Jackson hits as we all joined him at the front of the stage. This blog recounts the night’s events with photos:

Kansas City, MO

Thursday, June 25, 2009


As the plane landed, I turned on my cell phone and was inundated with a deluge of frantic text messages about the demise of the King of Pop. Surely, this isn't true! With the sudden fierceness of an unexpected storm, the entire plane was speaking in hushed tones about MJ: can you believe it?...Oh my God!...him too?... All of us traveling musicians were shocked. Surely, this isn't true!

Alas, it is true. I can only imagine the pain my boss, Mr. Morris, is feeling. Michael must have been like a little brother to him. I can't help it, but I feel overwhelmed with grief at the loss. I realize that grief is just Human Nature, but I'm surprised at my reaction, given that I'd never met the man and only know him through his extraordinary music catalog. I will always Remember The Time I first heard Ben as a girl. I fell in love with the voice of the Man In The Mirror immediately. I'm listening to his songs tonight. I have to prepare myself to perform his songs in tribute, telling myself Don't Stop Till You Get Enough, and really have internalized these songs.

And now he's Gone Too Soon. And I never had the chance to see him perform.

He will be missed...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Working Weekend

I performed again in Danville last night, and in Burlingame this morning, both times playing piano/keyboard and singing. I've been working on adding more songs to my repertoire, just recently added a Billy Joel song (And So It Goes) and Lauren Hill's version of Can't Take My Eye Off of You. Both were received well by my audiences. I tried "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz last night, but I need to find a better key. The original key is too low for me.

This afternoon, I accompanied 3 wonderfully talented young people. I participated in a youth scholarship program, accompanying a singer, a clarinetist and a saxophonist. On the program were 2 other singers and 2 pianists. It was great! Most of the students are also studying in UC Berkeley's Young Musicians Program, of which I'm an alum, so it was a challenge for me to keep it together watching and accompanying those beautiful young faces!

Few things in life make me more jubilant (or emotional) than watching young people pursue their dreams with dedication and determination. Very often, I'm moved to tears by their efforts! This is a huge reason why I'm addicted to my favorite TV show of ALL TIME: So You Think You Can Dance. Some of you know that dance is my secondary passion (behind music) and that I still look forward to one day dancing in a senior citizen dance company! lol Once I'm at the point that I no longer need to earn a living, I'm so all about the dance...and piano...and singing...and language...and science...and philanthropy...and food...and ok ok, I know I do too much! But I can't help it! Anyway, sorry to digress...watching the young dancers on that show takes my breath away! As someone who is highly disciplined, determined and passionate, and who has a tremendous work ethic, seeing those traits personified in the dancers on the show is utterly thrilling! So far I've only seen the first 2 episodes on TIVO (I NEVER have time to watch TV live), so please DON'T TELL ME ANYTHING about what's happened in the past 3 weeks. During the past 4 seasons, it's been heartbreaking to see any of the dancers voted off. My equally addicted friend Alexsandra tells me that this year is worse than ever because everyone is so talented. Yikes!!! Don't judge my one vice in life!! I love love love that show! ; >

Sunday, June 07, 2009

That's what friends are for...

I started the day by attending the funeral of my friend Tommie Bradford's mother. I don't think I ever met her, but I consider both of her sons, Tommie and Dontay, to be friends, and I wanted to be present as they honored their mother. It was a beautiful service, and tears came to my eyes more than once. The church was filled with family, friends, and people like me who only knew of her through her family, and it was much more of a celebration of an obviously beautiful life than it was a sorrowful goodbye.

After teaching a few students, I treated myself to a massage at my cousin's spa, Skin by Maisha. Maisha has been my aesthetician for many years (note my lovely, youthful, glowing skin!) and now offers massage therapy. I've been treated by both therapists in her spa, Katy and Thomas, and every time it's been a fantastic experience. Thanks to my habit of overbooking myself, I really, really, really needed my shoulders worked on (my typical area of stress accumulation). One day, I'm going to get massages on a weekly basis...ah...

This evening, I performed again at Marcello's and had the pleasure of several friends coming out to hear me and have dinner. Thanks to Sandi, Steve, Tony, Mary, Chris and the many regular patrons (whose names escape me as I write this at 1am) for coming out and for being so supportive! And thanks to Sandi and Chris for sharing their gorgeous voices! : >

Monday, June 01, 2009

Victoria Theodore June Performances

“And let them pass, as they will too soon,
With the bean-flowers' boon,
And the blackbird's tune,
And May, and June!”
- Robert Browning

Hello friends,

I am safely returned home from my beautiful trip to Morocco. Stevie Wonder performed at the annual MAWAZINE Festival in Rabat (Morocco's capital city) and brought along the full band. Not only that, despite only 1 performance, he gave us the full week there! God bless him! : > I wrote in my blog all about the trip, the concert (with 70,000 adoring Wonder fans projecting their love onto the stage), and how I spent my day in Morocco alone, after everyone else had left for home!

Here are some of my upcoming performances:

May 2009
Sun, May 31
Oakland Public Conservatory Chamber Orchestra
Sandra I. Noriega, Music Director
Performing the works of Aaron Copeland and William Grant Still with Victoria Theodore, piano

By Donation
Skyline Community Church
12540 Skyline Boulevard Oakland, CA 94619 | 510.531.8212

June 2009
Sat, Jun 6
8:30pm - 11:30pm
Marcello's Restaurant & Piano Bar
Open mic! Come sing! Bring your instrument! Play a song or two with me!
515 San Ramon Valley Boulevard Danville, CA 94526 | 925.838.8144

Sat, Jun 13
8:30pm - 11:30pm
Marcello's Restaurant & Piano Bar
Open mic! Come sing! Bring your instrument! Play a song or two with me!
515 San Ramon Valley Boulevard Danville, CA 94526 | 925.838.8144

Wed, Jun 24
Stevie Wonder
2009 Tour
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park
2200 Encore Parkway Alpharetta, GA 30009 | 404.733.5010

Fri, Jun 26
Stevie Wonder
2009 Tour
Starlight Theatre
4600 Starlight Drive Kansas City, KS 64132 | 816.363.7827

Sun, Jun 28
Stevie Wonder
2009 Tour
Marcus Amphitheatre
200 N Harbor Dr Milwaukee, WI 53202 | 414.273.2680

Tue, Jun 30
Stevie Wonder
2009 Tour
Montreal Jazz Festival
175 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest Montreal, QC, Canada | 888.515.0515

Please check out my web site to see a full, up-to-date listing of when and where I'm performing. I'd love to see you at one of my performances. Please come say hello!

Just click on one of the links and then click the button that says "SHOWS".

Have a wonderful month! I hope to see you soon!