Vietnamese Autumn Breeze

The Asian invasion was back at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort this weekend with the Vietnamese Autumn Breeze bringing some of the biggest names in Vietnamese entertainment. Most of the show was spoken in Vietnamese, but there was a scattering of English thrown in for good measure.

Due to a pretty cold evening, at least compared to recent nights this week, the audience was somewhat thin. Checking inside, it was obvious that many concertgoers made a last-minute decision to try their luck inside the casino rather than brave the elements outside.

Leyna Nguyen and Trinh Hoi - Click for more images


Kicking off the show were the emcees for the evening, Leyna Nguyen and Trinh Hoi. As in past Asian shows I’ve attended, it was fun trying to figure out what was going on. At one point, Nguyen and Hoi were talking in Vietnamese, and Nguyen started saying “chop chop” and using her fingers as scissors. Hoi paled and the audience was on the floor laughing, so you can only imagine what they were talking about. Once I realized what they were talking about, I think I went pale too.


Truc Linh and Truc Lam - Click for more images



The first artists out of the gate were singing duo Truc Linh and Truc Lam. They brought along with them a small dance troop. The audience was pretty non-responsive through their set, as they were for most of the evening, until the later acts. Linh and Lam are sisters in their mid- to late-20s and got their start in 1992, when they performed for the first time in public for a television program in Saigon.

They sang two songs, “Xin Cho Anh Yeu” and “Bang Bang.”

Huong Thuy - Click for more images

Huong Thuy, a singer from southern Vietnam known for Ca dao and Cai Luong singing, was up next. Thuy appears frequently on the long-running Vietnamese diaspora variety show, “Paris by Night.”

Thuy sang “Ben Song Cho” and “Hop Mat Lan Cuoi.” The audience was a little more upbeat when she first came out but quickly settled down.

Vu Khanh and Y Lan - Click for more images

Vu Khanh, one of the crooners of the night, came out singing “Yeu.” As he started his second song, Y Lan joined him and they sang “Chieu” and “Tram Nho Ngan Thuong.” This was met with quite a bit of applause.

Lan finished off with a solo of “What’s Up,” which she sang in English. She did an awesome job, hitting the high notes spot on. This got a partial standing ovation ““ remember most of these people were freezing.

Tuan Anh - Click for more images


My favorite act of the night was Tuan Anh. She ““ scratch that ““ He came out making a couple of jokes. I have no idea what he was saying, but I was on the floor laughing. This guy is just plain funny with his mannerisms, accents and, of course, his style ““ very comical, but once he started singing, it’s obvious he’s a singer first, comedian second. He sang “Em Lat Tat Ca” and “I Who Have Nothing.”

Trieu Minh hopped on stage and sang “Chi La Di Vang” and “Tinh Yeu Khong Quat Ve.” She sounded great,

Trieu Minh - Click for more images

and at one point she had the dance crew join her onstage.

Bang Kieu was up next singing “Chuyen Tinh Yeu” and “Nang Hoi.” He was a mix between crooner and pop.

Comedian duo Bao Liem and Bao Vy came out to a cool reception, but by the middle of their set they had the audience laughing. It’s at this point I wish I knew what the two were going on about, since I started laughing without knowing why.

The second crooner of the evening was heart throb Quang Dung ““ yes, I said dung. Stop laughing! It’s the guy’s name! So, Dung came out singing “Vi Ngot Doi Moi” and “Vet Thu Tren Lung Nguoi Hoang.” I heard many of the women screaming. I’m thinking they must have sat on a cold chair or something.

Toc Tien - Click for more images



Headlining the evening’s event was Toc Tien. This young lady wanted to be a doctor as she was growing up and still aspires to do so, but her singing career has temporarily sidetracked her. She has a wonderfully soulful sound and definitely got the crowd going. She was the only performer of the evening who really got the entire crowd cheering. She is an awesome performer and earned the right to headline such an event.

As I’ve said before, although I don’t speak Vietnamese, it was interesting to attend a concert where you can’t understand the language. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what language you speak when listening to music. It’s what moves you that counts.

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Asian Invasion at Thunder Valley

Sacramento Concerts

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The Asian invasion continued at Thunder Valley Casino Resort this weekend with the Vietnamese Hot Summer Concert. Some of the biggest names in Vietnamese entertainment were present. Some of the entertainers reside in the United States and cater to the Vietnamese population, so there was some English spoken during the show. I don’t speak a lick of Vietnamese, but I do like good music, so I was in luck.

The MC’s for the night were Nam Loc Nguyen and Bao Chau. In between artists either Nguyen, Chau or both would come out and introduce the next artist. Every time Chau came back on stage, she had a different dress. They were all long, flowing dresses that were quite colorful.

First up was Adam Ho. He came out singing “Hotel California,” and yes, it was in English. His second tune was in Vietnamese. Adam had a lot of energy and really played to the crowd, bouncing back and forth from one side of the stage to the other. At one point, he had a problem with his guitar. It seems he’s not used to using wireless.

Next up was Tam Doan. Doan was born in Vietnam and currently lives in Canada, making numerous trips to California to work on her recording career. She started off with a rumba sounding song entitled, “Can Nha Ngoai O.” Truong Vu joined Doan for her second song, “Mai Lo Hai Minh Xa Nhau.”

Vu did a great job and from what I could tell, he’s a crooner through and through. Much of the audience really enjoyed his song with Doan. After their song together, Doan left the stage and Vu sang “Voc Gac Dem Suong.” Considering the way all the women in the audience were reacting to his smooth vocals, this particular song was a love song.

Khanh Ly, who currently lives in Cerritos, California, came out and sang two songs, the second of which was a duet with Tuan Ngoc, “Nhu Mot Loi Chia Tay.” This was followed by Ngoc singing a solo of “Cry Me a River.”

Things started to pick up when Minh Tuyet started in with a melody that had a great cha-cha feel to it. Unfortunately, she got off to a rocky start. She arrived late and was unable to attend the rehearsal, so she had to work with the band in between songs to ensure they were in the right key. She went on to sing a duet with Luong Tung Quang.
Luong Tung Quang performs at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort (Image by: Randy Miramontez) After Tuyet left the stage, Quang started singing “The Gioi Khong Tinh Yeu.” A group of dancers joined him onstage to finish the song.

Thu Phuong played a steamy set, at least it looked steamy to me. I still hadn’t quite gotten the hang of Vietnamese, but by the way the men were reacting it was steamy. Phuong sang “Bai Tho Khong Doan Ket” and “Tinh Ho.”

Lam Truong performs at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort (Image by: Randy Miramontez) Following Phuong was Lam Truong performing “Tinh Nhu Giac Mong Tan” and “LK Tinh Phai.” Truong was quite the looker with several women shouting out, “I love you.” The performer took it all in stride, but you could tell he was loving it.

Headlining the show was Hong Ngoc, who currently lives in Texas. Performing, “Chuyen Thuong Tinh The Thoi” and “Cho Mot Lan Chia Ly,” it was obvious she is the pop singer of the group. Her set started out slow and then finished fast with her hips doing all the work. She could give Shakira a run for her money; this girl can move.

Although I don’t speak Vietnamese, it was interesting to attend a concert where you can’t understand the language. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what language you speak when listening to music; It’s what moves you that counts.

Thunder Valley Sets off Dyno-Mite!

Concert Photography

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I was heading out to the Super ’70s Soul Jam at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort Thursday night, so I donned my rose-colored glasses, bell bottoms and platform shoes.

I packed snacks like Big Hunk, Bottle Caps and Screaming Yellow Zongers before leaving. I knew I would get the munchies since I’m such a burnout and can’t leave home without a joint or three (hey, I have a prescription). I was just hoping I could maintain with all that groovy music playing. The last thing I needed was for some narc to rat me out. As for the concert, it was far out, man, and, I should add, dyno-mite!

Right on. I get it. Not everyone can be as hip as the hipsters from the ’70s, but last night at Thunder Valley everyone was hip and just hanging out with the likes of the Dramatics, the Stylistics, the Delfonics, Heatwave, Carl Carlton and the emcee for the evening, Jimmy JJ Walker. The audience was grooving in their seats and boogieing in the aisles. I think there were a lot of sick people at the concert, since many of the people in the bleachers had the same prescription as me.

To start the night off, Walker took the stage. Most people remember Walker from his role on “Good Times” as James Evans Junior, or JJ. In fact, Walker coined the term “dyno-mite,” which became slang for great or fantastic.

Walker started right off with black people versus white people and didn’t let up throughout the evening. He attacked the criminal justice system and how black people are convicted and sent to prison while white people such as Casey Anthony and Lindsay Lohan walk. During a brief break, he told the black people to be back in three minutes, but white people to be back in 10. It was all in good fun and the audience loved it.

Carl Carlton was next on stage, singing two of his most recognizable songs, “Everlasting Love” and “She’s a Bad Mama Jama.” Right away people were up dancing in the aisles and having a great time. Carlton complained about the heat, hoping the sun would have gone down by the time he started, but they got an early start at 7:30, so no such luck.

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Lonnie and Brenda Prudhomme dancing the night away at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort. (Image by: Randy Miramontez)

Following Carlton was Heatwave with original lead singer Keith Wilder. They performed a number of their hits, including “Boogie Nights” and “Always and Forever.” When “Always and Forever” started, more couples jumped up to dance, including Lonnie and Brenda Prudhomme (see photo). I think Lonnie was a reluctant participant, but that’s just my opinion.

Wilbert Hart from The Delfronics performs onstage at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort (Image by: Randy Miramontez)

Next up was the Delfonics with founding member Wilbert Hart and longtime member Garfield Fleming. After all these years, they still sounded the same singing their hits “La-La (Means I Love You),” “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” and “Break Your Promise.”

L. J. Reynolds of the Dramatics (Image by: Randy Miramontez)

When the Dramatics took the stage with original band member L.J. Reynolds, they got off to a rocky start. Not all of their songs sounded quite right, but they did hit their stride with “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get” and “My Girl.”

Headlining the show was the Stylistics with original band members Herbert Murrell and Airrion Love. They performed many of their hits, including “Betcha by Golly, Wow,” “I’m Stone in Love with You,” “Break Up to Make Up” and a medley of all their hits, ending the show with “You Make Me Feel Brand New.”

By the end of the show, the crowd had diminished somewhat due to the late hour, but those who remained were still up and dancing all the way to the last song. Everyone had a great time and just got lost in the moment, remembering years gone by.

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The summer concert series at Thunder Valley Casino is in full swing. The complete entertainment schedule is available on their website.

Eric Clapton Arrives . . .

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Finally! Eric Clapton performed (a little late) to a full house Thursday night at the newly renamed Power Balance Pavilion. But it was worth the wait!

Los Lobos began their set just after 7:30 p.m. and played for over an hour due to Clapton’s late arrival. The crowd was mostly calm during the set of Los Lobos, but one could sense the tension building the longer they played. Once Clapton finally arrived on stage with his trademark Stratocaster, the crowd broke into a frenzy.

It was classic Clapton from the moment he stepped onto the stage, starting with “Key to the Highway” and “Going Down Slow.” He performed several acoustic songs, including “Layla,” but the biggest disappointment of the night was that he didn’t perform “Tears In Heaven,” my personal favorite.


Clapton’s set-list:
“Key to the Highway”
“Going Down Slow”
“Hoochie Coochie Man”
“Old Love”
“I Shot the Sheriff”
“Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”
“River Runs Deep”
“Same Old Blues”
“When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful”
“Layla” ““ seated Gibson ES 335
“Wonderful Tonight”
“Before You Accuse Me”
“Little Queen of Spades”
“Further on up the Road”

Clapton was accompanied by Willie Weeks on bass, Chris Stainton and Tim Carmon on keyboards, Steve Gadd on drums, and Sharon White and Michelle John on vocals.

A strange thing happened to me on the way to the concert. As I was driving to the Power Balance Pavilion, formerly known as Arco Arena, I heard Sacramento Press Editor in Chief David Watts Barton talking about some guy named Clapton on KFBK. OMG! I was on my way to see the very same guy for the Sac Press! How strange is that? Barton was talking about how Clapton was the first act at the Sacramento Sports Arena (sometimes referred to as the Original Arco Arena), the Arco Arena, and now the Power Balance Pavilion. At least that’s what I thought I heard since I only caught the tail end of the conversation. By the way, David, you give good radio.

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