About a month or so ago, Randy approached me with this contest radio station 93 Rock was having. The prizes were 2 tickets to see this thing called the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. We didn't win the tickets, but after reading up on them and downloading a few tunes from Limewire (they played with Metallica, Dead Can Dance, and the like) we kinda dug them and decided to spring for the tickets and asked my mom if she could watch Dante for a few hours. We figured we'd be seeing and hearing a rock opera of a sort, mixing classical with modern, maybe even some cool covers, hang out with a cool crowd and maybe find a new band to check out from time to time.
We were off. WAAAAY off. Ok, maybe not WAAAAY off with 4 A's, but WAY off.
First and foremost, what ever happened to people "dressing" for the theater? I grew up with the tradition that if you were going on an outing, say a museum or exhibition or a concert or play, you would dress for the occasion. I mean, I'm not talking diamonds and Chanel, but something that, at least, does not resemble your sleepwear from the night before! I'm not just talking about this venture to the theater. Last year Randy and I saw the musical Wicked in Fort Lauderdale and STOMP!. For both these occasions, we "dressed" for an evening out at the theater. Meaning, me in a cocktail dress and heels and Randy in nice slacks and a polo. Still casually cool yet not looking like we just came from mowing the lawn. Still, though people were showing up in tank tops and shorts. It's the theater people!!!! And it's not just South Florida. I remember in New York, my day trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art would always end up with me being disgusted by some fat slob admiring a Bruegel with a "Big Johnson" T-Shirt on and flip flops! Is it me? Is this something archaic that I just keep doing in hopes it will resurface? Half the fun of an evening out at the theater is breaking out that dress that you only wear for "special occasions". Although, these days I don't get out much so a "special occasion" could just be a trip to the gas station to fill up the car.
Anyhow, that was our pet peeve last night. Randy and I kept playing spot the "thanks for dressing for the event" game and I think the best one we found was the girl wearing a pair of shorts so short that we could all have qualified as her gynecologist, with a matching tank top and set of fake boobs that would make Mark Foley even cringe.
Ok, on to the show. Unbeknownst to both Randy and me, the entire first half of the concert was Christmas songs. Ok, Christmas songs. I have nothing against Christmas. Christmas is fun. I realize that Jesus is involved in Christmas songs and therefore have no problem listening to god and Jesus when it comes to Christmas music. So play the Christmas music and get on with it. Um, no. They had a narrator come out every so often and tell a story about and angel and the lord and love and praying and some father missing his daughter and..........oy vey enough already. My eyes were getting stuck from rolling so many times. If anyone is familiar with the Yiddish word, "shmalts", that's what it was. It was "shmaltsy". In its "shmaltsiest" form. Seriously, at one point I thought Randy and I were at a Christian rock concert and didn't realize it. Also, when the narrator came out he began this "shmaltsfest" in this like 1980s Vincent Price-ish raspy heavy metal Jack Black parody type of voice. I thought it was a joke and started to giggle, thinking back on groups like Man-o-war and Testament who always had some hardcore "metal" story to back up their songs. But, lo, my giggle was presumptive as this was not supposed to be a joke. It was SERIOUS. To which I giggled even more.
Then, the cock rock began. Picture every cheesy 80's metal concert anthem, stereotype, laser show, guitar riff, guitar solo, guitar posturing (i.e. let's fuck the guitar onstage cuz it's hot), head banging, hair flipping, lights and pyrotechnics. Then add a bunch of 40-somethings doing said things NOT in spandex, but in tuxedos. Add feathered hair and Jersey accents and there you go. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I thought I had stepped back in time to some weird Bon Jovi meets Van Halen meets Europe (remember them?) meets Ratt meets Iron Maiden meets Jesus meets Christmas meets Beethoven...I could go on. I mean, for the first half of this event, we were listening to some narrator ramble on about the lord in our prayers and then get bombarded with God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen in the style of Cannibal Corpse. Or better yet, the guitar "solo" of Good King Wenceslassaelslaewhatever reminded me of Van Halen's "Panama". Don't get me wrong, these guys were incredible musicians, but it was odd. Especially the first violinist. She head banged while playing. Seriously. And while she "rested", she held aloft her bow as if she were He-Man summoning the powers of Greyskull. Then BAM, she'd be back to rocking out metal on her violin, hair flipping and all. I mean, was she channeling Quiet Riot? Oh and by the way, she wasn't seated as at a regular orchestra. No, everyone just tramped around the stage posturing and "rocking out" on their little pedestals. Running across the stage, getting on their knees for the big solo, holding their bows aloft (again and again), sticking their crotches out. If it was supposed to be a joke, it would have been fantastic. Kinda like Spinal Tap or Hayseed Dixie or Satanicide (all hysterical "bands"). But these people were serious. GODLY serious.
The second half of the concert was more what Randy and I had hoped it would be, taking classical music and revamping it, for lack of a better term as I don't think classical music needs to be revamped, with electric guitars and such. Some Meatloaf wanna be guy came out and did Layla (which I think is a requirement now to be considered a band) and then they went off and did some Led Zeppelin (again, a requirement). When it was time for Mozart and the "opera" singer came out, you may as well have given her a stripper pole. In between her *ahem* singing, we had hair tossing, FEATHERED hair tossing mind you, Lita Ford-ish humping, hip swaying and booby jiggling. Ok, I can appreciate trying to bring classical music to the masses by adding a rock feel to it, but um, even Randy was like, "What the fuck is this bimbo doing and can some one buy this poor starving woman a cheeseburger and some clothes"? Then it was on to some dueling pianos, which mixed the classical style of one musician to the more modern jazz piano styles of the other (my favorite part of the evening), and finally ending with a GIANT laser light and pyrotechnics spectacular that would make any 80s arena band (think Asia, Boston, Journey, Def Leppard) wet their pants.
I dunno. I can't say I hated it. I can't say I liked it. I think it is geared more toward the uninitiated. Meaning, the classical music uninitiated. Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" are glorious as they are to me, but may not appeal to one who didn't grow up with classical music. By incorporating rock and modern remixes to such pieces, maybe that person will say, "Hm I wonder what the original sounds like" and find a liking to it. Who knows? I just wonder where featherd hair fits into all of this.