This week I’ve been on “Staycation”, the highlight of which was attending a concert by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Monday evening. Haven’t heard of them, you say? Well yes, you probably have, you just don’t know it. For the last four years this video has been circulating on the Internet showing Christmas lights synchronized to the music of TSO’s (now) most famous piece, “Wizards in Winter”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK1O5pkDniA It’s 3 minutes long, but the finale is worth it.
How to describe TSO? Music critiquery is not my forte (although I can make up words with the best of them), but I’ll give it a mighty try. They’re a rock orchestra, and they do a lot of…Christmas music. If you’ve never heard O Holy Night with screaming, blazing rock guitars, you haven’t lived. As hard as that is to imagine, they pull it off and pull it off well. In addition to traditional Christmas songs, recognizable classical music is woven in. There are dancing girls, with a lot of disco-style hair-flipping going on. As creative as their music is, the light show is just as important. Reportedly it takes 15 hours to set up the light show, which includes synchronized spots, lasers, smoke, and pyrotechnics. A lot of strobing, so don’t go if you’re prone to seizures. I couldn’t help but think during the show that a certain kind of person might enjoy it under the influence of mood-altering substances. Not me–I prefer my mood-altering experiences straight up. Or mostly. I did have a glass of wine.
Going to a concert, however, is not just about the music and the light show. It’s like a living sociological experiment. If you’re attuned to it, you’ll hear the most amazing snippets of conversation and observe behaviors that are completely mystifying. Not to mention the fashion-trashing opportunities. As in, “Dude! It’s 34 degrees outside–why are you wearing flip-flops?” This concert was particularly fertile, since there was such an age range, all the way from me (58) to mostly college-aged folks I’m guessing were in the 18 to 21 year-old range. I can’t be sure of that–everyone in college looks 12 years old to me. But I’m an equal-opportunity fashion-basher: to the gray-haired lady in Row J, next time please flatten that beehive hairdo before you come to a concert. And don’t let me catch you at the movies.
But the highlight was the young woman four seats to my left. Just before the concert was scheduled to begin, she pulled out an entire pack of orange, disposable foam earplugs. “Psst”, I said to my sister, who was closer, “Ask her if I can buy a pair.” The young woman gave me a pair free of charge, but apropos of nothing, told my sister, “I bought these for my parents.” So picture Fakename having the following imaginary conversation with Earplug Girl:
Fakename: Of course you bought these for your parents! No way you would be so uncool as to try to protect your hearing at your age! I mean–that would be like, I don’t know–wearing sunscreen at the beach!
When I was her age, did I wear earplugs at rock concerts? Are you crazy? Orange is just not my color, and doesn’t really match any of my earrings.