The Trans Siberian Orchestra (TSO)

by | Dec 27, 2014 | Shahnaz Blog (Previously They Throw Rocks)

Am I old?  Or am I old?  I don’t know.  When I was offered 2 tickets to the TSO, I thought, “orchestra!  Yay!”  So, I thought.  When I think of an orchestra, I was thinking in terms of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra or perhaps the Boston Symphony Pops.  No, I did not think ‘concert’.  Should I have?  My husband told me that the show would not be like a traditional orchestra.  He said that it would be altered.  He didn’t know either, that altered really meant, completely twisted upside down, with the elimination of clear musical sounds.  It basically meant loud electric guitars, drums (no offense to the instrument), high amps of sound and what you get is just that – loud sounds.  The musical element was missing.
I personally feel old because the loud concert sound seems like a generational thing.  A generation with a screaming mess in their heads and this is how they express it.  They can’t discern what the issue is.  They just want to express the bombs going off in their heads in the form of music and that’s what a concert essentially is.  Again, I’m old because I long for the olden days when music was better and I’m sure this generation will long for the days of the TSO when they would think this music was infinity better than what would be playing at that time.  I don’t even want to go there.  May the Lord spare me from the concerts of the future!
Anyway, back to this post.  I’ve been learning to play the violin for several years now and I’m horrible at it.  The instrument however is something I understand.  I know what it takes to make a sound and I know how hard it is to play certain pieces and more importantly I do recognize and love the sound of the violin.  Well, they had one woman playing the electric violin.  I have heard a live electric violin before and when played tastefully it sounds brilliant.  This was not that.  This was myself, trying really hard to discern the sound of my favorite instrument and match it with the player.  How could I when every sound was blasting so loudly from every corner?  Which was which instrument?
A bit off track, but there’s a couple of reasons for this, I will talk about my experience in playing with the Town and Country Symphony Orchestra here in my neighborhood.  In my attempts to become a better player I joined this orchestra and I played second violin.  I wasn’t very good and my schedule was just too tight for me to continue, but I played a whole season with them.  One of the musical pieces we played was the L’ Arlesienne suite (don’t recall the spelling).  If you’ve heard this piece of music, it’s spectacular when played by an orchestra.  When you heard the TSO play it, you know how to take the most charming orchestral pieces and ruin it.  I recognized the music and I’ll give them that much credit but by amping it up so much and adding all the other unnecessary instruments and clouding the melody, I was disappointed.  I guess, I’ve never been one for remakes of originals, so this was not my cup of tea.  Although, I feel myself craving the need to hear the original L’Arlesienne suite again!
I know I’ve been dissing this concert I went to, but I’m not completely right.  I enjoyed about 20% of their concert.  When I realized it was a concert, I could sit back and wait for moments that I could connect with.  What  did I enjoy?  There were some slow songs there not riddled with a million instruments, and you could make out the words and the emotions of the songs and that was nice.  What else?  The story in the form of letters was very sweet.  The piano piece at the end was very good.  I did feel it was a bit loud but it was brilliant.
I must mention the spectacular lights and the controlled fires they had going.  If you had a fountain, and you controlled where the water went, except this wasn’t water but fire, then you would see what we saw.  Gas burners suddenly light up and shoot a flame across and then the flame almost dives into the air and disappears.  There were several at one time and that was truly wonderful.  I wish they didn’t have as much loud music to accompany it.  I wish they had just enough to enhance the special effect.
They had laser lights going all over.  The light show element of it was very good.
That made 2 concerts this year.  Both were not on my original agenda, but I just happened to get invited to them.  I think I’m a bit too old for concerts.  I feel bad for the original people who were supposed to go who couldn’t make it.  They might have enjoyed it a lot more, but as for me, I will stick to musicals and theatre and live shows, rather than head banging, screaming concerts.


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