Friday, December 04, 2009

Grinching TSO

This is going to be a bunch of bitching, but it gets nicer at the end.

So last night we went to the Trans Siberian Orchestra Christmas concert at the Honda Center in Anaheim. I guess it's where the Ducks play, but I've never been there for any reason in the past. I shall never go there again, since even Cindy can't fit comfortably in the seats. You can imagine how ridiculous it was for me. Imagine the middle seat on an airplane if there were a wall where you typically put your feet under the seat in front of you. It's actually painful to sit there.

The concert started late, and they quickly informed us to stay until the end for a special treat that would only be happening in LA. I was wondering why they'd need to encourage people to stay when the show started.

For over an hour they played crappy Christmas music interspersed with someone telling a boring story about a bar and vodka in rhymed verse. By rhymed verse I mean that someone swapped out words from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and used the same meter. Instead of whoville we have a bar, too bad the writer wasn't hit by a car.

Anyhow, this all pretty much sucked with perhaps one decent song. I'm typically amazed at live music performances, since it's something that I can't do. Not this time, as at least half of the parts could be learned by a 10 year old in a week - assuming that they hadn't ever played before. A few hours if they had any experience at all. The hardest thing for them to learn would be the incessant head-banging/hair twirling that seemed to be the primary job requirement. Think "The Exorcist," but the heads spin more quickly, and the vomit is coming out of the instruments (except in the case of the singers).

But the simplicity and spinning heads of it wasn't the worst part. That's reserved for the constant applause whoring that the performers were carrying out. They'd randomly hold crappy notes for way too long and then do the "gimme some cheers" hand gesture to get people to acknowledge their misplaced feat. Even if they were as good as they seemed to think they were, I would have still been annoyed after an hour of that crap. Sustains that weren't meant to be are more annoying than a screaming baby.

So this stuff finally ends. Hardly anyone actually walked out yet, and they decided to have a sort of awards show for the members of the group. "Let's have a round of applause for the Orson Welles, nay James Earl Jones of our generation, the guy who wouldn't shut the fuck up between the songs!" And the crowd roared. And they roared for all of the performers in due time as they were so slowly announced.

So after this mini ceremony, the show actually got decent. Not great, but at least listenable. They played some new non-christmas stuff that sounded neat, and then played the famous songs that they're known for. There was far less speaking and singing during this "better" part of the show. If you ever buy one of their CDs to hear one of the neat songs (like Wizards in Winter, or something) and hear some random crappy singing on a track after or before the one you're wanting to listen to, realize that that is most of their music and that the cool songs are the outliers.

So anyhow, after a while of this better concert the owner comes out and says that our treat is ready for us. By now at least 10% of the people had walked out in disgust, so they missed out on the best part of the evening. Joe Walsh was there to play a few songs (obviously "Life's Been Good to Me So Far" or whatever it's called). He was definitely the best performer (despite being 62 or so) and I had more fun in his 15-20 minutes than in the rest of the concert combined. I felt that in a way I got my money's worth since he did so well.

Walking out, we heard others echoing our sentiments that the show definitely got better as the night went on, but it was about an hour and a half too long - the first hour and a half. As was told to Amadeus in the 1984 Best Picture of the same name: "Too many notes. Cut a few and it'll be perfect."

"Which few, your majesty?"

"The first 15,934."

But there was one man who loved the show, and he was sitting directly to my right. He was clapping in time with the music, and at one point he and I shared a moment together as only we were clapping. Later, he began slapping his hand against the cup holder to let us know how much he still liked it. Note that the cup holder is connected to the arm rest, and the arm rest is connected to his chair, and every fucking chair is connected to every other chair in the row. I looked at Cindy as we were shaken by quarter notes at 140bpm and she whispered "just let him have fun and enjoy it" to me while smiling at the atrocity we were stuck witnessing.

The only show that I liked less than this one so far in my life was some crappy art show in Laguna where actors posed to reenact famous paintings. By famous, I mean that if you looked them up you could figure out what they are but you'd never have heard of them otherwise. That's how famous these were.

Cindy is going to be concentrating more on the absurd "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing" dramatic reading (I can't call it a song) that one of the singers chose to attack our ears and sensibilities with.


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