Friday, December 11, 2009

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Whether you truly believe in the magic of Christmas, or you just like colorful lights and explosions, there is something for everyone at a Trans-Siberian Orchestra performance. I arrived at my seat on the floor last Friday night at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, and took in the crowd as I waited for the show to begin. To my left, a gentleman and his wife, probably in their mid-60s. To my right, my parents, in their 50s. Behind me a couple in their late 30s with their son, probably eight or nine years old.
A little background: Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a hard rock band that plays Christmas music, formed from several members of the Florida-based prog-metal band Savatage.The first half of their performance is a Christmas story about humanity and family around the holidays. It aims to show how we are connected through commonalities and experiences, interwoven through the power of music.
The story is a pleasant one, especially for the season. Lights twinkle behind the band like an authentic night sky, and soap bubbles gently float down from the ceiling, giving the impression of snow.
TSO reaches out to touch your inner caveman with bright pyrotechnics and flame-orange explosions.
The second half of their performance is straight prog-metal, in all of its long hair and glorious excess. Wailing guitars, dramatic vocals, and gyrating women take the stage. Remember the older gentlemen I told you about earlier? As the second half of the show began, I heard him remark to his companion: "Well, this is a bit much, isn't it?" I couldn't help but reply: "This is rock n' roll, there is no such thing as too much".
Personally, I was quite happy with the Christmas portion, and would have enjoyed it as just the traditional music and story combination. The cheesy rock at the end was not a necessary addition. Overall, however, this performance was not just a concert; but an experience.
The concert ended, and I used my well-developed skill of weaving through the masses of people to find the front of the venue with little effort.
It was there that I joined our meet and greet winners and Denise from Live Nation, and escorted them deep into the bowels of the backstage area of the Bank Atlantic Center. The meet and greet took place in a room that is usually set up for post-Panther game press meetings. A podium equipped with a microphone sat atop a riser, with a large Florida Panthers banner draped behind it. There were several rows of chairs facing the podium, but the room is much smaller than you would expect after watching so many of these meetings on television.
Our excited winners shook hands and chatted with the members of TSO as they came in one or two at a time, a very laid back meet and greet. I stood to the side and snapped photos for our website, pausing to shake hands with band members and thank them for the show. After several minutes passed, everyone seemed satisfied with their experience, and we boarded the elevator back to the main lobby. It was a memorable experience for everyone.

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