December 2006


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It’s Official-

I can now say “Merry Christmas!”

No, this is not in response to some local stupidity involving the PC-ness of the phrase, it’s because I have been to the yearly Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert.

They came to Portland last Thursday, and it was just as good as in years previous, despite some notable changes in the line-up. Jill Gioia wasn’t with them this year due to her own projects, and there were a couple other changes.

Most noticeable was Jill’s replacement Steve Broderick – a talented individual, but it was weird hearing Jill’s numbers from a male voice.

Tickling, mashing and all-around wringing of the ivories was accomplished by another new addition – Derek Wieland. (He replaced Jane Mangini’s former sparring partner.) A Juliard-Master’s of Music-holding virtuoso who has performed for heads of State and nobility, playing against a gal who, in Al Pitrelli’s own words, “has played for every drunk in North America.” And I can’t decide which of them is better. I lean toward Jane, because (from what I’ve heard so far) she has a better grip on Jazz and the Blues. Sometimes a higher education doesn’t teach you everything. It’s a close race.

The Best Parts:
-A story that makes me cry every year, and I don’t feel embarrassed because 9000 other people are crying too.
-A light show that gets bigger and better every year. The entire light rig moves and re-configures itself through different parts of the show, and Al takes a childlike glee in showing it off :) He gives a shout out to the 65-man crew that runs the thing, and then says “You want to see what happens when those 65 guys set off all this stuff at once? Watch this!” With a cackle, and then they launch into the finale.
The Carmina Burana live, with fire-laden stage show. Arguably one of the most powerful pieces of music ever written.

The Bummer Parts:
-No Jill :(
-They introduced Kristin Gorman as their “Queen of the Winter Night” but didn’t let her sing the song. The live version is ten times better than any recorded release, because then you get to see her stalking about the stage and throwing that pitch-perfect voice around like a guitar.
-They still haven’t released a recording of the Carmina!!

Small bummers aside, this is still one of the only concerts I am willing to spend money on. I don’t dig on huge crowds, it hurts my knees to sit in cramped arena seats for almost three hours, and I’m half-deaf for a day afterward. But DAMN these people rock!!

If you have never seen this production, you must get tickets next year.

2 replies to “It’s Official-”

  1. BTfNG Says:

    Just to be a pain in the A** the song that TSO does is called O’ Fortuna the Carmina is the entire score. BTW just to make up for me being an a**, here:

    See, your not the only one who calls it by the wrong name :-D Anyhow, have fun and BTW you can now buy pics off my photog site… case you can’t find that perfect gift :-D


  2. Impact Says:

    I went to TSO here in Reno… Instead of saying “Every drunk in North America” they said “Every Freebird-Yelling drunk”. This may have had something to do with me yelling “Freebird!!” in an acoustically perfect auditorium as every other audience member was taking a breath…. Al heard it up on stage and worked it into his speal as he was trying not to laugh.

    At least they weren’t playing “Sweet Caroline”