Monday, December 07, 2009

Nobody cries at a TSO concert

We saw the Trans Siberian Orchestra with the kids this afternoon. The first part of the concert was an extended song/story, interspersed with Christmas classics and original pieces, that told the story of an angel, a lonely man, and his daughter far from home on Christmas Eve. Through the intervention of the angel and the kindness of strangers, she's able to go home on Christmas Day.

TSO is really an orchestra, but it's an orchestra with rock-and-roll trappings, including smoke, flames, lasers, and lots of head-banging from the two lead violinists. They play classical pieces with hard rock beats and arrangements, and they shamelessly rewrote or supplied lyrics to a good half-dozen of the carols they played in nicely chosen mash-ups. ("The Holly and the Ivy" was particularly well done. Here's Christmas Eve/Sarajevo, a reworking of "Carol of the Bells" that is probably their most well-recognized piece.)

I liked the long set, with its prog-rock pretentious narration, even though the strutting and posing made me want to laugh, and parts of it were just exhausting. But the end of the sequence -- the payoff of the daughter coming home -- killed me. I wondered if the tightness in my throat would let up before I broke down sobbing. I thought about going to get a drink to help me compose myself.

The kids weren't paying attention to me, though, and eventually I got a grip. I wondered why I had such a strong reaction. Yes, I am a sap for Christmas music, but this was more than that. It took me a while to realize what it was.

As much as I love Advent and the coming of Christmas, I always have trouble around this day.

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