Monday, November 22, 2010

A Tale of Two Concerts: Part Two, Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Connecticut

Two weeks to the day after I had gone up to Massachusetts to attend the Hot Rize bluegrass concert that I wrote about in yesterday's post, I had the chance to go another concert - this one a lot closer as it was being held at the Mohegan Sun Casino Arena.  My Mom had picked up tickets for Jamie and I to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra - a group that I had been wanting to take Jamie to go see for years!

Believe it or not, I'm not going to get into the history of the band (gasp!) as you can read all of that in my post from November 13th, 2007 when I took Amanda to go see the same group at the same venue. Prior to that we had seen them once before when TSO performed in Worcester, Massachusetts in December of 2006.   Both times that Amanda and I attended a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, the only thing missing was Jamie as the timing had never been right so it was always my hope to take her to see them at some point in time.  I was quite happy to see that they were returning to do a performance at the Mohegan Sun Arena (they'd skipped it the past few years) and it was even on one of my nights off, too!

I guess it was fate so I asked my Mom if she'd pick up tickets for me her next trip down to the casino.  I don't get there too often as they fail to send me enticing offers in the mail but my mom gets "free slot play" quite frequently so I figured she'd get there long before I would.  She was and she got the best available tickets that were left (the show definitely sells out) which were kinda-sorta in the upper reaches of the arena.  Considering my mom refused to take any money for the tickets I sure the heck wasn't going to complain and I figured that TSO puts on one heck of a show and if you don't see it even from the nosebleed section, you've got your eyes closed!

Jamie & Christmas Decorations at the Mohegan SunWith the concert set to start at 8:00, Jamie and I got to the Sun early enough to have a nice dinner at Big Bubba's where they serve up a very tasty BBQ pulled pork sandwich amongst other tasty delights.  I had originally wanted to go to Bobby Flay's Burger Palace and have a Crunchburger (a to-die-for cheeseburger with potato chips!) but Jamie had her heart set on BBQ and the line at Bobby Flay's convinced me that the kid had a point and maybe BBQ wouldn't be bad after all!   It looked like not only was the vast majority of southeastern Connecticut going to the concert but they were eating out first!

While we were at dinner, I sent a text to my friend Frank who works as a Fire Inspector for the Mohegan Tribal Fire Department to let him know we were there.  Frank was working the concert and had said that he would see what he could do about getting me better seats as the stairs are quite steep in the section we were in and he figured my back would much prefer something a little lower.  I tend to forget that I have a bad back until I'm in the middle of doing something that perhaps I shouldn't be doing and it was nice of Frank to think of that. This getting old and feeble stuff is for the birds, I tell ya!

Where our seats WEREAfter we finished dinner, we made our way to the arena and barely got 20 steps into the place when Jamie spied the merch stand. I've taken Amanda to enough concerts to know what that means - "Mom, can I get something??" - so I handed Jamie some cash and told her to pick something out while I waited for Frank to arrive.  He showed up a few moments later and traded my tickets in the upper level of the arena for tickets that not only were in the lower arena but darned close to the floor of the arena!

Jamie, who was busy buying herself a knit cap with an official TSO logo on it, didn't know any of this so as we walked with Frank in the direction of our seats, she mentioned that we had passed the section we were sitting in.  I told her that no, we were being upgraded to better seats and she looked over at Frank and said, "I know I just met you but I love you!" She loved him even more when we finally got to our seats:

View to the stage

Okay, so there are definitely some perks to being old and feeble after all! While we were waiting for the show to start, Jamie called her grandmother to say thank you again for the tickets and to tell her how close to the stage we were. My Mom asked how that had happened and Jamie replied, "Mom knows people ... and she has a bad back!"  Sigh ...

Turns out that there were a couple of other people from work at the show with one of them being one of the paramedics that I work with who had bought front row seats for his wife for her birthday.  Very impressive!  I think some of the stage fog probably rolled down on him a time or two and no doubt his wife loved her present!

My friend Andrew, another paramedic, had seen the show a couple of weeks ago when they performed in Hartford and he told me that the band had changed the show up a little bit but that it was still really good so I sat back and waited to be entertained.  There was a "no photography or video taping" warning so I didn't bring my Nikon with me but Jamie had brought her small point-and-shoot camera - as had lots of people around us - and she managed to get a few halfway decent shots:

The Christmas portion of the show


Long-haired classical rockers

TSO Guitarist

Rocking Out

Playing to the crowd

Jamie even managed to get a tiny snippet of video before she was told by the female security officer near us to not do that.  It gives you a little idea of the light show that the band employs; I'm pretty sure that people who are subject to seizure disorders should not go to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert!

As you can see, there was a lot of long hair that was flying all over the place but that's one of the things that makes the Trans-Siberian Orchestra unique - they perform classical music with a rock-band twist and they do it really, really well! If you aren't bobbing your head or clapping your hands or tapping your feet during one of their shows, there's truly something wrong with you in my own humble opinion. And you need not be young to enjoy TSO as the vast majority of people there were probably my age or older. Just probably most of them don't suffer from bad backs. Sigh.

Violinist Above UsAt one point TSO performed a number where two rather long catwalks were lowered down over the audience and the band members took turns going out on it to perform - something that I wasn't too surprised about as I had thought that part of the stage that stretched out over the audience looked suspiciously like something one could perform on.

As it turned out, one of the platforms was almost directly over our heads and I managed to grab a quick shot of electric violinst Roddy Chong as he leaned over the railing above. This was taken with my iPhone so is not the best quality but that security officer was standing quite close by and I didn't want to risk pulling Jamie's camera out again for fear she might just take it away this time.  Not that everyone and their brother weren't taking pictures but I try to adhere to the rules as much as I can.

After about three hours of just about non-stop high-energy, head-banging, laser-shooting, fireworks-popping, mind-blowing performing, the band finally wrapped up the show with everyone in the arena on their feet and cheering loudly.

The band takes a bow

Taking their bows

As is their norm following a performance, the band was going to be available for autographs following the show but it looked like the entire crowd in the arena was going to go out and stand in line so we had to pass as it was already after 11:00 and I needed to be back at work at 7:00 in the morning. As Jamie vowed that next time we'd stay for autographs, I was reminded of her sister and that same vow that she had made back in 2006 when we saw TSO for the first time and which came true in 2007. So ... guess where I may be next year??

All in all, Jamie and I had a wonderful evening out and she really enjoyed the concert just like I always thought she would.  Oh, and may I just state that I think that Jeff Plate is unequivocally one of the best drummers in the business - he deserved a standing ovation all his own for the performance he put on!  If you haven't seen Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert I highly, highly recommend you do next time they're in your area - you won't be sorry!


  1. Nice upgrade! Wow... 3 hours? That's really a long concert. I'd be exhausted. I can just imagine how tired the band must be and yet they stay to do autographs. That's really extraordinary!

    However, I believe I'll stick to TSO's CDs. I went to see Blue Man Group once and it was... how shall I put it... THE worst concert I've ever attended AND THE worst date I've ever had. That much percussion + laser/light show = migraine from hell for me. And I won't even tell you about the date part.

  2. sounds like a blast! oh, I think I made a joke!

    smiles, bee

  3. Anonymous2:45 PM EST

    Looks like y'all had an awesome time. Loving the upgrade! how wonderful!

  4. What incredible seats! Who would have wanted to trade those for the original seats you had?

  5. Thanks for posting the mini-concert for us not privileged to be there. Boy, is that high energy! I know Jamie loved it. Lucky gals.

    Big hugs, honey...

  6. And you should get the blog into the hands of their management or you are missing a good opportunity.

    This is just the sort of "word of mouth" concert tours really need.

  7. We had a chance to see them a couple of years ago, but we passed. I don't remember why, but it was definitely a mistake.

  8. I love this group and usually wait 'til I'm alone and crank the CD up w-a-y loud! I would love to see them live. I like high-energy shows like this. You got some fantastic photos (what's new!!!) and I think Jamie's got a great idea. Be sure to check out Comedy Plus' blog for yesterday's post - "Random Act of Culture." Fantastic!

  9. Should've read the complete post before I commented - I now realize that it wasn't your Nikon but darn, those are still some pretty good photos!!!

  10. We caught TSO last year just before Christmas... GREAT SHOW!!

    Glad it was a good time for ya!


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