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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning


"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

trans-siberian orchestra

Jingle Bell Rock: Well, if it's the holiday season in SmAlbany, that can only mean one thing - endless radio commericals for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra! I've always been puzzled by the TSO, for a few reasons:

#1) I still don't know if they are more a Christmas band or more a rock band: it's absolutely amazing how ambiguous this fact is kept. Let's see: they always come here at Christmas. But they don't play a ton of famous Christmas songs. But all their albums and songs are named after Christmas themes. But their bio never mentions the holidays. But their concert schedule is restricted to the holiday season. But the radio ad sounds like a promotion for a Zeppelin show. Honestly, I'm stumped. The radio spots make it seem like The Who's Tommy meets the Melodies of Christmas. Not that that sounds bad. And I'm not against rock stars singing Christmas carols. Heck, I love this album.

#2) How on earth do they require two shows at the Pepsi Arena: That's just startling. Especially since I've never met anyone who's gone to the concert. I mean, when you think of people who can command two shows at the Pepsi, it's like Springsteen, Phish, Billy Joel, and maybe U2. Oh, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. How come they're not uber-famous in pop-culture? It's like the Beatles coming to America, selling out Shea stadium, and no one talking about it. Ten years in a row. Wierd. Or is Albany just strange? Maybe the TSO plays in front of like 40 people in other cities. Tickets available here.

#3) If they are more a Christmas band, how does SmAlbany land them every year right at Christmas: this year they are coming for two shows on December 26th. Shouldn't those show be at like Madison Square Garden, or maybe the Carrier Dome, given TSO's apparent popularity. And doesn't the fact that they come here on December 26th make it even more unbelievable that they do two shows? I don't know about you, but I'm pretty busy with my family the day after Christmas. Just unreal.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking the TSO. In fact, I'd like to go check out a concert. I almost certainly won't (see #3 above), but I get more curious each passing year. If anyone has seen them, please fill us in with a comment. I'd love to know the real deal on the TSO - who's at the concerts, what's the music like, is it more rock, is it more opera, is it more christmas carols?
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At 1:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

IS TSO anything like Manheim Steamroller? Discuss.    



At 6:51 PM , Blogger Miss Muffet said:

I went to go see TSO two years ago, because my sister won front-row seats from a radio station and couldn't go herself. Well, the "front row" seats were folding metal chairs, and even though the music was pretty cool at first, it got repetitive and boring after a while. So afte about 45 minutes of watching the show, we left.. I definitely don't know if I would ever shell out money to see them again, although I have a feeling the nosebleed seats may have actually been more comfortable.    



At 7:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

My experience was very similar to Miss Muffets'. I went a couple of years ago with a friend who had free tickets. The memebers of TSO are all very talented. The music is beautiful and christmasy. Christmasy in a festive hallmark way, not religious. However it did become very boring and I left after about an hour. I am happy I had the opportunity to see and hear them. But I am happy I did not pay to go and I would definately not pay to see them again.    



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