Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

A Value Of Music

I am still dealing with horrible grief in the loss of our beloved golden retriever, Pollo two days ago. It is unbelievable the amount of memories that I have of him not only in my heart, but in every inch of our house, there he was. So, as I try to reverse this pain that I feel inside, I look to something that has always gotten me through other difficult times in my life, music.

I am a third generation vocalist/musician, with my daughters appearing to be the fourth generation, yay!!! My interest developed at a very young age of five and over my scholastic ages, developed quite nicely. As an adult, I took advantage of several opportunities and diversified my interests into radio and other disc jockeying avenues. Of course, when it comes to music trivia, I am usually a go-to person when someone needs help with a band, title, or lyric.

I can never get enough of great live performances. My list of bands that I have not gotten to see but are still on my list, has grown shorter, while bands that I have seen repeatedly, have taken the back seat. What is amazing is that bands that I have seen even this late in my life can still play like they did with their original recordings… Journey, Foreigner, and the Eagles. Bands who have reunited after years apart like Asia, and bands that rebuild every so many years like Chicago, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Bon Jovi, and Bad Company still sound as good as their original lineups. A lot of new bands have been added to my must-see list such as Foo Fighters, Green Day, and Nickelback.

But this time of year, a strange phenomenon takes over my Ipod and car stereo. From Thanksgiving until December 26th, I allow Christmas music to be played in my car. I like most Christmas music, traditional and contemporary. I just do not care for the agony of repeat that radio stations feel the need to inflict on our eardrums. There is more than enough renditions of “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree” and “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” without playing the same version time and time again. Although, I would prefer if artists leave Mariah Carey’s song “All I Want For Christmas Is You” alone.

If you are with me during this season, what you are most likely to hear, is Christmas Rock at its finest, the Trans Siberian Orchestra. This annual band, who many years ago found a way to have an impact year round with the recording of their Beethoven’s Last Night CD and recently their Night Castle CD, offers a unique combination to please the ears of all generations from small children to grandparents, while still satisfying my eardrum-pounding needs. What started out as a heavy metal rock band has transformed through a collaborative process into a magical orchestra reaching generations of all ages.

Many became familiar with TSO during the Christmas holidays years ago with their song “Christmas Eve in Sarjevo 12/14”, a new arrangement of the traditional “Carol Of the Bells.” Radio stations picked up on the popularity of this song, and next thing you know TSO started to tour. The first time I saw them was at the Tower Theater. I have seen them more than a dozen times, each Christmas season, and twice to see their performance of their rock opera “Beethoven’s Last Night.” Seeing them perform was a tradition to me. Every year brought more and more pyrotechnics and lasers and other visual effects with unbelievable axe grinding/.

The neat thing about TSO is that due to their popularity, they actually run two separate tours as their concert revenue generating ability is limited to just a couple months of the year. So, the band actually has what is referred to as an “east” coast and “west” coast touring orchestra with members split between the core Trans Siberian Orchestra. No one ever leaves their concerts feeling as if they had not gotten their money’ worth.

Last year, I broke my streak of times that I had seen TSO perform, and this year did not bode well for me to see them again. There are now tribute bands to TSO like the Wizards Of Winter, and Twelve Twenty-four. While not up to the scale of the original, they still put on a great show.

But in a time of year that has been traditionally difficult for me, the Trans Siberian Orchestra has always given me a raucous distraction and helped me focus on the joyous seasons that awaits each year.

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