Killer asked me to take a crew to Mellon Arena for a concert yesterday. It was a group of 8 from Bellaire, 2 of which I knew. When he informed me of the show time (3pm), I was a tad bewildered. Who the fuck starts a concert at 3 in the afternoon. I quickly found out the name of the "band" - Trans Siberian Orchestra. Trust me, this is not a group from Siberia.
Back in the late 1980's, I saw a band called Savatage open for Megadeth at the South Hills Theater. All in all, Savatage was a relatively crappy heavy metal band. If they were the main act, they might have been able to sell a couple hundred tickets. I guess the lead guitarist had grander ambitions in life. He came up with an idea for what might be considered one of the biggest spectacles on the arena circuit. Rather than play horrible songs like "Hall of the Mountain King," he opted for a different approach. He, and his band, would be backed by a small orchestra and they would play "metalized" versions of Christmas songs. Throw in a dazzling light show and hardcore pyrothechnic display and Voila - "Trans-Siberian Orchestra".
They would actually be playing 2 shows that day (a 3pm and a 7pm) - both were totally soldout. Let's see, average ticket price of 40 bucks. 16,000 capacity x 2 = 32,000. Congratulations - you just grossed 1.3 million. That's not even taking into account merchandise sales. And they had all kinds of clothing and trinkets. What a fucking racket! The beauty of this production was the crowd. Good Christians with their pocketbooks, of ALL ages, looking for a little holiday cheer. The show started a little late because of all the traffic with the Steelers game. No problem though, the crowd quietly shuffled in like animals boarding Noah's ark. No need for security, although I did see a girl throw up. But then I realized that she was somewhat handicapped/mildly retarded.
Anyway, the show was pretty entertaining - if you don't get out of the house that much. Way over the top. I was mildly impressed but chose to bolt near the end of the first segment. I decided to go hang out with a couple of the other limo drivers. We had a total of 4 limos go to this thing. Now came the best part of the evening. One of the drivers hates my guts. He is a hardcore fundamentalist Christian and doesn't care for my pagan views. This guy honestly believes I worship the devil. It all started a couple years ago when I made fun "The Passion of the Christ." Big mistake. Anyway, I told him what I thought of TSO - that it was basically just a big money maker for the naive little trained minions. They come out to celebrate their faith and enjoy the holiday revelry and they end up spending all their cash. Then I said, "This Savatage guy is my hero. He really knows how to take advantage of the season. I'd really like to meet him. What a great guy. CHA-CHING!!!" This driver looked at me with the look - the look of total disgust. I love it when he gives me that look. I always make sure to flash him the devil sign whenever I see him. That was probably the highlight of the day. I did manage to snag a freebie ticket from the 92.9 light rock station deejay outside the arena. Like I really would have paid to see that shit.