Every once in a while TeddyJ throws free stuff at us, and that's why earlier this month TeddyJ sent us to the Saint Louis Symphony (classic!) to hear the Music of Michael Jackson (pop!).The symphony backed up a Michael Jackson impersonator. Vocally, he was uncanny, but physically he would have been better as a Ben Vereen impersonator.
Strangely, even though the full force of the Saint Louis Symphony was behind the singer, I never felt like I heard much from them, except for the strings. They soberly played their parts while the singer changed jackets, moonwalked, and at one point donned an afro wig. Took me right back to Branson, last year.
That was a surprise concert, though, and I didn't anticipate it happening so close to our planned concert: The Art of Time Ensemble (classic!) presents Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (pop!). But seeing them within two weeks of each other begged comparisons, and right now I'd be happy to ditch the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and trade it in for Toronto's Art of Time Ensemble.
I am in love with every one of them. There was a no-nonsense cello player who had to endure silly pop singers dancing and emoting directly in her face, trying to break her concentration, and she ignored them with only a touch of a slightly bemused smile, while the man right next to her played his instrument with a giant grin on his face the whole time. The woman playing the clarinet only smiled once that I saw, when she picked it up to quack out one humorous bar in one of the Side B songs. She put the clarinet back on the floor and giggled a little at herself.
You would think my eyes would have been locked on Steven Page, but a middle-aged violinist sitting right behind him was just killing it, all the while looking like everyone's mom and/or substitute teacher. I kept thinking if I had stuck with the violin I could have been rocking out too in my sensible shoes and a black velvet shrug.
Gary noticed the violinist too, but only because there were times the trumpeter put down his horn. I took to watching Gary every time a trumpet solo came up because his head bobbed, and his eyes shone, and his fingers danced just like he was playing along. I imagine he was probably triple-tonguing inside his mouth.
In fact, I'm afraid I kind of ignored Steven Page until one of the encores, when he just unhinged his jaw and unloaded on Oh, Darling. It combined the bridge of Break Your Heart with ... with ... I don't know, Ella Fitzgerald having an aneurysm. (His face did get dangerously purple.)
Some naughty person caught the same song on video six years ago. That link is actually a much more sedate version. For example, in the video he uses a microphone, while at the Sheldon he just essentially bellowed the doors off.
My cold hasn't let up, but it is easily quelled by medicine. I brought along some NyQuil and took a shot right before we went in to the concert. For some reason, the row right in front of me was entirely empty. I could have coughed and not infected anyone. Sadly, I held hands with Gary during All You Need is Love and now he has fallen to The Illness. He feels it was worth it, though.