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Last night Saturday evening I went to the symphony, as is my wont. Someone was usher captain, which is his wont. What was not ‘wont’ and not entirely welcome was the repertoire. I thought I was getting Schubert or Schumann, or one of that crowd. Instead it was a ‘Salute to The Beatles”. I would have turned tale but we were sharing a ride, so in I went.

On stage was bit of symphony, mostly strings, slightly off to the stage right.* On the other side were the usual instruments seen at a rock concert. There were three or four singers I forget how many they kept bouncing around. None looked like The Beatles and they looked like they had been born decades afterwards.

The audience was interesting. I sense many of them have never been to the symphony before now. Urs Truly was dressed in dress shirt and bowtie and the rest were in clothing I will call ‘old hippie attire”. Many were well over four feet. I give them credit: most kept on their obligatory masks and were well behaved nor did they record anything, which is a huge no-no at the symphony.

The music itself was many familiar songs and some I hadn’t ever heard before, I liked that. Unfortunately the music was played ‘all the same way’, making it more like ZZ-top. Someone had ushered the show before and as I went in he handed me some orange rubber ear plugs saying ‘you’ll need these”. Oh the pain. It was bloody loud and the earplugs were greatly appreciated.

About ten minutes into the show the sound system blew out and the CEO of the symphony called for the intermission now to fix things and the show would be done x 90 minutes with no break. People were cool about this. She later joked the overtime won’t be too bad and hinted of some sort of refund or discount to all. The symphony is hurting financially, so overtime and discount can’t be a good thing.

Somebody decided people cannot sit and just listen to music but they need something to watch, so on stage was a large screen for quick-changing photos of The Beatles (mostly Paul) and ersatz 60s cartoon figures dancing about. I found this a distraction to the music, so I closed my eyes. This, and wearing a mask and earplugs made me feel I was at a concert of “Tommy’ by ‘The Who’.

I often doze at classical music concerts, and I’ve always assumed it was the music that did it. Despite the loud get-you-moving music and folks jumping about waving their cellphone lights (what, no more lighters?) I still managed to drop off. I am not what to make of this date, but it is curious.

See you all at The Phoenix Symphony’s salute to ‘The Monkees’ – in E-flat

*Afterwards over a late night supper Someone said many of the orchestra were not playing but were supernumeraries. Apparently so many have to be on stage in any performance. Music unions are fascinating things. He also said the management would sooner eat rats at Tewkesbury than have overtime happen as this is mega-expensive.

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March 2022

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018