Posted in Buffalo, NY, Commentary, Work

Intergalactic Orchestral Manuevers in the Dark

For the uninitiated, to make a little extra cash, I got a gig as an usher at the downtown sports palace (no free ads in my journal). It never fails to be interesting leading up to a given event, but once you get tired of being in the same circle for a given time, the charm can sometimes depart quickly.
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Given the NHL work stoppage, there hasn’t been much going of late, but I got the call to come work for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra shows (I couldn’t begin to wonder where a Trans-Siberian shops, maybe in the Village, but I digress). Something stupid, maybe it was my checkbook, said to make myself available to work both shows.

Stupid checkbook.

Unlike a few friends of mine, I’m not huge fan of the proceedings. I’m sure the players are lovely folks and kudos for giving a buck from every ticket to a charity. All well and good, but this is essentially hair metal for soccer moms and that’s fine, but not really my cup of tea, so while on duty, I people watch (which I guess you are suppose to, given my station and mentally wander to happy places provided the locks haven’t been changed). As crowds go, it’s a fairly innocuous gathering. I mean, who would “pre-game” for the Transiberian Orchestra? So, you don’t have much to worry about breaking up fights or any other type of concert shenanigans. I don’t there has been a transiberian mosh pit in the now six shows I’ve now seen

So, it’s a kick to people watch. There are enough pyrotechnics in these shows that I pity any epileptics as it can be a bit seizure inducing. For the first show, I was just to the left hand side of the stage where among the visual treats were a couple in their late fifties doing a rather impressive space dance and an amazing number of folks concerned with trying to record portions of the show instead of actually watching the show.

It makes you laugh, especially since in the previously undeclared war between firework and smart phone, the firework will win everytime.

A night out down there isn’t cheap. That isn’t a knock or a dig, just an observation, and regardless of event, it always startles me a bit to see the amount of time and money spent in not watching the show. The TSO audience could use some ritalin for the amount of time up and down getting snacks and whatnot.

A few folks popped up later in the show, must have been comped tickets. The cheapest seat I saw was in the $50+ dollar range and I know if I’m paying that money, I got my nutritional needs filled and watching the flipping show. Maybe I’m jealous of the well-financing, as my dinner break set me back $12.75 for a burger, fries and a coke. I bought a bag of some of my parents’ christmas baked goods to snack on and judging from the envious look that got from an fellow usher, I could have made good money peddling nickel bags of my folks’ chocolate chip cookies. Take this tidbit my friends. Those of us who attend/have attended rock shows have come to expect themĀ  to be like parties and not start at the time printed on the ticket. But it probably isn’t a good idea to wait until that actual time to enter the venue.

For the second show, I was dispatched to the 300s (toward the top of the effin center), where again, it wasn’t a whole lot of heavy lifting, just giving directions, pretending to find the jokes about how high the steps are are just hilarious, and watching folks in pursuit of that last beer while the TSO chirps “Merry, Merry Christmas.” Hearing that for the second time made me want to heave my little tree out the living room rock star style when I finally made it home. But, I didn’t as I bought some cool (or nerdy) ornaments this year.

The one bonus wild card to the first event gig in sometime (thanks, NHL), was the return of Buffalo winter weather. Since it hasn’t snowed for real since 2010, I was keeping an eye peeled Wednesday as the weatherdudes called it right. That made me wonder how the roads around the arena would be and how my landlord would be about digging us out.

For once, the train won, but after ten hours walking the concrete hallways, it was fun to traipse to the train in the snow.

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