Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Last evening found ol’ Robbo attending a concert of the Piano Guys over at Wolf Trap, in company with Mrs. R and the Middle Gel, who is a certified hyper-fan of the group. Because the gel is such a nut, we splurged to let her sit right down in the pit about three rows back from the stage. Meanwhile, Mrs. R and I found ourselves a spot out on the lawn and, amidst intermittent showers and drizzle, hunkered down to wait out the gel’s little self-indulgence.
This lawn-seating biznay is rayther interesting. Over the years, I don’t think I’ve done it more than five or six times, but you can easily spot the regulars by all their paraphernalia – blankets, coolers, wet-weather gear, folding seats and so-forth. What I like about it is that, if you find the time weighing a bit heavy on your hands during the performance, you can simply wander off and buy yourself a glass of wine. (Ask the Beautiful People down in the amphitheater if they can do that! I don’t think so!)
The last time we were there was to see Huey Lewis a few years ago. We found ourselves seated immediately in front of a bunch of very drunk college kids who kept cat-calling all evening. I reckoned that the crown for the Piano Guys would be somewhat different, and for the most part they were: Lots of younger kids (which was great), families and older couples. I didn’t see a single member of the rowdier element in attendance.
Nonetheless, there was a couple behind us who were probably in their late 30’s or early 40’s. They had the complete lawn encampment going, right down to china plates, silverware, real wine glasses and corkscrew. Throughout the entire performance, though, they never stopped talking. Two more candidates for teh Special Hell, I found myself thinking.
The funniest thing to happen was that as I sat there I suddenly noticed a woman a few spaces over who looked exactly like the gal I’d grown up across the street from back in the San Antonio of my misspent yoot. I hadn’t seen or spoken to her since leaving high school over 30 years ago, although I’d had a vague report that she lived somewhere in our neck of the woods.
When I mentioned all this to Mrs. R, she said, “Well, why don’t you go over and talk to her?”
“What?” I replied in horror. “I couldn’t! If I turned out to be wrong, she’d think I was some kind of psychopath and I’d have no choice but to take my own life in shame!”
“What stuff,” Mrs. R said, and went over to find out for herself. Turns out I had been right after all and that this was my old neighbor. We chatted with her and her husband for a couple minutes and then went back to our spot much gratified.
Small world, ain’t it.
Oh, as to the actual musick. If you aren’t familiar with them, the Piano Guys’ (they’re actually a piano/cello duo) basic shtick is to take classical themes and interweave them with pop favorites, then doll it all up with a lot of fancy electronic effects and dramatic audio/visual presentation. As I say, teh Gel is mad about them. For myself, I will certainly acknowledge that they’re a hell of a lot better to listen to than some of the stuff that could have seized her imagination, and for that I am grateful.
One thing that struck me as amusing: The cellist, in talking about their musickal influences, mentioned Victor Borge a couple of times. Only he kept pronouncing the name “Borg” instead of “Borzha“. I couldn’t help thinking that if ol’ Victor were still around, he could have incorporated this into his “Phonetic Punctuation” routine. “You vill be azzimilated! Shwoop! POP!”
All in all, a good time was had by all.