Monday, September 30, 2013

Your Violin May Catch Fire

Several years ago, I was asked to play violin with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The gig was on a Saturday night — my birthday, in fact — and the show was called “Beethoven’s Last Night.” I had never heard the famed progressive rock band in concert, but I knew of its reputation for excess, including pyrotechnics, costumes, big hair and thousands of fans.

I would be one of eight people in the string section. Actually, the eight of us were only half of the section. The other half would be electronically present via from a recording, just in case any of us screwed up.
So really, I was one-sixteenth of the string section for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, or maybe even less, depending on the volume of the recorded strings versus the live strings.
But still. The gig paid $250 plus dinner for one hour of rehearsing and three hours of performing. In an email, they recommended I bring my “secondary instrument” because of the pyrotechnics (we’re not saying your violin will catch on fire, but you never know!) I don’t have a “secondary instrument,” but I was willing to risk it. Tuxedos were required.