Piano men concert

Last year we decided on a whim to go see the Yakima Symphony Orchestra’s first concert of the season. It was excellent and we ended up buying season tickets thanks to the first-time-ticket-holder discount.

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Any excuse to dress up!

Last night we saw the show called “Music Men,” featuring a band from Canada doing a tribute to Elton John, Billy Joel, and the 70’s. Between the bantering of the lead singer, the audience participation, and the theme songs from TV shows from the 70’s, it was a little more relaxed atmosphere than usual. Not that the symphony is usually filled with dried up fuddy duddies, but usually no one is singing along.

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Classy is taking cell phone pictures before the concert starts

Frankly, it was fantastic. The singer did a great job of mimicking the vocal styles of those greats. The guitarist was an extremely enthusiastic dancer. The drummer wore a bow tie and vest. The orchestra was superb and clearly enjoying themselves. I especially liked the cello player dancing and singing along to the chorus of Crocodile Rock. And the bass player. Oh, the bass player. A little dorky, he dances only using his knees and waist (in stark contrast to the lanky guitar player’s bopping and weaving). But he wrote the orchestral score for the show. And that man can do a ridiculous Edith Bunker impression. By the end of the concert I had decided I wanted him on my zombie apocalypse team… That’s how awesome he was.

But the star of the show was a fellow audience member on the opposite end of the balcony. I didn’t notice her until Crocodile Rock when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. She was using the balcony railing near the exit as her own personal pole dancing studio, with lots of grandiose hand gestures, grinding, twirling, and swaying.

I thought the excitement of Crocodile Rock (and the call for audience participation) just carried her out of her chair and into the aisles for an impromptu interpretive dance, and who can blame her? I love that song too! But then I saw her during intermission taking a long and dramatic swig from her flask. She was wearing a tiara, feathered black gloves, and a long, fur lined coat. This lady was clearly lit, with a capital L.

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A poorly drawn picture is worth at least several words.

During the second half of the concert, she really started to shine. Every time a new song started, she would scream. She seemed to be directing her mental orchestra so dramatically that I feared she would fling herself off the balcony. The coat came off. Shoes did too. The gloves stayed (because: classy). At one point, she had her skirt hiked up to her waist doing hoe-down kicks. I think the tiara may have been lost by the end of the show based on how much head and hair throwing was going on. Hopefully it didn’t land on the elderly couple in the balcony below her. Just as amazing was seeing the ripples in the audience around us as they noticed her too: nudging, whispers, outright laughter, eyes widening in horror.

And so I would like to thank the symphony and the guest band for the magical journey through the 70s, and the drunk tiara lady for the equally magical journey into her own personal world. I sincerely hope she got a cab home.

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