Monday, December 22, 2014

Musical Monday - Old City Bar by The Trans-Siberian Orchestra

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is probably best known for their rock anthem version of Christmas carols such as Christmas Eve/Sarajevo, or for adding lyrics to classical pieces of non-Christmas music and making them into Christmas themed power ballads like Christmas Canon Rock, but I think the group is at its best when they are working with quieter, more reflective pieces like Old City Bar. And this performance captures the tone of the song perfectly. In some concerts, the vocalist singing the song plays up the comic nature of an old drunkard, which I think is a mistake, because that doesn't really fit the nature of this song.

The song is, at its heart, a tale about a Christmas miracle. Its a small miracle to be sure - the only miraculous part is that a bartender is supernaturally alerted to the plight of a lost traveler and a broken pay phone seems to work. I think, however, that the smallness of the "miracle" is the point: To the extent that there is any kind of Christmas magic, we make it for one another. A person with no reason to did something for someone they didn't know, and will likely never see again. That's the miracle, and that's humanity at its best. I don't believe there is a higher power watching over us. I also don't believe that we need one. What we need are other people, and some of the kindness and good will that the season is supposed to be known for. It seems to me that the world could use some more of it.

Previous Musical Monday: White Wine in the Sun by Tim Minchin

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