Trans Siberian Orchestra

I love rock music. I love great story. I love performance when it is done with excellence. Last night I got all three.

The Trans Siberian Orchestra did their opening shows of the 2009 tour last night in Council Bluffs - of all places. Their primary violinist, Roddy Chong, is an acquaintace of mine from Willow. We had lunch last week - he got me jazzed about the show (and got me tickets - thanks Roddy!). I got to go with Kelle and our two middle kids.

The show erupted with a shock-and-awe beginning. Roddy warned me that the real 'star of the show' is the lights (and lasers, and LCD video, and fire...). He was right. I've never seen lights tied so well with the music of a show. Everybody in the show was excellent. Amazing guitarists, phenomenal keyboards, and my personal favorite...exuberant violinists. Whoa. What a show.

Even the story was powerful. The Christmas theme of the incarnation and Jesus was obvious. There is, added to it, a wrapping of a heartwarming tale of self-sacrifice on Christmas that imitates God's self-giving love of his Son. Filled with artistic license, it draws you in and touches you deeply. Most of the band does not follow Jesus, but you'd never know it from the performance. Traditional carols done in a rock fashion draw on The Story in a gripping, engaging manner.

What stuck out to me more than anything was the intangible commitment to excellence. The techinical aspects were great and the music was amazing, but what poured through from the performance was attitude. The exuberance of the performers, their commitment to energy, great timing, facial expressions and putting on a show that has unstoppable was fantastic.

They do it for the love of art, for the love of performance, for the love of the fans. They do it because they dreamed about doing this kind of thing to a packed area for their whole lives. It made me think about what I get to do...what God made me for. And what you get to do...the thing God made you for. Do we pursue the detailed excellence that not only gives a temporary rush, but changes the trajectory of people's lives AND brings honor to the One who made us for his pleasure? Are we as committed to our pursuit of being God's ambassadors in the marketplace, church, and neighborhoods to the same degree that the TSO artists are? How can we, motivated by the love of Christ, push the boundaries of excellence...not to thrill audiences, but because it pleases the heart of God?

Thanks to Roddy the TSO for your commitment to artistic excellence and for the way you have inspired me this week.