(Before taking the stage)
The Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa is a huge building that contains a bunch of different auditoriums and halls (so I’m told) that house events such as Wicked the Musical, classical concertos, symphonies, violin recitals and more.
I ended up here for two reasons: first, my mom heard a promotion on the radio for Piotr Illych Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto #1” being performed by this Chinese prodigy, Haochen Zhang, who has been winning awards and performing in symphony halls for most of his life, and asked me if I was interested in going.
Second, because I fuck with classical music.
Classical music is fuckin sick, honestly. I love getting a good bake going and listening to this epic piece of music and having it take you on this journey from start to finish wherein you experience a whole wealth of emotions and messages as conveyed through the notes and synchronization of the musicians.
I feel that anyone who enjoys music can say the same (with or without the bake).
So we went to the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa and this place was huge.
Like, the inside of the concert hall had 4, maybe even 5 levels and made me feel like I was in some kind of spaceship that got all its power from crescendos, harmony, and badass musicianship.
Now, we were situated on the floor pretty much directly in the center of the stage, maybe 8 rows straight back from where the giant Steinway piano was located.
It’s 8, this guy rushes out in his lil penguin suit and says some words at us, then calls out Haochen.
That’s when shit got real.
This motherfucker sat down, adjusted his seat, put a handkerchief on the piano in front of him (out of the way) then looked at the conductor, or “maestro” if you’re into Seinfeld (or calling things by their actual name), and simply nodded.
They tore into that shit like it was Metallica performing “Enter Sandman” or the Rolling Stones playing “Sympathy for the Devil.”
Now, I’d only seen one “classical” performance before and that was at LACMA, performed by high school students…because I had to… for a class. But THIS! Haochen made all of them look like bitches.
There’s no way to describe the performance that then took place. It was… transcendent, euphoric, awe-inspiring, blissful, etc, etc, other labels and journalistic sentiments.
Cue the obligatory standing ovation.
He came back out 4 times and all I could hear from the women seated next to me was “wow, that was so good!”
You don’t say?
Haochen came back out and performed another few minutes of something on the piano, I’m not sure what exactly, then took his leave.
Then there was the intermission.
We cut it a little close getting to the place by the time the performance started so there wasn’t enough time to get a drink beforehand.
Now was my time to shine.
I had a whiskey and, as they were threatening exile had you not returned to your seat in within the next 3 minutes , I ordered another whiskey and downed it on the spot, forgetting that it’s not water.
Wouldn’t you know it, I got the exact buzz that I’d wanted.
Warm n’ fuzzy.
(Set up for the second-half)
So the second half starts, this time the piano has been moved to the back of the orchestra and Haochen is gone. The penguin man came back out and stood up on his little box, raised his hands, and launched the Pacific Symphony into Sergei Prokofiev’s “Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major.”
Even without a piano prodigy at center stage, that shit was insane! It’s truly amazing what so many musicians and instruments can achieve when they synchronize and come together for music.
I guess there’s less to say for the second half but it was still an incredible performance.
I’d highly recommend going to any classical concert that you can because that shit is nuts. And if you’re like me, try ripping a bowl or two and going to see it.
You try telling me watching that shit take place before your eyes ain’t mesmerizing.