Here's the thing about the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra's POPS! concerts: You might not think you'd want to go, but you'd be wrong. Take me for example.
When I was a wee lad, I thought the music world began at the Germs and ended at Jawbreaker. I guess you could say I've expanded my horizons since then because I've been attending the LBSO's POPS! and classics concerts for about two seasons now and I might say they are my favorite shows to see.
Now before you get all freaked out about going to a show where a sweaty dude in flannel's crotch isn't pressed into your backside, perhaps you should know that POPS! concerts aren't traditional classical music shows. This season's opener, for example, is on Saturday at the Long Beach Arena and features singer Tony DeSare doing a bunch of tunes from the Great American Songbook. That means songs written by the likes of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin--you'll probably hear "My Funny Valentine," "Just One of Those Things" and even Prince's "Kiss," along with some DeSare originals in the vein of the classic material he performs.
DeSare is proof that POPS! shows are fun. The 35-year-old singer lives in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a neighborhood he describes as "the only place in the world you can order pad thai at 4 a.m. and get it delivered ten minutes later by a guy from Guatemala." See what I mean? The dude's not only a killer crooner, he's got a sense of humor too. Already this show is way less stuffy than you imagined.
Because it's so close to Halloween, the audience is encouraged to dress in costume for this performance. (Personally? I think part of the fun of going to the LBSO is getting your swag on in fancy clothes. But I guess you could go as a werewolf or one of the guys from The Hangover if you wanted to.)
Oh yeah, the audience is encouraged to bring a picnic and eat before the gig. This includes wine, people! Now there's no excuse.
And in case you're still on the fence about the coolness of the POPS! concerts, here are five questions with DeSare that prove the real squares are the ones staying home instead of checking out classic pop music.
OC Weekly (Ryan Ritchie): What's it like being the youngest person at all your shows? Seriously, why do you think more young people (teens, 20s and 30s) don't know more about jazz standards, POPS shows and such?
How does one get into getting gigs with POPS orchestras? I mean, it's not like a normal club gig where you send them a demo, right? I assume there's more to it than that.
How much practice with the orchestra do you get before each show?
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Name one band/artist/song/record/etc. you really like that your fans would never expect you to like.
The LBSO allows guests to bring food and beverages to a pre-show picnic. If you were having a pre-show picnic (as an audience member, not a performer), would you drink red or white wine? Or perhaps both? If not wine, what would you bring if you were having a pre-show picnic?