Last night the Crankee Yankee and I went to see Mannheim Steamroller in concert. If you have never had the pleasure of listening to their music, I encourage you to check it out. This is one of the most unique musical groups in the long history of music. Some of the instruments used are synthesizers, woodwind instruments, drums, piano, trumpets, french horn, harpsichord, violins, guitars, even a toy piano; and so much more.
It’s difficult to pin down exactly what style of music Mannheim Steamroller actually is; it is an amazing blend of classical, folk, techno, new age, rock, and more. While listening to the music, we enjoyed the incredible light show that accompanied it. We experienced the lift-off of Discovery with all the sights and sounds, while accompanied by incredible music.
It’s one thing to hear their music, and quite another to see the music being made. The head violinist and the guitar player were out in front of the group, and it was fun to see their interaction and great enthusiasm for the music. Everyone on stage was smiling and thoroughly enjoying themselves.
At one point I thought; ‘wait, what’s wrong with this picture?’ And then I realized that there was no conductor. These folks have been working together for so long that they have no need of one. They know the music and the players so well that it becomes an organic experience.
The music is such a unique blend that it is hard to call it just one style of music. There may be a synthesizer playing along side a wooden recorder, one of the most ancient musical instruments. Or there can be a massive percussion presence just after sleigh bells and harpsichord.
The lighting effects were a fabulous part of the show. Not only were there dazzling light shows with laser-like beams sweeping all through the arena, but there was also what looked like drifts of snow lightly falling on the audience. It was a wonderful and playful accompaniment to the music.
In addition, there was a huge screen behind the musicians featuring everything from the space shuttle to golden angels flying through the sky. Some people in the audience might say that the music was much too loud and too ‘in your face.’ For us, it was perfect, amazing and inspiring.
If you get the chance to be part of the Mannheim Steamroller experience, be prepared to enjoy it on every level. It is an experience for all the senses, and then some.
*Per Wikipedia: Mannheim Steamroller is an American Neoclassical new-age music group founded by Chip Davis, that is known primarily for its Fresh Aire series of albums, which blend classical music with elements of new age and rock, and for its modern recordings of Christmas music. The group has sold 28 million albums in the U.S. alone.