Sunday, January 13, 2008

Painting Studio And The Trans Siberian Orchestra Page Two Plus O'2l

PAINTING STUDIO And The Trans Siberian Orchestra Page Two
Some of you know that in addition to being a life long fine arts painter and sometimes bad poet I am also Maitre d' at Jim's Steak House in downtown Peoria, Illinois. Last winter I met several members of the Trans Siberian Orchestra and crew when they dinned at Jim's. I really got along well with Al Pitrelli and his wife Jane Mangini. We had a great time and when they left the restaurant it felt as though we were old freinds.
Last Thursday the Trans Siberian Orchestra played to a sold out house at the Peoria Civic Center. I took off work on Wednesday night thinking that perhaps Al and Jane would dine at Jim's the night before the concert. I called the bartender around 7:30 in the evening and asked if there were any guests that looked like rock stars. He told me that there were quite a few and I took a taxi to the steak house.
On the bridge as the taxi sped across the river Missy my driver said, " Kinda late for you to be going to work." I told her that I was going to see some friends who were having dinner. I then wondered if they would even remember me. Being on tour they meet so many people.
I gave the dining room a quick scan and spotted Al and Jane. When I approached their table Al jumped up
with a big smile and gave me a hug. Jane did the same. They told me how disappointed they were when they did not see me at the podium and how glad they were to see me.
Al is the band leader and lead guitar for TSO. His wife Jane does more than just play the keyboard, she makes music. After dinner we visited in the piano bar at Jim's and had some drinks. Jane played a very moving piece on the piano that nearly brought me to tears. After the applause Jane returned to her seat. I was seated between Al and Jane. Al said, " Jane, I have never heard you play that piece. When did you write it?" She said, " I composed it just now. " With a smile. I told Jane that she made a grown man cry. She looked me in the eyes, and then gave me a big hug and a kiss.
Al was band leader and lead guitar for Alice Cooper's world tour and has had affiliations with Asia, Blue Oyster Cult, Megadeth, Savatage, Danger Danger, Vertex, and others. He and his wife Jane have an ongoing band called O'2L that has received critical acclaim.
We had a great night and a wonderful visit. As they left the steak house we could not get enough hugs and kisses. A very memorable evening.
During the concert on Thursday night Al mentioned Jim's Steak House to the sold out crowd of 8,000......twice. The second time told the crowd that they were going to come back to Peoria just to go to Jim's Steak House. The crowd roared.

As ever be well. Stephen Craig Rowe
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