Trans-Siberian Orchestra sold out two shows of their arena-rock opera, Ghosts Of Christmas Eve.
There are a few telltale signs that Christmas is rapidly approaching. People are nicer to each other, shopping malls are packed, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra comes to town. They are always a sellout event, they always entertains, and they always make new fans.
Growing in size and stature since they first began touring in 1999, the progressive-rock band filled the American Airlines Center with 18,000 fans in each of the two shows that day. The arena filled early as the explosiveness of the show starts with the first song.
After awarding a generous check to the Dallas County Advocacy Center, the arena rockers began with a Pink Floyd-type video on the five large screens behind the stage. A “Who’s Who” montage of images of historical figures passed on the screens as all the performers came on stage for “Who I Am.”
The full cast of three guitarists, a violinist, drummer, keyboardist, pianist, string section, and nine singers descended on the stage as lasers and lights blanketed the venue. Asha Mevlana on violin soloed on the rising platform as glitter snowflakes fell from the trestle above.
Narrator Phillip Branden began the story of The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve, showing a film clip of a runaway girl who just wanted to go home. The bank of lights lowered for the rock version of “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Good King Joy” by Chloe Lowery.
The talented cast members added to the performance with theatrical movements while guitar solos abounded. The upbeat “Christmas Dreams” featured everyone as the backup singers added dancing and synchronized movements to their repertoire.
Asha again moved the crowd with a stunning solo before she and a guitarist rode the moving trestle above and over the front of the audience to lead a jam lasting several minutes. Lights and pyrotechnics added another dimension to the music as the senses struggled to keep up.
Chloe then sang the meaningful “Christmas Canon Rock” as all the singers joined her onstage. “Who’s Child Is This?” began as a solo, then all the vocalists joined in for a booming second verse.
Ms. Lowery used her strong voice to hit far-reaching notes as she soloed on “Music Box Blues.” Multiple lasers and billowing smoke from beneath the stage added an ethereal quality to “First Snow.”
The stage again filled with the entire cast as Jeff Scott finished the story with “This Christmas Day.” The popular song engaged the crowd and the ending song turned into a long jam session.
The dramatic story/concert is only half of a TSO show, though, as musical director Al Pitrelli introduced the band, then asked, “Wanna have some fun?” The female singers climbed on the rising trestle and danced above the audience to the instrumental “A Mad Russian’s Christmas.”
A keyboard intro preceded another jam session where some of the musicians came out into the crowd to play. An amazing light show and flames shooting high into the air accompanied “Christmas Night In Blue.”
The operatic “O Fortuna” developed into a beautiful multiple-part harmony by the singers. Dragons on the screens was a perfect fit for “Mountain Labyrinth,” a cheerful instrumental that was punctuated by the dancers on the raised platform.
A huge round of applause followed an Ashley Hollister ballad as the audience joined in with the lights on their phones. Jody Katz donned black leather and explored the stage for the rock n’ roll “Someday.”
The mini-stage behind the soundboard sent up flames as the whole band performed “Requiem (The Fifth).” The band then pulled out all the stops for the final song, “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24).” Guitarists were on the rising platforms leading the audience and Asha ventured into the crowd again as lights permeated and lasers strobed the arena. The crowd members lurched in every direction to see all the activity as a well-deserved standing ovation accompanied the sparkling fireworks that ended the spectacular night.
The audience was spent after the emotional and sensory overload of the evening. The band created new fans as well as developed tighter bonds with existing fans.
TSO is well known for their charity work and donate $1 of every ticket sold to a different organization. They put together a new show every other year so fans can go back often.
The 100+ technicians behind the scenes (and under the stage) are just as important to the show as the performers. It takes a unified effort to put on an event such as this.
Thanks to American Airlines Center for their help.
Joe Guzman of National Rock Review was on hand to record the event.
Event Date: 22-Dec-2016