Trans-Siberian Orchestra sold out two shows of their arena-rock opera, “Ghosts of Christmas Eve” in Dallas, Texas on December 22nd, 2017 and I was lucky enough to witness the show with some of my family. The tour is dedicated to the memory of Paul O’Neill, the founder of TSO, who recently died from an unexpected reaction to prescription medication.
There are a few significant signs that Christmas is upon us. People are nicer to each other, shopping malls are packed, and the Christmas shows come to town. I usually try to see, what I consider the Big Three Shows; The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s Annual Christmas Rocks show, Gary Ho! Ho! Hoey’s Rockin’ Holiday Tour and Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Winter Tour. They are always a sellout event, they always entertain, and they always make new fans. I highly recommend seeing any of the above mentioned shows when they come to town.
This was my 2nd time being the American Airlines Center, the first seeing Queen earlier this year and it is an amazing venue to see shows. The sound was wonderful, it was easy to find parking and the staff was always smiling and very helpful. As the show started, the full cast, which consists of three guitarists, a violinist, drummer, keyboardist, pianist, string section, and nine singers descended on the stage as lasers and lights covered the venue, while Large background screens demanded your attention. TSO shows have a narrator telling you the story of “Ghost of Christmas Eve” and the entire stage shifts and transforms into an old Theatre where the Narrator walks out the front door and begins the story telling. It is a beautiful site to watch the stage transform between songs and being able to follow the story live was an experience that you must witness in person. The talent on stage is off the charts. All musicians and vocalist have musical pedigrees that are amazing. I have worked with a few of the musicians in the past and they are all on my top gun list of talented individuals. One of my favorite all time singers is Jeff Scott Soto, who I first heard with Yngwie Malmsteen back in the mid 80’s. Jeff’s voice is brilliant in TSO, he actually sang a few songs in a lower Timbre than I’m used to hearing him and it was absolutely beautiful. I wasn’t able to get a set list of the show; however, the first half of the show was mainly Christmas related songs with a heavy twist and every song had its own unique stage show which included strings, choruses, electric guitar, violins, video projections, lasers, banks of lights and hissing hydraulics, whether an electrified version of “O Come All Ye Faithful” or the intuitive O’Neill original, “Music Box Blues.” The second half of the show was more of a Rock and lets all have Fun themed concert. When the song “Wizards of Winter” started the crowd found a familiar ground to connect with the band. This song has been a stable part of every major Christmas light show since it was released in 2004, and can be found on the TSO album “The Lost Christmas Eve.” There was a mini-stage behind the soundboard that sent up flames as the whole band performed “Requiem (The Fifth).” The band then pulled out all the stops for the song, “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24).” Guitarists were on the rising platforms leading the audience and the Violinist and one guitarist ventured into the crowd as lights and lasers filled the arena. The audience members tilted in every direction to see all of the activity as a well-deserved standing ovation accompanied the sparkling fireworks that ended the remarkable night.
TSO donates $1 of every ticket sold to a different organization every year and are well known for their charity work. They put together a new show every other year so fans can go back often. When you attend a TSO show you will experience an emotional and sensory overload of music, story and a visual journey that has to be seen to believe. The band creates new fans as well as develops tighter bonds with existing fans after every performance. All I can say is next time you hear of TSO coming to your town, don’t hesitate, tell your friends and family and get your tickets early; it will sell out. And I want to thank American Airlines Center for their help in making this happen.
Venue: American Airlines Center, Dallas Tx