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Review of the Allentown show from the area newspaper (http://www.mcall.com/entertainment/lehig...story.html)

REVIEW: Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a big show at Allentown's PPL Center

It’s hard to write about a Trans-Siberian Orchestra show and not use the word “big.”

Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s show Saturday at Allentown’s PPL Center was big — and not just in its eight-member band accompanied by a six-member local string section and nine vocalists. Or its production — a huge stage, wall-to-wall screens covered with high-density images and risers that lifted up out of the stage and a walkway that rose above the crowd.

The show also was big in scope. In 27 songs over two hours and 25 minutes, TSO presented not only the lushly orchestrated progressive rock versions of Christmas songs for which it’s best known, but also a rock opera/theatrical play, some blues and even traditional Christmas music thrown in.

The concert was offered in three parts. First was an introduction that gave an indication of what was to come: the stage covered in roiling fog, flames, five musicians up on those risers, lots of lasers and even glittery “snow” falling from the ceiling as the group played three of those prog-rock songs.

The middle was TSO’s 10-song soundtrack to the 1999 TV movie “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” with scenes playing on those screens and narration by too-dramatic storyteller Brian Hicks.

That segment brought new staging, a theater facade, and the music TSO does best, a mash-up of “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “O Holy Night” with a wailing guitar solo, and a prog-rock combo of “Good King Wenceslas” and “Joy to the World.”

The night’s best was “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24),” TSO’s first charting song (and only hit) from 1996. It was the concert’s payoff, with that walkway hovering over the crowd and so much fire on stage that the heat was felt halfway through the crowd.

“Christmas Canon (On This Very Christmas Night),” with four female singers, was elegant, even with a rock treatment. “First Snow” was uplifting, and the guitarists went out to play in the nearly sold-out crowd. (The band’s dollar-per-ticket donation to charity totaled $8,122 for the first of two shows, suggesting the crowd’s size.)

Surprisingly, two songs that strayed furthest from the TSO formula were among the best. The far more traditional “Promises to Keep” was sacred and touching, and “Music Box Blues,” a straight-up blues offering from a female vocalist, also was the least traditionally Christmas. Oddly, a later “Christmas Nights in Blue” by a male singer, also far from Christmas, was almost Broadway.

Other songs also weren’t as successful. “What Child is This” came off as overwrought, and a breathy, deep-voiced “For the Sake of Our Brother” was uninspiring until it morphed into “O Come All Ye Faithful,” which with the same treatment was very good. An operatic and dramatic “Carmina Burana” seemed out of place.

The show’s final segment was a 14-song “Best of TSO,” with band members again going into the crowd on the starting “Siberian Sleigh Ride.”

TSO briefly paid tribute to two members who died this year — bassist David Zablidowsky (killed in a July bus crash that also claimed area singer Janet Raines) and TSO founder Paul O’Neill, to whom it dedicated a slow and intense “Safest Way Into Tomorrow.”

But the show’s last segment leaned far more on effects, with a plethora of flames on “Wizards in Winter” and “Madness of Men” and the risers again on “The Mountain.”

The show ended with a reprise of “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” amid a shower of sparks, fire and even fireworks — a big close to a big show.

Another big thing about the show, the crowd, seemed to catch PPL Center by surprise. For the first show, five lines all stretched around the building, with a wait some people said was an hour, making them miss part of the show. One culprit seemed to be a ban on large purses, which made people have to rejoin the line after taking them back to cars.
A very positive and pretty entertaining review of the Denver matinee from a fairly typical TSO concert-goer.

"You can tell its a rock band because they got long hair and they're rockin out"



I wish they'd listen to the reviews like the first one and lose "Carmina Burana". It sucks no matter who does it and TSO's doesn't do any better with it.
(11-21-2017, 05:50 AM)NancyL Wrote: [ -> ]I wish they'd listen to the reviews like the first one and lose "Carmina Burana".  It sucks no matter who does it and TSO's doesn't do any better with it.

I like it better than "Time and Distance." Not a fan of that particular song....
(11-30-2017, 03:59 AM)wickfam Wrote: [ -> ]
(11-21-2017, 05:50 AM)NancyL Wrote: [ -> ]I wish they'd listen to the reviews like the first one and lose "Carmina Burana".  It sucks no matter who does it and TSO's doesn't do any better with it.

I like it better than "Time and Distance." Not a fan of that particular song....

Well, yeah. That one sucks too.
Review of the Lexington, KY Show from the Herald-Leader:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Rupp return: overblown doesn’t begin to describe it

Spending an evening with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is akin, in many respects, to over indulging at the dinner table at holiday time. Everything is inviting and offered in abundance, so you generously partake. But the food never stops coming, so those partaking of it do so far past the saturation point. The result: a feeling that surpasses mere satisfaction and soars straight into gluttony.

Transfer that kind of feast into a concert presentation and you had the makeup of what TSO offered last night for its annual seasonal performance visit to Rupp Arena. With about 9,800 dinner guests in attendance, the ensemble poured it on thick, both visually — via an onslaught of lasers, pyrotechnics and screen projections — and sentimentally, where original compositions by the late Paul O’Neill came sugar-coated in pathos and individual performances included a litany of rock star postures.

Overblown? That doesn’t begin to describe it. Like past Rupp outings, this TSO show was spectacle for spectacle’s sake; a presentation that tied an anchor as well as a bow around conventional holiday cheer and tossed the whole gaudy package out to sea.

Before going any further, it should be noted that the audience ate it all up: the Spinal Tap-like excess, the Kiss-like flamboyance, the WWE-level of sheer physical stamina. And why shouldn’t they? In terms of technical design and execution, the show was a marvel. Few were the moments when stage platforms didn’t bob up and down or shift with the aid of remarkably clear screen projections that shifted the look of the set from a movie theater to a cathedral to a winter snowscape in mere seconds. Similarly, the lighting design, from dancing lasers to showers of computerized effects, was beyond dazzling. The production was even climate controlled, with huge rows of flames shooting from the stage one minute and dancing suds of makeshift snow falling over the arena audience the next. In short, this was a production and-a-half, even by TSO’s theatrically intensive standards.

But at the same time, there was hardly an instance — especially, in the first half of the 2-and-a-half hour program, which was built around a stage recreation of the band’s 1999 television film “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” — that wasn’t choreographed to the point of claustrophobia or delivered with an excess that made even its sweeter emotions, like the ones summoned during the Pachelbel-inspired “Christmas Canon Rock,” seem coerced.

Curiously, the most human element of “Ghosts” was reflected in segments shown of the original film that featured the late Ossie Davis. The 18-year-old clips didn’t allow Davis to utter a word, yet they reflected a subtle warmth and grace the rest of the program bulldozed over.

The concert’s second half was looser, owing less to the production piece structure of “Ghosts” and more to TSO’s non-holiday material. But by the time the show hit a seemingly inevitable “Carmina Burana,” the bombast was back to stay.

Again, the quibbles here are largely with the overall framework of TSO’s productions and their unrelenting pageantry as opposed to the performers and performances igniting them. And, again, the audiences fully appreciated the feast being served, even if it seemed less like a holiday gathering and more like an alien invasion.
(12-02-2017, 01:42 PM)danfromnj Wrote: [ -> ]Review of the Lexington, KY Show from the Herald-Leader:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Rupp return: overblown doesn’t begin to describe it

Spending an evening with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is akin, in many respects, to over indulging at the dinner table at holiday time. Everything is inviting and offered in abundance, so you generously partake. But the food never stops coming, so those partaking of it do so far past the saturation point. The result: a feeling that surpasses mere satisfaction and soars straight into gluttony.

Transfer that kind of feast into a concert presentation and you had the makeup of what TSO offered last night for its annual seasonal performance visit to Rupp Arena. With about 9,800 dinner guests in attendance, the ensemble poured it on thick, both visually — via an onslaught of lasers, pyrotechnics and screen projections — and sentimentally, where original compositions by the late Paul O’Neill came sugar-coated in pathos and individual performances included a litany of rock star postures.

Overblown? That doesn’t begin to describe it. Like past Rupp outings, this TSO show was spectacle for spectacle’s sake; a presentation that tied an anchor as well as a bow around conventional holiday cheer and tossed the whole gaudy package out to sea.

Before going any further, it should be noted that the audience ate it all up: the Spinal Tap-like excess, the Kiss-like flamboyance, the WWE-level of sheer physical stamina. And why shouldn’t they? In terms of technical design and execution, the show was a marvel. Few were the moments when stage platforms didn’t bob up and down or shift with the aid of remarkably clear screen projections that shifted the look of the set from a movie theater to a cathedral to a winter snowscape in mere seconds. Similarly, the lighting design, from dancing lasers to showers of computerized effects, was beyond dazzling. The production was even climate controlled, with huge rows of flames shooting from the stage one minute and dancing suds of makeshift snow falling over the arena audience the next. In short, this was a production and-a-half, even by TSO’s theatrically intensive standards.

But at the same time, there was hardly an instance — especially, in the first half of the 2-and-a-half hour program, which was built around a stage recreation of the band’s 1999 television film “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” — that wasn’t choreographed to the point of claustrophobia or delivered with an excess that made even its sweeter emotions, like the ones summoned during the Pachelbel-inspired “Christmas Canon Rock,” seem coerced.

Curiously, the most human element of “Ghosts” was reflected in segments shown of the original film that featured the late Ossie Davis. The 18-year-old clips didn’t allow Davis to utter a word, yet they reflected a subtle warmth and grace the rest of the program bulldozed over.

The concert’s second half was looser, owing less to the production piece structure of “Ghosts” and more to TSO’s non-holiday material. But by the time the show hit a seemingly inevitable “Carmina Burana,” the bombast was back to stay.

Again, the quibbles here are largely with the overall framework of TSO’s productions and their unrelenting pageantry as opposed to the performers and performances igniting them. And, again, the audiences fully appreciated the feast being served, even if it seemed less like a holiday gathering and more like an alien invasion.
Asswipe was sitting two seats down from me!  Almost knocked me and my friend down when he left...and there was plenty of room between the seats on the floor!  He took notes the entire time, but looks like he pretty much repeated himself.  I took someone who had never attended a show and she said it was "beautiful".  The teen-age boys on the other side of me had a blast.  I mean it is, what it is.  I attended Straight No Chaser, an a cappella group,  the weekend before this show.  It is charming and funny and they are fantastic.  You can be a fan of both, and in fact, one of the members of SNC (they also have a free meet and greet), has attended a TSO show.  Whatever!
[/quote]
Asswipe was sitting two seats down from me!  Almost knocked me and my friend down when he left...and there was plenty of room between the seats on the floor!  He took notes the entire time, but looks like he pretty much repeated himself.  I took someone who had never attended a show and she said it was "beautiful".  The teen-age boys on the other side of me had a blast.  I mean it is, what it is.  I attended Straight No Chaser, an a cappella group,  the weekend before this show.  It is charming and funny and they are fantastic.  You can be a fan of both, and in fact, one of the members of SNC (they also have a free meet and greet), has attended a TSO show.  Whatever!
[/quote]

LOL! I had to laugh when you posted about SNC.... I'm going to see Home Free this Thursday night. Yep, from TSO to country a capella in one week!!!! I'm halfway tempted to wear my newest TSO shirt.....
LOL! I had to laugh when you posted about SNC.... I'm going to see Home Free this Thursday night. Yep, from TSO to country a capella in one week!!!! I'm halfway tempted to wear my newest TSO shirt.....
[/quote]

Why not? I wore one of my Slayer shirts when I got dragged to see Kenny Chesney last year.
Asswipe was sitting two seats down from me!  Almost knocked me and my friend down when he left...and there was plenty of room between the seats on the floor!  He took notes the entire time, but looks like he pretty much repeated himself.  I took someone who had never attended a show and she said it was "beautiful".  The teen-age boys on the other side of me had a blast.  I mean it is, what it is.  I attended Straight No Chaser, an a cappella group,  the weekend before this show.  It is charming and funny and they are fantastic.  You can be a fan of both, and in fact, one of the members of SNC (they also have a free meet and greet), has attended a TSO show.  Whatever!
[/quote]

LOL! I had to laugh when you posted about SNC.... I'm going to see Home Free this Thursday night. Yep, from TSO to country a capella in one week!!!! I'm halfway tempted to wear my newest TSO shirt.....
[/quote]

You should see Straight No Chaser in Louisville or Cincinnati next year!  They are a hoot! I think most of us have diverse tastes in music.....I love Broadway musicals too!
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