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Favorite/Least Favorite TSO tours and shows
Hey guys Smile I'm new here and I've been a TSO fan for many years....It's through them that I discovered the wonderful music of Savatage and became a big fan of them too Smile I've seen almost every year since 2012 as I had to miss the 2015 tour due to them not playing in my area. I've always been pretty impressed with how different each tour is, even if the story is the same, they always seem to be throwing in some surprises to keep the fans on their toes. That being said, there are some shows they did that I prefer other shows.

I'd say that my all time favorite TSO tours were in terms of setlist, either the 2013 Lost Christmas Eve tour or the 2016 Ghosts of Christmas eve tour. Both the Lost Christmas Eve and Ghosts Of Christmas eve themed shows have very strong first halves with lots of TSO classics, but I'd say the best second half has to go to the 2016 tour. I LOVE the fact that they pulled out A Last Illusion, O Fortuna, Madness of Men, Mountain Labyrinth, on top of doing The Mountain. I'm definitley a sucker for the heavy songs Smile 

My favorite TSO show in terms of stage production has to be the 2018 Ghosts of Christmas Eve tour, they REALLY pulled out all the stops for that one. The lasers and pyro were cranked up to 11 and they had FOUR cherrypickers used. Tracers on that tour had to have been one of the coolest things I've ever seen. The flaming TSO logo in the back was also pretty cool too.

As much as I hate to criticize one of my favorite live acts, I really gotta say...The 2014 Christmas Attic tour was a major downgrade for me personally. The toybox stage looked really cool, I will definitley admit, and I did enjoy the fact that they did some rarer songs on that tour, like Boughs of Holly, Three Kings and I, and JOMD/AWHHOH. But...the first half was way too long, a lot of the songs I didn't really like, there was almost no pyro and no lasers for the first half which really bummed me out. But the thing that stands out for me with the 2014 Christmas Attic tour was it had the absolute worst second half setlist of any TSO tour. It was the first time I ever walked away from a TSO show going "That was it? That's all they're gonna do? Where's Siberian Sleigh Ride? Where's Tracers? Where's A Mad Russian's Christmas? Where's Wish Lizst?" 

I will say one thing positive about the Christmas Attic tour though. It was great for TSO diehards because of all the deep cuts they did, but because I was only a casual TSO fan at the time, I was dissapointed that they didn't do a lot of the TSO classics that I love. 

So anyway, I gotta ask you guys? What's your favorite or least favorite TSO show?
Music wise, my favorite was probably 2013 Lost Christmas Eve. (I missed the 2012 one so can't comment.) Special shoutout to 2016 GOCE for bringing back March of the Kings in the beginning (I think that's a much better song for the beginning than Time and Distance (The Dash)). 

Least favorite was probably The Christmas Attic. I just find it to be the weakest of the Christmas albums.
My personal favorite TSO tour was most certainly 2000. I only saw a single show but that show remains memorable for many reasons.

1- The band was still a rather new entity (second tour - first major tour). Though I'd seen the first tour that concert was in a more Rock music-themed  venue, which detracted somewhat from the Christmas-oriented performance.

2- The intimate setting of the majestic Detroit Opera House (befitting a band dressed in Tuxedos) provided a huge plus. The  2700 seat capacity allowed the gathering to be more “up close and personal” for everyone than it has become. And I was row 7 main floor center.

3- The night’s Setlist was comprised almost entirely of songs from their first two Holiday albums. The performance included “Grinch” & the trio of mammoth instrumentals from Beethoven's Last Night (which had been released earlier that year). “Christmas Eve And Other Stories” was performed in its near-entirety (w/narration).

4- The touring line-up included many of the same voices we were accustomed to hearing on the albums, including Daryl Pediford, & Joe Cerissano). Plus instrumentalists Bob Kinkel & Mark Wood.

5- This tour concentrated on the music (they did not introduce, as Chris so aptly put it “the green frickin' lasers” until 2001). The stage was rather bare, with subdued lighting & no effects whatsoever.

6- Adding a snippet of "Detroit Rock City" into one of the songs for good measure as an homage to the concert’s location was a master-stroke. This gesture sure pleased the predominantly Rock crowd.

7- Personal triumph. I had experienced the Gift of Life with a kidney transplant in September (and procured tickets to the much-anticipated show while still hospitalized). I took my entire family and triumph over tragedy was celebrated.

The lone negative on this night was the absence of my personal favorite TSO track - "Promises to Keep". When I asked Paul later about this noticeable omission he answered that the children in the choir should be spending the Christmas season with their family and not touring the US.

The current show with the renowned big production is very nice, but in my opinion, the presentation has become overblown and taken away from the majesty of the music (which attracted me to TSO from the outset). The lasers, fire & explosives (“light It, Fog It, Blow It Up”) seem to get louder crowd reaction than the powerful music emanating from the stage.
My ongoing TSO experience, though,  remains fulfilling due to the good vibes provided by Paul O'Neill's ingenious creation.  
Honestly, ever since the bigger productions, all the tours seem to blend together for me.

I yearn for the days when they were not as popular and the shows could breathe a little more. Give me the grittier days of Mark Wood, Jennifer Cella and smaller venues any day.
(12-26-2019, 09:54 AM)admin Wrote: Honestly, ever since the bigger productions, all the tours seem to blend together for me. 

I yearn for the days when they were not as popular and the shows could breathe a little more.  Give me the grittier days of Mark Wood, Jennifer Cella and smaller venues any day.

I love the big giant productions, however I do wish they would bring back a stage that was similar to the 2011 tour, which had less focus on video walls and more focus on giant ostentatious lighting trusses and catwalks, similar to the arena metal bands of the 1980s.

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