Life in the Slow Lane

December 31, 2009

TSO makes spirits bright on holiday tour

Filed under: Entertainment,Music — pauljlane @ 1:58 am

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra dazzled nearly 14,000 fans at Buffalo’s HSBC Arena the evening of Dec. 30, performing 90 minutes of the rock band’s famed Christmas tunes that decked the halls with roaring riffs, vivacious vocals and more eye candy than your average Manhattan model runway.

Just as the patrons were brought to their feet, ready to hit the aisles as band members were introduced, an off-hand comment about “the second half of the show” amazed most of the people in attendance.

Second half? You mean … there’s more?

Oh yes. TSO ended up playing a 2 1/2 hour set. Although the band only makes two more stops on its 2009-10 holiday tour, you’d serve yourself well to make it if at all possible.

This reviewer went to the show primarily to see for himself just how great a spectacle this famed group put on. While the visuals – including bubbles dropped from the ceiling to simulate snow, a flying platform on the opposite side of the arena from the stage, hundreds of lasers and plenty of fire – were as advertised, the music was better than expected.

Sure, you can detect hints of those played-out Christmas songs in many TSO tunes, but the band completely reinvents the music, making it relevant and powerful in a way never imaginable. And the musicianship was top-notch, with all performers on par with the very best at their respective positions.

While the first half dealt with a Christmas theme (and made at least one pair of eyes in the arena a bit misty) the second half offered a selection of songs from the band’s “Night Castle” CD. Sounding like Mozart mashed up with Metallica and Led Zeppelin, the songs were quite powerful and made classical music enjoyable on a level beyond serving as the background music for Elmer Fudd’s pursuit of Bugs Bunny.

If you can’t make this tour, fret not. TSO promises a spring tour to support “Night Castle,” the band’s first non-holiday gigs. If that tour – for which the show’s creators promise to one-up themselves fromt his holiday tour – comes near you, do yourself a favor and check it out.

If TSO can make a fan out of this person, they can do the same for you.

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