Since the first time they toured in 1999, Trans-Siberian Orchestra has been delivering unforgettable holiday performances every year. This year, Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s tour features the live debut of The Christmas Attic, the only remaining part of their rock opera trilogy to be seen live.
For their winter tour, the band divides into two touring groups (informally known as TSO East and TSO West), allowing them to perform more shows in the short time frame around the holidays. Though the East and West splits are not necessarily the same every year, TSO East has become the more familiar division in North Carolina, and they were the group to perform in Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro this year.
As traditional for Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the first half of the show featured a holiday story. This year, the story focuses on a young girl’s adventure into an attic and discovery of a chest of letters, each written by different people and explaining why they treasure Christmas. The tale is partially narrated by the ever resonant voice of Bryan Hicks, but brought further to life through songs such as “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” and “The World That He Sees”. Throughout a couple songs, a snowfall captivated audience, but the highlight moment of the first half was arguably the performance of “The Three Kings and I”, which morphed into “Kashmir,” originally by Led Zeppelin.
Of course, the snowfall simulation and Led Zeppelin cover weren’t the only bells or whistles of the tour. Trans-Siberian Orchestra is well known for their elaborate stage set up, and this year was no exception. Aside from a dazzling light show, lasers and platforms that rise over the crowd, a giant chest took prominent display under six rotating video panels. While the panels displayed various animations throughout the show, the chest opened and closed to reveal TSO East drummer Jeff Plate and a string section consisting of talented members of local North Carolina symphonies. There were also enough pyrotechnics to significantly notice a raise in temperature from beginning to end of set.
Though there is no official intermission, TSO East guitarist Chris Caffery introduced the vocalists after the narrated story concluded. The band then powered straight into many of the band’s fan favorite songs, including “Christmas Canon Rock” and “Wizards in Winter” – the song that was used in a Miller Lite TV commercial after becoming an internet phenomenon in 2005 when an electric engineer synched up an impressive light show display to it.
Near the end of each Trans-Siberian Orchestra show, one lucky girl or boy is brought onstage and given a guitar signed by the full orchestra. The unrivaled two and a half hour performance is brought to a close with the famous instrumental medley “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” and spinning firework finale.
Christmas music aside, Trans-Siberian Orchestra also practices what they preach. In true holiday spirit, one dollar of each ticket sale is donated to a local charity at each tour city. As of 2014, they have donated over a combined $10 million to both local and national charities.
The last date for North Carolina this year was at the Greensboro Coliseum on Wednesday, November 26th, but many fans are already craving next year’s show. Check out Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Official Website for the remaining dates of ‘The Christmas Attic’ winter tour.