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A pyro-infused rock opera crossed with classic
Christmas tunes on stadium steroids

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Allstate Arena
Rosemont, IL
Dec. 26, 2009
Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Story by Andy Argyrakis
Publicity photos

Christmas may have come and gone, but the season lives on thanks to Trans-Siberian Orchestra's latest marathon road trip and first new CD in five years. Touring in support of the double disc set Night Castle (Atlantic), the group isn't just channeling tried and true Christmas classics through its hard rock lens, but simultaneously introducing a selection of tracks from this epic, 26-track rock opera that's sure to extend well beyond the season.

Though the troupe is best known for moving over seven million copies of its last four Christmas albums, this particular project takes a more universal approach of humankind's follies eventually resolved through love and redemption. As a result, the booming new opener "Night Enchanted" flowed quite well into the decidedly Yuletide-themed "March of the Kings," "An Angel Came Down" and "O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night."

No matter how often some of those seasonal tunes are covered, there's simply no comparing anyone else's interpretation to Trans-Siberian Orchestra, if only for the group's soaring guitars colliding with symphonic grandeur. Sure, it's an acquired taste for those out of touch with the band's Broadway meets metallic rock mania, but one that's entirely original and always attention grabbing. As the two act, two and a half hour evening unfurled, the band's indescribably gigantic production was just as visually commanding as its unconventional approach to music making. Recalling the glory days of AC/DC circa 1970s-styled production but with modern day technology, it was impossible not to marvel at the continuously expanding (and exploding) pyrotechnics display, laser light attack a la Pink Floyd and so many lighting rigs it must have been downright ludicrous from a budgeting perspective.

Considering the group can fill a stadium twice in the same day for matinee and evening performances, chances are financial limitations aren't even an issue, instead allowing the spectacle's sheer size to multiply every year. Yet even amidst all the frills, several selections in the second show remained regular fan favorites, such as fever-inducing instrumental "A Mad Russian's Christmas," the timeless "Christmas Canon" and the showstopping finale "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24." Alongside progressive fresh cuts like "Moonlight and Madness," it was steady mix of past and future, sure to keep the flames of Trans-Siberian Orchestra burning brightly until the holidays return.

Related articles:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Concert reiview - Rosemont, IL - Jan. 2009
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Concert reiview - Milwaukee, WI - Dec. 2005

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

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