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Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisWith fifteen years of holiday tours under its belt, it would be safe to assume Trans-Siberian Orchestra performed all of its albums at some point, though surprisingly, this season's 71 city, 120 show outing marks the group's first ever rendering of 1998's "The Christmas Attic." Besides being part of the band's acclaimed Christmas trilogy, the collection also boasts the massively popular "Christmas Canon," which surely added fuel to the ticket buying fire that's already attracted more than 11 million concertgoers (and 10 million album sales).
During the first of two performances at the Allstate Arena, TSO wrapped all its super-sized lighting and production majesty around an entirely new show revolved around the aforementioned concept, plus a smattering of other key album cuts. No matter the material's source, the band proved to be quite an anomaly for not only bringing Yuletide-themed tunes to a rock n' roll oriented audience, but also incorporating classical and symphonic stylings into its unique repertoire.
As the all ages crowd could attest to, the sounds of the season rarely rocked as much as first half highlights "The Three Kings And I" (which climaxed with portions of Led Zepplin's "Kashmir") and a full-throttled rendition of "Christmas Canon." In terms of sheer musical aptitude, the vast troupe also shined throughout the aggressive instrumental "Appalachian Snowfall" and appeared equally accomplished during the soulful power ballad "Music Box Blues."
Outside of "The Christmas Attic" compositions, "Christmas Jam" served as the matinee's mightiest guitar dual, while the extended metallic rumblings of "Sparks" (from 2009's double album "Night Castle") suggested TSO's non-holiday material is just as riveting. "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" closed out the near three hour event with a thunderous wall of sound, which coupled with more theme park-level visuals and players riding balcony-level hydraulics, once again presented TSO as an entirely original progressive rock-centered Christmas institution.
For additional details, visit www.livenation.com and www.trans-siberian.com.
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