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Past season perhaps, but still
plenty of high-octane holiday hits

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Allstate Arena
Rosemont, IL
Jan. 3, 2009
Trans-Siberian Orchestra Trans-Siberian Orchestra Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Story by Andy Argyrakis
Publicity Photos

Considering Trans-Siberian Orchestra usually breezes through town smack dab in the middle of the Christmas season, this post New Year appearance is a little out of the ordinary. But the Yuletide franchise appears to have expanded the tour schedule even longer this year, kicking off well before Thanksgiving and running through this weekend. Even though the holidays are pretty much over, the symphonic rock troupe didn't have any problems packing the Allstate Arena, not just once, but twice during the same day for a matinee and evening show.

Even if both performances were exactly the same, the latter was particularly potent, if only for the fact that 8 p.m. is much more of a rock n' roll start time than the afternoon. As is the group's tradition, the concert was split into two segments, the first boasting 1996's groundbreaking concept collection Christmas Eve and Other Stories (Lava) in its entirety, followed by a mixture of the group's subsequent albums (1998's The Christmas Attic, 2000's Beethoven's Last Night and 2004's The Lost Christmas Eve).

Even if songs like "O Come All Ye Faithful" "O Holy Night" are frequently covered by countless other acts, no one tackles them quite like Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Between those tunes, plus other pre-pause cuts like "A Mad Russian's Christmas" and "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24," it was an endless wall of symphonic sounds straddled with progressive rock (Dream Theater, The Moody Blues) and even metal influences (such as Metallica or founding members' previous band Savatage). To mirror such muscular sounds of the season, the production literally took a page out of AC/DC, Aerosmith or Pink Floyd's playbooks, loaded with lasers, smoke screens, fireballs and towering pyrotechnics.

Though the momentum was certainly escalating throughout the first round, the second set continued in a climatic direction. "Wizards of the Winter" walloped with monstrous riffs that reached the rafters, "Queen of the Winter Night" blended operatic elements with classic rock, while "Christmas Canon" demonstrated orchestral delicacy seamlessly blending with electric surges. No matter what the material, TSO is a one of a kind act for all ages, capable of extending this season's spirit well past the holidays, bundled in one of the biggest rock shows ever to hit the road.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Trans-Siberian Orchestra Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Trans-Siberian Orchestra Trans-Siberian Orchestra Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Trans-Siberian Orchestra

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