Ghosts of Christmas
Mohegan Sun Arena
November 26, 2017
The Christmas season has arrived with the performance from the progressive rock band the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This has become an almost every year tradition for many. So it doesn’t seem like the season starts without an evening watching TSO. The performance was split into two parts. The first portion of the show was “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve”, a story from the 1999 soundtrack, was narrated by Bryan Hicks as portions of the rock opera were shown on screens.
Prior to beginning the show a presentation was made of over $10,000 for local Connecticut charities from some of the proceeds from shows at Mohegan Sun this year. Trans-Siberian Orchestra has always made sure with each of their Christmas performances that they contribute something back directly to the community where they are performing that night.
As always the string section is made up of local talented performers brought in for the event. On its first tour since the death of founder Paul O’Neill seven months ago. The band continues on with his vision of the show started in 1993. They still keep the concept of two troupes performing at the same time in different areas and bringing in the local talent as well as their own performers.
With each new season TSO changes the layout of the lasers and platforms that move. This year there were numerous risers for guitarists Chris Caffery and Joel Hoekstrar to strap onto as they performed. Roddy Chong on the violin was also hooked on to risers and floated above the stage in both the front and back of the arena. The arena was filled with smoke and flames. But, this year the entire backdrop was turned into many different sections of video screens all playing at the same time to expand the storyline well beyond the back of the stage. This year included the entire percussion section and keyboards on a stage that ascended up in the air about 30 feet during different numbers.
TSO played selections from their numerous rock operas Christmas Eve and Other Stories, The Christmas Attic, Beethoven’s Last Night, The Lost Christmas Eve, their two-disc Night Castle and Letters From the Labyrinth. They played a few from each of these as well as “Wizards in Winter” from The Lost Christmas Eve album released in 2004.
The second half of the concert was predominantly music from their non-Christmas albums including “Carmina Burana” a deep and dark number with flames shooting as the background videos projected flames shooting out of castle windows.
Trans Siberian Orchestra is one of the top ticket selling bands of the first decade of the new millennium. They are known for never having had an opening band and have never been an opening band for any other performers. They went straight to performing in auditoriums without being a bar or club band. Their performances from the start have been extravaganzas full of light shows and special effects. This is one part of the show that never disappoints the audience. O’Neill always wanted his shows to be intentionally over the top.
The concert was a bit too long and could possible be shortened by a couple of songs without losing it’s effect. Perhaps not playing “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” twice. Once clearly does suffice without the reprise. But, all and all it was a good performance and rang in the season in a now traditional form.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Time and Distance (The Dash)
The Lost Christmas Eve
O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night
Good King Joy
Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)
Christmas Canon Rock
What Child Is This?
Music Box Blues
Promises to Keep
This Christmas Day
Siberian Sleigh Ride
Christmas Nights in Blue
A Mad Russian’s Christmas
For the Sake of Our Brother
Wizards in Winter
Madness of Men
The Safest Way Into Tomorrow
The Night Conceives
Find Our Way Home
Requiem (The Fifth)
Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) (Reprise)
- Paul O’Neill creator of Trans-Siberian Orchestra dies | April 5, 2017
- Mike Campese Interview: Questions and Answers
- Joel Hoekstra Interview, Whitesnake guitarist
- Zak Stevens Interview Circle II Circle
- Ronny Munroe Interview Metal Church
- Alex Skolnick: Guitarist talks Heavy MTL New Album (2012 Interviews)
- Jeff Scott Soto Interview | Singer talks Damage Control
- Paul LaPlaca Interview | Guitarist talks Recording Techniques
- Chris Caffery Interview: Guitarist talks Savatage History (June 2008)