Having seen Trans-Siberian Orchestra at least a half dozen times over the years, we are well aware of the spectacle and show these professionals bring, not to mention pure fun in a season of silliness in many respects. This is the first matinee show we have attended having previously always seen the night show. The only difference it seems is that the venue, in this case, the Air Canada Centre does not believe people want to eat and/or drink during the matinee show as literally only one concession was open. Not kidding folks, can you believe that? For an arena that houses an NHL hockey team I despise, it just fuelled the fire. Oh well, we saved some serious cash as this time my wife and I had brought our children to see their first Trans-Siberian Orchestra show.
I was glad the core of the band has not changed much. Chris Caffery on guitar is absolutely killer. Dave Z on bass has killer grooves and moves. Jeff Plate on drums, while fairly hidden in the back, set up every backbeat perfectly. Bryan Hicks was once again the narrator and once again delivered a solid performance. I have no idea how Roddy Chong, the violinist, can run around so much while playing, amazing! Mae on keys has been a TSO veteran and always sounds great. The backing vocal team, one of whom hails from Montreal which houses in my opinion a darn fine and great hockey dynasty, brought it with showmanship in the movements and strong vocals.
The setlist seemed to move more quickly this time around and was more focused on The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, often showing clips from the DVD on the screen behind. Very well done. Speaking of screens the layout behind the stage and all over the stage levels provided an amazing depth. As always the lighting rigs transform and a new addition in the back of house was a cool pyramid screen and pyro device.
I decided to take no pictures or video out of respect for the band, they had a posting at all doors requesting patrons keep their phones off unless the “lighter” moment came upon them. I must say I was impressed with the audience, I honestly saw fewer than a dozen self-absorbed persons feel the need to check or snap a pic/video.
This is a show that needs to be seen. As a longtime Savatage fan that always felt they never received their due, I am so glad to hear their crunchy metal melded with beautifully orchestrated songs.
My only disappointment, and my wife shared this too, was that “Music Box” was sung by a female vocalist in her own rendition which seemed nothing like the original. In this case it was deep and raspy. It very well could have been a medley of “Music Box” & “Music Box Blues” which understanding the original vocalist passed away some time ago, it was always still done to tradition by a male vocalist and that happens to be my cup of tea. Minor really though.
My ears were smiling side to side upon hearing the new song “Forget About The Blame”. Wonderful song!
If you have the chance to see a TSO show, while I am sure the Toronto Symphony Orchestra does some fine musical accompaniments, get yourself to that and a Trans-Siberian Orchestra show. It is well worth it. Both our children, one a teen and the other a tween also loved the show. Both of them having seen JB, Katy Perry and KISS multiple times, that makes me a very proud father that our children are open ears/eyes musically.
Merry Christmas & Merry KISSmas!
- Blair De Abreu