As a record snow storm bore down on Albany the day after Christmas, the faithful filled the Times Union Center for their annual dose of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. For those unfamiliar with TSO, picture a ’90s hair band that collided with a chorus, and a small string orchestra. Then add in a light and effects show that could rival any arena rock band of the past two decades, and you get the idea. TSO stormed into the TU Center for two shows on Sunday and gave the near-capacity crowd exactly what they came for: high tech holiday music with lot of heart and some great production values.
The show was a series of Christmas classics strung together by a poetic reading between numbers that provided a form of cohesive narrative. Each time the narrator sat down, the song would start and then, generally, erupt in everything from artificial snow to lasers, computer graphics, marching video nutcrackers and huge pyrotechnics. There were a couple slow numbers, but the crowd truly responded when the effects wizards let it all fly.
According to the gentlemen manning the effects and mixing boards, the show is truly live, not computer controlled. A TSO show is unlike many productions, which are highly programmed and automated.
The guitars, bass and vocalists were tight and professional throughout, but responded to the crowd and literally brought them to their feet almost at will. The only odd thing was the juxtaposition of band members who literally could have been with any ’90s hair metal band, playing high-energy versions of age-old Christmas songs. But once you get past that, the show is something to see.
Reveiw and photographs by Michael Seinberg