Each holiday season, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra embarks on a multi-city tour of epic proportions. With two separate touring camps on opposite coasts, legions of talented musicians, and enough pyro to burn down Santa’s workshop, their act is the most unique production in the music industry.
Completing their tour in Saint Paul at the Xcel Energy Center last week, the heavy metal orchestra delivered two shows full of extreme holiday joy. Coming to town on nearly the same day every year has some locals wondering: Why is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra a must see holiday tradition?
This being my first time seeing them, the answer became apparent from the opening song. Blending timeless classics with hard hitting visuals and brilliant musicianship, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra transforms what a holiday concert should be.
On its own, the show is the one of most technically impressive concerts there is. A feast for the eyes, the show’s lighting, pyro, and visual work is unmatched. Fans will see performers taking to the sky, rising on platforms, and singing in snowglobes. Adding the holiday flair to all of this is the cherry on top.
While best known for their holiday music, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra actually has a great catalog of rock operas which draw inspiration from other classical artists, like their 1999 album Beethoven’s Last Night.
Formed in 1996 by the late Paul O’Neill and two members of progressive metal act Savatage, the orchestra has grown to include countless world class musicians who work hard to redefine what a heavy metal orchestra is. Uniquely, each city they visit calls upon the talents of the local chapter of the orchestra, bringing these musicians on stage with them too.
During the orchestra’s two and a half hour performance, fans were first taken through a story about the meaning of Christmas. Told through video clips and narrated live, the story was cheesy and nostalgic in all the right ways. Although the story felt absolutely secondary to the music, it was a nice touch.
Following the conclusion of the story portion of the show, the band continued to pull out their best tricks and hits. There were a few times I thought the show had reached its conclusion, and yet they kept on finding a new way to one-up themselves.
Whether it was the heat of the pyro, or the artificial snow raining down on the audience, there was always something to be in awe about.
The show is made possible by a giant crew. The band was incredibly kind as they welcomed them on the stage to celebrate their final show. I’ve never seen a band give so much love and gratitude to their touring crew, and it was a joy to see them get the spotlight.
There are hundreds of shows that come to town each year. And while it’s always a joy to see your favorite artist and lose your voice to a song, it’s hard to top the seasonal experience the Trans-Siberian Orchestra brings. Their show is a night of nostalgic holiday music, mixed with awe-inspiring visuals and hard hitting musicianship.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a must see holiday tradition because there is nothing else like it. If you are able, we highly recommend you make it part of your holiday plans next season.