Live Report - Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Nov. 24th, 2007 - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Metal Reviews

Release year: 0
Reviewed by Marty
Well another year....another Trans-Siberian Orchestra tour. Myself, and tens of thousands of others, all make our annual trek to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra as a great way to kick start the Christmas season. This year was the third time that I've had the pleasure of seeing them and this year, like all other years before, is once again bigger and better than ever before. With my wife and I finally taking our 2 boys (ages 12 and 9) to see the TSO spectacle, we were all very excited, especially with the great seats that we had. It was nice to not have to make the "journey" to Toronto to see the show, as that trek can always be very unpredictable. Instead, Hamilton's Copps Coliseum (the site of the infamous Gretzky/Lemieux passing play that sealed the Canada Cup for Canada back in 1987) was the venue for the show. Copps Coliseum has the best acoustics of any arena that I've ever been in hands down.

When we arrived, we were looking down into the arena at the massive stage for this year's show. The lighting trusses were huge and everything was lowered down and covered by a curtain to hide the entire stage. After Chris Caffery and Jay Pierce from the band handed over a cheque for almost $10,000 to a local charity ($1 from every ticket sold), Chris also announced that for a first time appearance in any city in the history of TSO, this was the largest crowd they had ever played for. After the band was formally announced, all the lighting rigs slowly moved upwards to reveal 8 massive, free floating lighting modules that served as the visual backdrop for the entire show. The whole stage, including the lighting had to be 3 or 4 stories high. After beginning the show with March Of The Kings from The Christmas Attic, we were once again treated to the first TSO CD, Christmas Eve And Other Stories performed almost in it's entirety with stunning narration by Bryan Hicks. Outstanding vocal performances by Peter Shaw (An Angel Came Down and An Angel Returned), Jay Pierce (Good King Joy), James Lewis (Ornament and This Christmas Day) and Steve Broderick for his once again wonderful rendition of Old City Bar accompanied by Alex Skolnick on acoustic guitar. I never get tired of hearing this suite of music and is always highlighted by some of the instrumental songs such as First Snow, Mad Russian's Christmas and of course, Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24. I love the way that the Christmas spirit is so stunningly captured by this Paul O'Neill story about an angel trying to find the true meaning of Christmas here on earth and regardless of religious beliefs, the part of the story where the bartender from the "old city bar" puts up the cash for a girl to make it home in time to be with her family on Christmas Day is what Christmas is really all about isn't it?

After the band introductions and a few funny stories by Chris Caffery, the second leg of the show began (no intermission this time). The second half of the show featured material from both the Christmas Attic as well as The Lost Christmas Eve with the trio of female singers including Jennifer Cella, getting a good workout. Her voice on Christmas Canon Rock is always so powerful and emotional. James Lewis makes another appearance in the second half and begins a slow bluesy rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival's Proud Mary before the rest of the band kicks in for the rousing Ike And Tina Turner version complete with all of the girls doing the Tina Turner moves. Last year, Lyla got the "classic rock" touch and this year, it was Proud Mary. The crowd loved it. The second half was also highlighted by Wizards In Winter, Siberian Sleighride, Wish Lizt (Toy Shop Madness) as well as passages from Beethoven's Last Night including their awesome rendition of Beethoven's Fifth and once again Carmina Burana from the still forthcoming Night Castle album. Once again, the keyboard dual between Mee Eun Kim and Bob Kinkel was great, especially Bob nailing the organ intro to Boston's Foreplay/Long Time. Chris Caffery and Alex Skolnick were there usual "shredding" selves and put on an awesome display for the crowd. Jeff Plate's drum solo was as fierce as usual and as always, the show ended with the huge reprise of Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24 with Chris and Steve B rocketing up into the rafters before the massive ending with every lighting effect, fireworks, pyro, fake snow etc. that you could imagine.

Musically, there were only a few minor differences in the set as compared to previous years and I really missed Tany Ling and her amazing soprano performance on Queen Of The Winter Night. The big change was with the lights and stage setup....it has now reached massive proportions. The individual lighting modules are all free moving and work together to yield a wonderful light show. The band is tighter than ever and with the big improvements in the appearance and presentation of the show; they are closer than ever to achieving perfection in the ultimate concert spectacle. It's always amazing to see the diversity in the audience where you have people, like myself, with their wife and kids, others well into their 60's and the odd scattering of metalheads. The crowd reaction is always great but you do notice extremes with some just sitting there smiling to others like the guy beside me (first timer) who kept throwing his arms up into the air and shouting "Oh my god!!" like he was having some sort of spiritual enlightenment or religious experience. The entire band does a meet and greet after every show and we all got to meet the band and get their autographs. They all love to see the kids coming to their shows and besides getting high fives from Peter Shaw, the real highlight for my kids were the autographed TSO guitar picks given to them by Chris Caffery and Alex Skolnick. They have been put up on a shelf to be cherished like little "trophies". Overall, it was an amazing night and my two boys haven't stopped talking about the show. They were still so excited that night that they could hardly sleep. One of the most amazing things about being a parent is that you get to share some of life's truly wonderful experiences with your children. To see their reactions and excitement is something that you can't put a price on. Even though this was the third time I'd seen TSO, this one was not only the best TSO show that I've ever seen but also one of the best concerts ever period. Whether it was the whole family experience, the new show, I'm not sure...but one thing's for sure....we'll all be there next year!!

Killing Songs :
Marty quoted
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