Story & Photographs by Diane Fleischman

There seems to be a big rush to get to the holiday season this year.  While retailers offer Black Friday specials before the big day, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra returned to the PPL Center Saturday for two performances prepared to get the crowd singing and excited for the holiday season, a week before Thanksgiving.

But this is not a bah-humbug review.  The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has become over the last twenty years a rock holiday tradition.  This year’s tour presents ‘Ghosts of Christmas Eve’, and their greatest hits.  It’s more than their melodic progressive rock songs, it’s a one of a kind audio and visual experience, unlikely to find in any other concert arena.

The stage is a hydraulic masterpiece, with front pads that rose high above the stage, the rear of the stage also on a hydraulic lift, and a lighting rig, high above the stage, doubled as a cat walk when lowered for the guitarist and violinist to walk around wowing the crowd.

A storyteller narrates the story of Ghosts of Christmas Eve.  As the tale began, a young runaway finds shelter in an abandoned theatre on Christmas Eve.  The runaway experiences the band’s performances as ghostly visions from the theatre’s past.  The runaway finds hope in the music and returns home.  The story intertwines between the music. 

For those who may not be huge fans of progressive rock, the light show won everybody over.  As TSO performed “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)”, the lighting scheme went into a overload of flashing lights, lasers, and graphics.  The spectacular light show for all the songs was perfectly synced to the music, which amazed and delighted the crowd.

Although we’re not carving the holiday turkey just yet, TSO promised one thing on this tour, to donate $1 on every ticket sold to charity.  The afternoon show was sold out, and the evening show had scarce seating available, starting this holiday season off with one nice contribution.  If it wasn’t the music, the extraordinary light show, the charity contribution is a nice way to welcome this holiday season and fill the hearts with holiday cheer.