TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA – GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS EVE Winter Tour 2023 | Review by: Janel Spiegel

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Review by: Janel Spiegel


95.1 ZZO & Y102 Presents:


Winter Tour 2023

PPL Center

741 Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA 18101

Wednesday, November 22, 2023


‘Twas the Night the night before Thanksgiving, and all through Allentown, PA, Trans-Siberian Orchestra was heard. The holidays are not easy for some people. What I love about the holidays is the music, the excitement that people get when they see pretty lights or they hear a song that reminds them of someone, or a memory they cherish. Trans-Siberian Orchestra brings it every SINGLE time. (Fun fact, the PPL Center first opened on September 10, 2014)

This is my second time seeing them perform live, and it’s a living story. They bring EVERYTHING. Heart, soul, fire, ice, a snow globe, the pyrotechnics are out of this universe, the laser beam light show gets better and better. The sounds, they are in perfect synch. Tony Dickinson’s HEADBANGING is next-LEVEL, his bass playing is perfection. PERFECTION!  By the way guys, if the one and only, Tony Dickinson is ever hovering over you headbanging, playing and cheering along with you, cheer and headbang with him.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra was founded by the late great Paul O’Neill or “the bands angel” as the incredibly talented, Chris Caffery calls him. TSO starts with the talented Storyteller, Bryan Hicks. Bryan could talk about anything. The weather, shoes, a phone… Anything, he’s talented and brings so much heart and soul. I had tears in my eyes listening to the stories. Caleb Johnson returned on vocals along with Gabbie Rae, Georgia Napolitano, John Brink, Jeff Scott Soto, Jodi Katz,

On Guitar the amazing Joel Hoekstra. Joel always has a smile. A smile and genuine love for what he does. You can see it in his eyes. Chris Caffery on Guitar, and paying tribute to the Military. Jeff Plate on drums. Mee Eun Kim on Keyboards, Mackenzie Meadows on Vocals. This is Mackenzie’s first tour, and WOW, more tears. She performed beautifully. Natalya Rose on vocals. The amazingly talented and always energetic. His energy is contagious, Tony Dickinson on Bass.

Russell Allen returned on vocals. This MAN, THIS MAN, ohhhh, the talent is unparalleled. He just killed it. He delivered; he was fun. He sang. He reminds me of one of my relatives. On Strings, the uber-talented, Roddy Chong. Roddy and Tony wound up in the crowd walking through the audience. Robin Borneman on vocals. Nate Amor on vocals. Andrew Ross on vocals. (And thank you to amazingly fun, magical friend Paula Gallo for being a positive force in my life and tagging along on some crazy adventures. We had a blast, and felt the fire too. It was great.)

Chris Caffery shared some of the tour information with the crowd. He said they were excited to be going on tour. It’s quite an elaborate, breathtaking, prodigious show. Trans-Siberian Orchestra is remarkable. The PPL Center crowd was so excited. Allentown was thrilled to have them back, and we hope they come back next year.

A few of the songs they performed came from various albums over the years. They performed everything from “Music Box Blues”, “Christmas Canon Rock”, “O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night”, “Christmas Dreams”, “Christmas Eve” (Sarajevo 12/24) (Savatage cover) – This is one of my favorites. It’s difficult to pick just one favorite Trans-Siberian Orchestra song or performance.

“Christmas Canon Rock” is stunning. It’s amazing too if you are not a huge Christmas music fan, they add everything to just make the songs rock, and sound beautiful. The band and the singers just blend so intricately together.

The “Music Box Blues” just makes my whole soul float away. It’s such a beautiful song. Russell Allen put his whole being into that song. They played “First Snow” and made it snow in the PPL Center.

They performed “A Mad Russian’s Christmas” and I think people in New Jersey heard us cheering. They performed “Carmina Burana”, what a perfect performance. So exquisite and delicious, yet wicked with all the flames surrounding everything. Everyone turned around at one point and there was a giant triangle on fire, and more pyrotechnics to match the song. They also had a snow globe, yes that’s right, a snow globe. Because, why not!

They also brought the floating parts of the stage back, including the bridge that each band member took turns hovering above the audience, and playing. It was beyond magical. They also performed “The Snow Came Down.” It’s such a beautiful song.

Each moment onstage and each song tells a story. It’s extraordinary. It truly is. One of my favorite moments is the “Requiem (The Fifth)”, the story plays behind them while they play and move all around the stage, it’s LEGIT one of the greatest performances of all-time.

If you get a chance to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra, go see them, go see them twenty times. Go rock out, listen to the story, watch all the magic that happens. It’s a stunning show. Go see them on tour.