Monday, December 2, 2013

Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Show: A Potential Cure for Holiday Music Haters

There are a lot of people out there that hate Christmas music, and I've never been able to agree with them. But, as I grow older and wiser, I think I'm starting to get it. You see, there are two types of Christmas music out there: The awesome stuff and the Wal-mart/radio stuff. I really feel as though many people just aren't hearing the right Christmas music and are just going off of the typical Holiday Wal-mart scene.
Allow me to paint a mental picture to demonstrate: You're in Wal-mart. It's December. You've got a lot of stuff to buy and you want to "get your shit and get out," which is the style recommended by Jeff Dunham's dummy, Walter. You've got to buy groceries. You have to buy some wrapping paper and some holiday d├ęcor. You have to buy presents. The people at Wal-mart are insane. This lady thinks she owns the lane and won't get out of your way. Amid this chaos, all you're hearing is a man on a loudspeaker half singing, half yawning, "IIII'M DREAMIIIIIIIING OF A WHIIIIIIIIIIIITE CHRISTMAAAAAAS."
So there's a lot of bad Christmas music out there, and unfortunately, we have the displeasure of hearing it quite a bit when the holiday season comes around. But, Holiday Music Haters, there's a lot of amazing Christmas music out there. Thankfully, I've been engulfed by the lovely music of Vince Guaraldi, Manheim Steamroller, and perhaps the most popular: Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra's musical style functions in a similar manner of symphonic metal bands since they religiously combine heavy rock with classical music, but anybody can appreciate their modern twists on Christmas classics - especially live.

I guess I'm kind of an expert on their annual Christmas tour... I've seen them four times. For the first three times, I saw their show Christmas Eve and Other Stories (named after their very first album), but last time I saw The Lost Christmas Eve (their last full-length Christmas album). Keep in mind that they don't just play songs from the particular album's show, but the first half will primarily consist of those tracks as their fantastic narrator recites the story seen in the album booklet. (Each album has a story... Pretty cool, huh?) Let it be known that the narrator has a huge booming voice, so I imagine that could potentially irk some audience members. The same can go for their vocalists. They have strong voices, and they're really, really bold. They may not appeal to everybody.

Out of the different shows I've seen, I'm not really sure which show I like best; they're both so good, and even if you see the same show a few years in a row, you still get something different in the setlist. I'm a bit partial to the music of Christmas Eve and Other Stories simply because it's so nostalgic to me, but I was a smidge happy to know that performing The Lost Christmas Eve would equate to the "Old City Bar" segment being omitted from the show. (It vocally wasn't pleasing to the ears.)

But after this first story part, we face a small intermission in which we're introduced to the whole band, which is always fun. The second half of the show is more miscellaneous in terms of musical choices, even including music from non-Christmas albums such as Beethoven's Last Night and Night Castle. Throughout both halves, the light show is absolutely spectacular. Not just light as in artificial lighting, but a good amount of pyro as well. Your eyes will be just as happy as your ears, and it just gets better and better every year. Last year, when I saw The Lost Christmas Eve show, improvement was evident right off the bat. A big pendulum was swinging from one side of the stage to the other. It was on fire. The freaking pendulum was ON FIRE. How awesome is that? Plus, all the lights were going in circular motions last year, which created a hectic, almost dizzying effect. I loved it.

Plus, the group just performs well. It doesn't matter where your seats are; with all the crazy lights, you're bound to get a good show from just about any angle. However, I personally like being on the floor just so I can get more of a connection with the energetic band members. It's not like I can get much enthusiasm out of other audience members; the crowd varies greatly in age. Someone's grandpa won't be out of his seat fist-pumping like people in my generation, and I get that. But... I just get really hyper at concerts. Everyone sits down for the most part (except when the band asks the floor to stand up on occasion), and I'm practically dancing in my seat the whole time.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra is pretty awesome off stage as well. They donate a portion of money from each concert ticket sold to local charities, and they usually tell the audience how much money is going to which charity before the show starts. They all seem like really down-to-Earth, Christmas-loving, music-loving people that appreciate the good things in life like snow and headbanging. (Hehe!)

Anyway, the point is that they put on a great show. Even those who aren't into Christmas music will be able to appreciate something out of all they do. I've seen them four years in a row for a reason; now its time for you to give them a try.

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