Trans-Siberian Orchestra bring a holiday spectacle to New Jersey
Trans-Siberian Orchestra The Ghost Of Christmas Eve tour
December 26th was the day after Christmas for many, but in NJ we got to have an extra ounce of the holiday, courtesy of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The band hit the Prudential Center in Newark as part of their The Ghost Of Christmas Eve tour, presented by The Hallmark Channel.
Many bands dream to play packed arenas, much less pack an arena twice in one day, but for TSO thats a reality. I headed out to catch the 3pm show (the band plays two shows, one at 3pm and the other at 8pm). As I arrived to the Prudential Center on the chilly Tuesday afternoon, I was met by packed lines of fans at all four entrances to the arena. Many families, who for them TSO is a Christmas tradition, awaited eagerly as I headed in.
It was all smiles in anticipation for the band’s performance. I bumped into an older couple, named Grace and Jim, who told me this was their seventh straight year seeing this concert; this is a story you would hear from many. This year was more special than any other as the show is a tribute and dedication to the bands fallen brothers, bassist David Z and TSO founder Paul O’Neill.
As I made my way to get my credentials, I was greeted by Gabi Bisconti from the bands management company. I had the privilege of going on a mini backstage tour and getting to meet some of the men and women behind the scenes that allow this massive production to happen year after year. One of the first things I noticed backstage was how happy and friendly everyone is, which is not always the case on such a big tour. Some of these guys are working 18 hour days, but for the TSO crew it’s very much a family.
The tour consists of a 100 plus crew members who are devoted to putting on the best show possible year after year. It was really amazing to see all the things and people that make this show everything it is.
I really can’t thank TSO, their management, and production crew enough for the amazing hospitality they showed me.
It was now time for the show, as the lights went down the crowd cheered with excitement and right off the bat the stage lights come on along with screens as the introduction begins.
The band’s performance is almost three hours long with a ton of pyro, the most amazing light show I’ve ever seen, hydraulic lifts, a truss that comes down over the crowd, and, get this, snow! The giant on-stage screens feature city landscapes and the moon; at one point the stage turns into a huge theater marquee during a narration by storyteller Bryan Hicks.
The band features local orchestra players in every city and TSO manages to make a 18,000 person venue feel intimate. At one point violinist Roddy Chong walks the aisles of the venue floor while later playing on a walkway right over the crowd with bassist Tony Dickinson. The show’s setlist includes fan favorites like “Siberian Sleigh Ride,” “Madness of Men,” “Wizards in Winter,” and many more.
The show’s production is absolutely incredible. As someone who has covered over 100 bands this year it was the first time ever seeing something of this magnitude. The visuals are stunning, with a breath-taking laser light show and really crazy lighting in general, the sound is huge and the musicianship is inspiring. This was my first TSO show but will definitely not be my last. I already can’t wait to see what they put together next year.
The band has a few more shows left this year, and if they’re coming to your city I highly recommend it. It’s a ton of bang for your buck and perfect for the whole family.
Until next year!