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The Trans-Siberian Orchestra Rocks Kansas City

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has become a holiday tradition for many around the country, and undoubtedly, throughout the rest of the world. The performance given in Kansas City on December 23rd demonstrated clearly why. Combining classical music with traditional storytelling, as well as arena rock and pyrotechnics, a performance by Trans-Siberian Orchestra is what Handel’s Messiah would become, if The Who and KISS were left in charge.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra has several concept albums released, from which the stories are told, and driven by music.  This tour, they reprised their 1998 release, The Christmas Attic. The story of a young girl, who goes to the attic and, upon opening a chest, discovers, among other things, a series of decades old letters, which drive the narrative for half of the show.  Phillip Brandon played the part of the storyteller, relaying the story between songs.

Of course, this is a Christmas show, and Christmas music is to be expected…but of course, it comes with a Trans-Siberian Orchestra twist. The Three Kings and I, effortlessly segues into a few verses of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir (Led Zeppelin in a Christmas story? It would’ve been unthinkable 40 years ago), but it is exactly this sort of musical direction which makes the Trans-Siberian Orchestra a unique spectacle.

If TSO would stop at performing one concept album, a ticket to their show would be money well spent. That’s not the case, however. Clocking in at just under two and a half hours (and two shows a day mind you), the Trans-Siberian Orchestra delivers other favorites from their previous releases. Notably, for me anyway,  was Jeff Scott Soto (notable for his work with Journey, Axel Rudi Pell,  and Yngwie Malmsteen) performing Sparks, from their album Night Castlecomplete with…you guessed it, sparks firing from the stage (and flames from the ceiling).

Another standout performance came from Gabriela Gunčíková, originally from the Czech Republic, and in America for the first time. She performed Someday from Dreams of Fireflies. A sweet, soft acoustic song, before moving into Night Conceives, a heavy, rock infused song, that came complete with hair flips.

With rocking holiday music, combined with a light show that would be at home with Pink Floyd, and even a bit of holiday magic (it did snow inside), the Trans-Siberian Orchestra delivers an epic showpiece that is unequaled by anything else out there today. The only complaint one could make is that it’s unfortunate that the show doesn’t tour year round. While that is unfortunate, things are all the more exciting when the Trans-Siberian Orchestra rolls into town.

Performers

Al Pitrelli – Guitar
Angus Clark – Guitar
Vitalij Kuprij – Keyboards
Jane Mangini – Keyboards
Johnny Lee Middleton – Bass
John O. Reilly – Drums
Asha Mevlana – Violin
Phillip Brandon – Story Teller
April Berry – Vocals
John Brink – Vocals
Ava Davis – Vocals
Gabriela Gunčíková – Vocals
Nathan James – Vocals
Jodi Katz – Vocals
Chloe Lowery – Vocals
Andrew Ross – Vocals
Bart Shatto – Vocals
Jeff Scott Soto – Vocals

Setlist

Time and Distance/Winter Palace/The Ghosts of Christmas Eve/Boughs of Holly/The World That She Sees/March of the Kings/The Three Kings and I/Christmas Canon Rock/Joy of Man / An Angel’s Share/Find Our Way Home/Appalachian Snowfall/Music Box Blues/The Snow Came Down/Dream Child (A Christmas Dream)/Christmas in the Air/Christmas Jam/The Mountain/Someday/Night Conceives/Wizards in Winter/Sparks/This Christmas Day/Keyboard Duel/Requiem (The Fifth)/Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)