TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA
Finds Holiday Treasures in the Attic
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

The all new holiday extravaganza The Christmas Attic from Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) transformed and transported fans to a place that was both magical and mystical. We were taken on a multi-dimensional journey with a curious young girl exploring her family's old garret. TSO first released The Christmas Attic in 1998. It was the story of a girl who sneaks into her family's attic where she encountered enchantment and mischief. It was a rock opera blending Broadway, metal and more. In 2014, The Christmas Attic was a dazzling live display of lasers, lights, music and stories.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra Finds Holiday Treasures in the Attic in New Jersey
Trans-Siberian Orchestra opens the Christmas Attic in New Jersey.

TSO's annual Christmas concerts that started back in 1999 continue to grow in popularity and scope, which requires multiple configurations, locations and times to accommodate the demand for tickets. For many fans the TSO show is a much anticipated holiday tradition. SoundPress.net had the pleasure of attending the afternoon performance of The Christmas Attic at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on December 21, 2014. As is their custom, TSO gave $1.00 of every ticket sale to charity with funds from this show raising more than $19,000 for local youth organizations.

We heard chimes as a winter landscape was revealed. Fans followed the camera though a somewhat eerie house into an attic full of books, boxes, toys etc. The screens shifted and a large chest taking up much of the stage appeared through the smoke. The choir, the rock band and the strings filled the arena with sound as incredible images of nature flowed across the screen. Banks of colorful lights coordinated with the music flashed out into the crowd, thus the spectacle had begun.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra Finds Holiday Treasures in the Attic in New Jersey
TSO founder Paul O'Neill (top left) and Dave "the bicep" Z. (bottom right)
added muscle to the annual holiday spectacular.

Narrator Bryan Hicks welcomed us asking us to please stay a while. In his rich voice he shared "Our story starts with one small child, who spent her nights in attics dark, where dreams are stored like sleeping hearts."

As the child searched the contents of the attic she found artifacts along with letters that revealed stories that were also full of life lessons. Tales told as only TSO can do with dazzling displays of visuals paired with vibrant orchestrated music that overloads the senses in a positive way. Woven into the stories were traditional Christmas songs presented in a pageantry of layered instrumentation and vocals. During a sequence that included "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" the TSO guitar players came out into the aisles. Later they would rise high above the audience on moving platforms. Another effect that delighted was falling snow crystallizing in the lights. This magical tool was used a number of times on Sunday afternoon.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra Finds Holiday Treasures in the Attic in New Jersey
New Jersey's own Russell Allen was a powerhouse performer.

"The Three Kings & I (What Really Happened)" unfolded with a pretty version of "O Holy Night" presented by a female vocalist accompanied by a pianist. The pace picked up as New Jersey's own Russell Allen in a powerful voice proclaimed what really happened that night with bold bass lines from Dave Z punctuating his points. The tune also had a bit of a blues vibe as Dave Z was holding his instrument as if it was a stand up bass before the tune flowed into a few bars of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir".

Later the girl finds a letter and news clippings about a man. In his world he was a great success but it appeared to the girl that it was a story of lost love and a lesson that material success does not buy happiness. Again the message was delivered with multi-faceted sounds and visuals. Mores tales were unwrapped as The Christmas Attic part of the show concluded with Bryan thanking the TSO fans, their road crew and the many musicians for being a part of this incredible concert.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra Finds Holiday Treasures in the Attic in New Jersey
Chris Caffery and Roddy Chong lift off at the Prudential Center.

Lasers, music and smoke set the tone for the high energy second set that started with fire and images of flying dragons with the music adding to the dark excitement. Then special guest and TSO founder Paul O'Neill armed with an acoustic performed the sentimental "Someday" with vocalist Kayla Reeves. "Sparks" from the Night Castle album was another rocking high point with pyro corresponding with the word "Sparks".

The keyboard solo showcased a sampling of great composers including Beethoven who Paul had mentioned earlier as being a part of TSO's DNA. The fan favorite "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" was part of the grand finale that as one would expect was explosive. With The Christmas Attic TSO transformed and transported us to a magical place but also gave us all a message of hope and a reminder to be kind and courteous to all.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra Finds Holiday Treasures in the Attic in New Jersey
Featured guitarists Chris Caffery and Joel Hoekstra in New Jersey.

Related Links: For more information on TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Trans-Siberian Orchestra | Prudential Center

(Originally Published on December 23, 2014)

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