The world famous and multi-platinum rock opera band, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, rocked Sacramento on Friday, December 2nd at the Golden 1 Center. Providing two showtimes, a matinee at 3:00pm and an evening at 7:00pm, concert goers were in for a merry and bright experience, and as the weekend’s storm rolled in, the chilly holiday winds welcomed The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. With nearly every seat filled, everyone in attendance eagerly awaited the show that was sure to kick off the holiday season.
Above the audience was a lightly lit marquee that displayed the band’s name in classic black lettering, surrounded by festive lighting and visual displays. As the lights dimmed and applause rang, the storyteller, Phillip Brandon, emerged beneath the purple and orange haze. He began his immersive dialogue, transporting the crowd to the beginning of the magical story ahead. Awakening the splendor of the holidays within the audience, a Christmas bell began to ring as Jane Mangini’s keys showered the audience and Blas Elias brought life to the heart, with every beat of the drum. Al Pitrelli’s opening riffs of “O Come All Ye Faithful” from the band’s 2016 album The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, brightened up the venue like a beacon of light. Purple, blue, and green lighting illuminated the audience, perfectly segueing into beaming white rays as Angus Clark took center stage.
As the intro of the “Good King Joy,” from the band’s 1996 album Christmas Eve and Other Stories, radiated from each band member, Angus lifted his left arm and continued to seamlessly pluck strings with his right. He held his palm up to the sky and began swaying his arm from left to right, as if maintaining tempo like a metronome. Encouraging the audience to join him, everyone in the crowd raised one hand and joined in, moving in unison. Rosa Laricchiuta beautifully sang each lyric as she waved to the audience, proving to be as fresh as the tattooed ink on her arms. One by one, various band members took turns taking center stage. Rockin’ “Christmas Dreams” from the band’s 2004 album, The Lost Christmas Eve, Dino Jelusic walked out while tossing his microphone up in front of him. As Dino caught his mic, he smiled and engaged with the cheering crowd. His powerhouse vocals had the audience rollin’ and tumblin’.
The playful riff off between Angus and Andrew Ross during this song, as each took turns playing the guitar solo, reverberated through the venue. Through the laughter, friendly competitive glances, and head shaking moments towards one another, their strong stage presence proved to be as noticeable as their close brotherly bond. This special moment was filled with such unique energy, an energy that only two very close-knit and skilled guitarists could create. Suddenly an explosion of white light, billowing smoke clouds, lasers, and multi-colored lights entranced the audience while the band began playing their remastered instrumental “Christmas Eve / Sarajevo 12/24” from their 2016 album The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. Taking to the elevating hydraulics on stage, Angus, John Lee Middleton, and Asha Mevlana began to rise and lower above the crowd, like a harmonized visual sound wave. Joined by Al and Andrew, the band shared the stage and finished the song surrounded by lasers, smoke, and blazing flames. This amazing performance left the audience blown away, resulting in a standing ovation.
Phillip continued to guide the audience through each phase of the melodic story, setting the mood wonderfully with his captivating tone and stage presence. The grace that is Chloe Lowery, sang “Christmas Canon Rock” from the band’s 2004 album The Lost Christmas Eve, followed by “Promises to Keep” from the band’s 1996 album Christmas Eve and Other Stories, accompanied by supporting vocals and instrumentals. Her vocal skills and poise were unmatched as she effortlessly sang through a broad spectrum of ranges. Between every flirty hair flip and the detailed choreography, she had the audience mesmerized. Chloe then stepped into supporting vocals, sharing the spotlight with Dustin Brayley and Nate Amor. Through misty yellow lighting, Dustin serenaded the audience with “What Child Is This?” from the band’s 2004 album The Lost Christmas Eve, and was followed by Nate’s candlelit performance of “Magic Box Blues” from their 1998 album, The Christmas Attic. Both received roaring applause from the crowd.
Snowflakes began dancing across the jumbo screens on the stage as rhythmic lasers created starbursts across the audience. Kicking off the remastered song “First Snow” from the band’s 2016 album The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. Asha and Angus played together at center stage, accompanied by their fellow band members while glimmering faux ice crystals began to glide through the air, adding to the already magical experience. The audience clapped along to each beat as the guitarists head banged, flowing their hair back and forth. Taking a moment to speak to the audience, Al addressed how wonderful it was to see such a great crowd filled with smiling faces. He thanked the men and women of the armed forces, the festive attire of some concert goers, and the band’s amazing crew, adding that they could never in a million years do their jobs onstage without all the men and women beneath it, above it, and behind it. The gratitude was a very thoughtful touch that received a heartfelt response from the audience. Al then announced that for the first time ever, the band was going to play a brand new song for everyone.
The audience cheered and whistled as Angus showcased the chuggy riff of the intro. Suspended above the crowd on rotating platforms, Asha fiercely played strings while Andrew showered the audience with electric whammies and soaring chords. As this took place, Jane’s fingers danced through the keys while Angus built up a catchy riff, both playing back-to-back with smiling eyes to the stars. A moment that triggered another riff off – this time between Al and Angus. Both playing like the total guitar legends they are, they found ways to one up one another throughout the guitar solo. Acknowledging one another’s skill, they brilliantly blended their playing styles for one hell of a melodious moment. From there, they seamlessly transitioned into the song “A Mad Russian’s Christmas” from the band’s 1996 album, Christmas Eve and Other Stories, Asha ignited the venue as she wildly played her violin with warrior-like power; a true melodic goddess with stage presence that could not go unnoticed.
Spellbound by what was just experienced, the audience was thrown right into the song “Wizards in Winter” from the band’s 2004 album, The Lost Christmas Eve. Giving the crowd thrills and chills, the band rocked out to an array of lasers, visual displays, mythical fog, and fire cannons. Taking to the skies once more, an elevated walkway lowered for Angus and Asha to hitch a ride above the audience. They showered the crowd in rock n’ roll and left most speechless as the song came to an end. Slowing things down a bit, Al took a moment to honor the late Paul O’ Neill, mentioning that losing someone close can be difficult, but he would rather miss someone terribly than to never have had them in his life. These deeply genuine words touched the hearts of the audience.
As the show came to a close, the band played another rendition of the song “Christmas Eve / Sarajevo 12/24”, from their 1996 album, Christmas Eve and Other Stories. Most of the band members took to the skies one last time, shaking the venue to its core, a gloriously triumphant finale that had the audience out of their seats and rockin’ around the Christmas tree. The band members lined up for their final bow as concert goers provided a standing ovation with tremendous applause. Trans-Siberian Orchestra truly rocked the night away. An absolute must see this and every holiday season!