Trans-Siberian Orchestra takes over Mohegan Sun Arena with Ghosts of Christmas Eve tour
Since they began touring 17 years ago, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra has grown from a band that puts on big shows in little theaters to an act that fills arenas with rock opera grandeur. With crowd interaction, surreal light displays, moving stage parts and pyrotechnics so intense they warmed the faces of the audience, the Christmas rock powerhouse arrived in Wilkes-Barre Friday night.
Playing two shows at the Mohegan Sun Arena and backed by a string section comprised of members of the Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, TSO entertained audiences with their Beethoven meets Metallica brand of classically influenced, holiday heavy metal. The house was packed for the evening performance, and the orchestra brilliantly delivered their second offering of their Ghosts of Christmas Eve show.
An enveloping digital video display brought the crowd into an ominous looking stone castle as TSO opened with a cut off of their newest album, Letters From the Labyrinth, called “Time and Distance (The Dash).” Their follow up “Winter Palace” gave the crowd its first whiff of the metal to come with a searing dual guitar performance, and then the rock gave way to an inviting storyteller. The guide and narrator sent the crowd on a journey with a young girl who ran away from home on Christmas Eve.
The narrative took the girl to an old theater where she meets a caretaker who teaches her lessons with the help of ghosts who inhabit the theater. The story played out over bold and riveting performances of “O Come All Ye Faithful” into “O Holy Night” and “Good King Joy,” which arranges “Good King Wenceslas” and “Joy To The World” together into a classical rock masterpiece.
The crowd got to its feet when TSO played perhaps their most widely known composition “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24).” The dark and provocatively edgy take on “Carol of the Bells” had listeners in an uproar.
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Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter@TLArts.