Review by Nick Shotwell
On Tuesday, December 26th, Al Pitrelli led the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) back to Indianapolis, Indiana, maintaining the group's longstanding tradition of holiday touring throughout the Midwest. The ensemble delivered two exceptional performances that day, scheduled at 3 pm and 7:30 pm. Despite having completed eight shows in just four days, the quality, energy, and sincerity of the performers remained remarkable.
The performance began with a heartwarming welcome to Indianapolis, accompanied by a presentation highlighting the generous donations of thousands of dollars to local charities, courtesy of ticket sales. Shortly after, the stage lit up with mesmerizing laser lights as the music filled the air. Phillip Brandon took on the role of the beloved Storyteller, narrating the tale of a runaway teenage girl who grappled with the loss of her dreams and innocence. Throughout the concert, the narrative unfolded, depicting the girl's discovery by a guardian angel who guided her towards rediscovering her aspirations and yearning for home and family.
The concert defied expectations by steering away from a fast-paced, heavy-metal sound. Instead, it gradually gained momentum throughout the show, allowing each band member their moment in the spotlight. Chloe Lowery captivated the audience as the lead female vocalist, adorned with flowing blonde hair and an exceptional voice. Dustin Brayley, the 'tattooed' Rosa Laricchiuta, Andrew Ross, and newcomer Matt Laurent all delivered stunning vocal performances, seamlessly taking turns leading the orchestra.
I had hoped Joel Hoekstra would return to TSO, recalling his captivating performance from my first TSO concert years ago. However, Angus Clark is currently lead guitar, embodying the quintessential essence of an '80s rock guitarist, infusing a hard-rock edge into this contemporary Christmas music. Additionally, Asha Mevlana's presence completed the ensemble in a truly distinctive manner. Her electric violin prowess showcased that TSO isn't simply a rock band playing Christmas tunes; it's a peerless rock orchestra that illuminates stages across the country during November and December. It's become a cherished tradition for families nationwide, a testament to the late Paul O'Neal's enduring legacy.
During the concert, I found myself seated just behind Al Pitrelli's wife and daughters. Occasionally, Pitrelli would tenderly place his hand over his heart, wink, and lovingly gesture toward his girls. It was evident how deeply rooted the music and TSO's tradition are in Pitrelli's life. He engaged the Indianapolis crowd, asking for a show of hands from those who had attended a TSO show before. The sea of raised hands prompted Pitrelli to express gratitude to Indianapolis, mentioning that he had brought his wife and daughters from their Pennsylvania hometown to share in the Christmas celebration in Indianapolis and to relish the TSO performance. This dedication resonated as TSO continued their incredibly intense tour schedule, packing in as many shows as possible during the festive season.
Whether or not you're a fan of TSO's sound, music undeniably forms an integral part of the Christmas tradition, as crucial as trees, lights, and gifts. TSO annually bestows the gift of Christmas music, and if you're open to embracing new traditions or seeking a fresh experience, attending a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert before the 2023 tour concludes should be on your radar. Alternatively, earmarking it for next year could offer an exciting addition to your holiday plans.
Check https://www.trans-siberian.com/tour for the last few dates of 2023!