We had the opportunity to attend opening night of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's winter tour of "The Lost Christmas Eve" Thursday night in Council Bluffs, Iowa as guests of TSO. I don't know if there are enough adjectives in my vocabulary to describe the spectacle that is a TSO show. Fantastic, superb, amazing, unbelievable and terrific are just a few that jump off the top.

I've been a fan of TSO almost from their inception in 1996 by Paul O'Neill, who was on hand last night in Council Bluffs and came out to perform with the band during the encore. After a successful career as a musician in 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and 'Hair' in the 80's as well as producing CD's from Aerosmith, Savatage and others, AND being a successful concert promoter, O'Neill decided he wanted to marry orchestra music with metal. Trans-Siberian Orchestra was born.

You may not even realize how much of their music you already recognize like 'Christmas Eve in Sarajevo' (which they closed the show with!) and 'Wizards in Winter'. Not only do you hear them every holiday season on B102.7, but you've heard them in the movies, on TV, at a Western Mall Christmas, and SO many other places.

'The Lost Christmas Eve' is complete with a narrator, (whose voice I would love to have) and nearly two dozen musicians and singers. Add in a laser light show and pyrotechnics that would make Pink Floyd and every 80's metal band jealous, and you're just starting to get the idea.

Al Pitrelli acts as musical director on the tour we saw. A masterful guitarist, Pitrelli has played with Alice Cooper, Asia, Megadeth, Savatage and others before being summoned by O'Neill to be part of the core TSO group. A very humble New Yorker and a standout guitar player.

After seeing violinist Roddy Chong at the spring show here in Sioux Falls, I didn't think anyone could compare. I was wrong. Asha Mevlana is as talented as she is beautiful.

Andrew Ross took several turns as lead vocalist and picked up a guitar (making three guitarists plus bass for the encore) is very talented and really stood out.

But the highlight for me was Chloe Lowery. Lowery was on the spring tour here in Sioux Falls and was featured vocalist on one song then, but she was featured numerous times on the winter tour including TSO's take on the classic 'O Come All Ye Faithful' that her vocals literally made the hair stand up on my arms. WOW.

The next time TSO plays near Sioux Falls is Saturday, December 29 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. If you have the means, I would strongly recommend this phenomenal show.


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