TSO Plays Two Shows In Philly



Alex Lloyd Gross Photo-Delaware valley News.com Joel Hoekstra live with TSO

by Alex Lloyd Gross

Dec 18 2021

It’s officially holiday time. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra  is on tour and they played two shows at the hockey and basketball arena named after a bank in South Philadelphia on December 17,2021   This band did not disappoint,  2021 is the 25h anniversary of this band. The music is heavy and the stage production is elaborate. With laser, strobes, and fire,  the show was as good as every year , but a few changes due to the pandemic.

The first was no audience interaction with the band. This band was known for having guitarist Joel Hoekstra, or Roddy Chong   jump into the crowd and patrol the aisles as they played their music. Sadly, that did not happen. There is also a free meet and greet at the end of the second show.  That did  not  happen either.  What did happen was a snow storm inside the arena,  lasers and good music.

The show is divided into two parts.The first narrated by Bryan Hicks. who does a fantastic job of storytelling.   Most of the first show crowd  were veterans of previous TSO shows.  As soon as he took the stage, he was greeted by a rousing applause.  Hicks took off his top hat and began to speak about Christmas a long time ago, . The scene was set at the Old City Bar, which could be anywhere. It just so happens Philly has an area called Old City. It’s also the name of  a song that TSO did. The second part of the show is without any narration.

This  band features the vocals of Kayla Reeves, who  is a returning member. However, fans looking to get more info on her are lead to a dead link or are redirected to other sites  when they click on the link from the official TSO page.  She grabbed a guitar and joined the band for “Carol Of the Bells” and  we are not giving too much away  but suffice it to say it involved fire, lasers and more.

Alex Lloyd Gross Photo-Delaware Valley News.com Bryan Hicks, the story teller

When TSO comes to your town, it’s best to see them twice, First  from the floor,  up close. The second show should be from the back. You get to see the entire light show. It’s well worth the cost of admission. Plus you see things you will miss by being up close.  Songs like “Wizards In Winter” and “Christmas Eve Sarajevo”  got the crowd on their feet.  Slower songs with no stage effects  did not get as good a response. Those songs are integral to the show but it seemed the crowd wanted more rockers

The female vocal team is just as important as the band, or the storyteller. They will stand as a group to one side of the stage and turn their heads, flipping their hair. That small part of the show is a crowd favorite.  So is the length of the show, clocking in at just about 2 1/2 hours.  If you are planning to see this show, and have in penciled in on your calendar, cross it off and put it on your calendar in ink. TWICE.. Make a day of it. .


Alex Lloyd Gross
Alex Lloyd Gross has the reputation for aggressive news coverage. With over 40 years experience including working at The News Gleaner, and had his work published in books and magazines that span the entire globe. With a strong background in emergency service related topics, he can bring forth a perspective that others cannot.
A contributor to Starfile Photo Agency for 20 years, Alex has been given access to and has photographed luminaries of both stage and screen.
He now shares his talent with you.