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.
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. .