This has been a very merry Christmas indeed. Part of our gifts we gave this year was a bit of a gift to ourselves and to a family who has been so good to us and has supported us for many years. So, we decided to treat ourselves and them to tickets to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).
For those who don’t know who the TSO are, here’s a napkin sketch of my understanding of the history. Brothers Jon and Criss Oliva along with Steve Wacholz and Keith Collins form a band called Avatar. After a few years, they change the band name to Savatage. They become successful and write many albums and tour all over the world. In 1987, Paul O’Neill becomes producer for Savatage. Things continue to grow until, sadly, in 1993, Criss Oliva is killed in a car accident by a drunken driver. The band continues on, continuing to bring great music to the world. Then, in 1996, Paul O’Neill, Jon Oliva and Bob Kinkel start a new project leveraging the success of Savatage’s song “Christmas Eve,” forming the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. (Great explanation for the name in this AMZ interview with Paul O’Neill.)
And, on December 29th, 2003 … I had the incredible pleasure of seeing TSO perform, live in concert, right here in Newark, New Jersey. Here’s a really brief experience report I wrote about the concert:
My wife and I got to get out for a night last night and we saw the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark … it f@#% ROCKED ASS! Holy cow, what great musicians, great music, incredibly high-energy, head-banging rock and a wicked light show … and the best versions of Marriage of Figaro, Beethoven’s Fifth, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and others … man. If you ever get a chance to see TSO live, DO IT! It is so worth the money.
I can’t repeat enough how happy I am to see real musicians still performing the art of music in 2003. There certainly isn’t much art left in music today, so I hope these guys can keep it up and keep it alive. I certainly want to support the cause however I can.