Trans-Siberian Orchestra (“TSO”) is an American progressive rock band founded in 1993 by Paul O’Neill formed the nucleus of this band along with Savatage members Jon Oliva and Al Pitrelli and keyboardist and co-producer Robert Kinkel. This arena rock super group began to pick up popularity in 1999 after the release of their second album, The Christmas Attic. TSO has sold over 10 million albums. Its rock operas released are Christmas Eve and Other Stories; The Christmas Attic; Beethoven’s Last Night; The Lost Christmas Eve; Night Castle; and Letters From the Labyrinth. The band is known for its elaborate concerts and extensive charity work. Sadly, Paul O’Neill died on April 5, 2017.
Christmas Eve and Other Stories is the debut album released on October 15, 1996, as the first album of their famous Christmas trilogy. All three are boxed along with The Ghosts of Christmas Eve DVD as The Christmas Trilogy. All of this music has touched my soul immensely. The first time I heard of the band, I was complaining to my ex wife that no one understood the sort of music I wrote and it just wasn’t popular any more. She smiled as she inserted a disc and asked if I had never heard of TSO. Since that date to the present as I am listening to the music now, this music has brought miles of smiles and a few tears that have left their traces over the last few decades.
The story is one that is familiar to many who have played rock music. A young man wandering lonely on Christmas Eve wanders into a bar. He meets a mysterious old man who reminds him of the magical effect Christmas has had on humanity. Then tells wondrous stories through a blend of classical and progressive rock. This remains one of the best selling Christmas/holiday albums in the United States. More importantly to me, it remains an album that brings tears to my eyes – joy mixed with wonder and a bit of sadness of times past and things that didn’t last. For all of these reasons and so much more, this album is and will always be rated as a 10 out of 10.
If you have never seen a live show by TSO with all of it pyrotechnics and light show and just the amazing stage presence, I could not recommend an experience more. There are plenty of choices on youtube. Check this out. You will not be let down.