Just witnessed your
best live gig?.. send us a review!
TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA
Hammersmith Apollo, 28 March 2011
At long last the UK gets to see the live debut of the Trans-Siberian
Orchestra, a band who are massive in the US, so much so that they have
two touring versions of the band at the same time for the east and west
coast of the US.
The TSO is
the brainchild of Paul O'Neill and Jon Oliva, both of whom worked
together in Savatage. They are joined by fellow Savatage members'
guitarists Al Pitrelli (who is also the live musical director) and Chris
Caffrey, drummer Jeff Plate and bass player Johnny Lee Middleton. Sadly
though, Jon Oliva wasn't able to make the London show.
The crowd was a mix of metal fans (good to see a healthy scattering of
Savatage T-shirts around), many who seem to have come out of curiosity
and bizarrely a few dressed in their theatre/opera garb. Hopefully they
were not expecting a full classical concert!
The setlist was in the main the whole of 2000's 'Beethoven's Last
Night', possibly chosen for the European audience, in particular Germany
where the TSO played the majority of their European dates.
heard this album until tonight (I came into the TSO via their three
excellent Christmas themed albums), I was struck by the sheer quality of
the songs and the musicianship.
at the heart of the TSO lies a prog rock beast it was heartening that
there were no overlong solos or drum solo. TSO deftly mix rock and
classical music, something others have tried in the past but not as
successfully as the TSO.
Between the music the narrator Bryan Hicks (he only lost marks for me
when he tried to imitate a female voice) kept the story going. The plot
revolves around Beethoven on his last night on earth having to do a deal
with the devil (Mephistopheles), whose songs are ably handled by none
other than Jeff Scott Soto (Journey/Talisman/Malmsteen), the only 'name'
vocalist in a very impressive set of singers. The whole of 'Beethoven's
Last Night' was like watching a West End musical, albeit with a metal
The musicianship was exemplary from the guitars of Chris Caffrey and Al
Pitrelli through to the keyboards of Vitalij Kuprij and Mee Eun Kim,
with a special mention to the mad violinist Roddy Chong. He played a
whirling dervish at times and really threw himself whole heartedly into
But a TSO
show isn't just about the music it is the whole spectacle from the
lights to the lasers and the flames (which put Kiss to shame). The light
show is simply stunning but never too much to take anything away from
Savatage fans had a treat as well with snippets of that band's music
appearing throughout the set, for example 'Mozart And Memories'
contained part of 'Mozart And Madness' from the band.
'Beethoven's Last Night' set we had some real treats with 'The Mountain'
(again featuring part of a Savatage song) and a wonderful version of
'Sleep', featuring Kayla Reeves on vocals, definitely a name to watch as
she has the voice and the stage presence of a born rock star.
song of the night was 'Chance', another Savatage song and specially
requested by the absent Jon Oliva to close the show. Andrew Ross sang
this one and put in a sterling performance.
One of the best live shows I have seen, both in terms of the music and
the stage show. They are a definite 'must see', not just for rock fans
but anyone after a memorable live musical show.
The TSO promised to be back and I am sure once the word spreads about
how good the whole show is they will be playing a bigger venue and for
more than one night.
they can bring their Christmas show over as I am sure that would go down
very well indeed with the European audiences.
Review by Jason Ritchie
|Print this page in printer-friendly format
|Tell a friend about this page