If you've never heard of The Trans-Siberian Orchestra (or TSO, for short), their shtick is that they play Christmas songs and classical songs, but with a rock arrangement. So, in addition to piano .and violin, there's drums, two lead guitars, a bass, and lots of singers.
Okay, so it's a little bit cheesy, very 70's and 80's, with the laser light effects, pyrotechnics, and big, big hair. But on the other hand, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra rocked out for three solid hours, playing their guts out on the stage
These guys are amazing. If you ever have a chance to go see them, do it. I've seen them twice now, and each concert is a high-energy, superb experience.
They, essentially, play two full concerts every show. The first half is a Rock-Opera story thing, where a narrator guy links the songs together. Around the Holidays it's a story where an angel goes around trying to learn a valuable lesson, and helping others in the process. It's a little heavy-handed and didactic, but it's really good music, and fun to listen to.
Then, the second half of the concert is more free form, where we get introduced to the band, and lots of popular and classical songs are played. Where else are you gonna hear "Proud Mary" and "Carmina Burana" in the same concert?
(Oh, and the Carmina Burana was simply spectacular. It will hopefully be out on their new CD, in Summer of 2008).
I totally appreciate these guys work ethic. They know that they've got a good gig going, and they still bring tons of energy to the show. They have an insane touring schedule, too. But if you can get a chance to see them live, totally do it. It's a spectacle in every sense of the word.
(Addendum: Apparently, in certain venues, like Detroit, they play two full concerts a day--a matinee, and a later show. That means they play 6 hours of concert music in a day. Makes me feel tired just thiking about it. Huge props to the band.)