Favorite

TSO without tuxes and pyro 

Fans of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra touring Christmas music show have a non-seasonal chance next week to see their favorite musicians in their alter-ego project, O’2L. Rather than the classical overtones of TSO, the band takes a bebop-fusion approach to music that highlights Jane Mangini Pitrelli.

She’s Al Pitrelli’s wife. Al’s big-rock, big-guitar Megadeth-style of playing for Trans-Siberian Orchestra takes a backseat when the band reforms as O’2L.

“It’s not about me shredding and burning solos all night,” Al said by telephone last week. “I just become my wife’s utility man, which I can think of worse things to be. And I drive the truck. A 20-foot box truck was our Christmas present to each other this year.”

O’2L is coming Thursday, March 22, to Sticky Fingerz. When we talked the other day, I was the first to break the news to Al that O’2L would now be going up against the Who that same night. The Who is performing at Alltel Arena along with Rose Hill Drive in a show starting at 7:30 p.m.

No worries. O’2L will be happy to accommodate Sticky’s club owner Chris King and the local TSO fans who were wanting to come out but still might want to see the Who: They’ll start their show later than usual and play late as well. So, expect O’2L to crank up around 10-ish, perhaps. Those riding the bus shuttle from Little Rock over to Alltel Arena can get back off and walk the three blocks to Sticky Fingerz for what promises to be a great show.

It’s especially good for me, because I’ve been looking forward to it since TSO’s appearance in December. When Al told me before that show that O’2L had never played Little Rock — but TSO was drawing sellout crowds two years in a row at Alltel Arena — I suggested a couple of clubs in the area. Al got in touch with King at Sticky’s and the date was set the day TSO played Alltel.

Rather than me explaining O’2L’s complete sound, I recommend you check out www.o2lmusic.com.

But, if you’ve seen the second half of TSO’s shows here, you’ve already got a general idea about the talents involved in O’2L.

Tommy Farese and “Mad” Max Mann from TSO sing and play percussion. Kelly Keeling also sings. John O. Reilly is the drummer and Chris Olthoff is the bassist.

The star of O’2L is Janie Pitrelli, who wows fans with her versatile keyboard work. She grew up interested in the bluesy sound of the Allman Brothers and other Southern groups, and also had a natural grasp of gospel. Her style continued to evolve into jazz.

“I’ve said this since I first heard her, she’s an 85-year-old black man in a cute girl’s body,” Al says.

Her record label dubbed her one of the five most important keyboardists playing today. Behind Jane, her metal-head husband also shows off a versatility that fans don’t necessarily see in a TSO show.

“My wife’s music covers all bases, she doesn’t write with any one thing in mind,” Al said. “At any time, I’ll be playing banjo on a country [song] or Wes Montgomery style on guitar on our version of ‘Riders on the Storm.’

“... Jane shouldn’t be able to do what she does, she has these really tiny hands, but it’s in her soul. You can’t teach that. It’s been with her since birth.”

Most of the players in TSO and O’2L live in the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania, about 90 minutes from Manhattan. They can accomplish most of their practicing and recording chores at Al and Jane’s home studio, then take what they have to rehearsals with TSO creator Paul O’Neil in the summer. The O’2L tour traditionally starts on St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland and journeys through the South and into Texas for a couple of months.

So, without the fake snow, the explosions and the laser lights, will TSO fans even recognize their heroes?

“It’s us just without the tuxedos and the pyro,” Pitrelli said. “Instead of the autograph signing like after a TSO concert, we’ll have a TSO fan who wants to sit down and have a martini after the show.”

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Jim Harris

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Watch the trailer for 'Shelter,' the Renaud Bros. new doc on homeless kids in New Orleans

    Check out the trailer for "Shelter," the Renaud Bros. new feature-length documentary about homeless teens navigating life on the streets of New Orleans with the help of Covenant House, the longstanding French Quarter shelter for homeless kids.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in Jim Harris

  • What a great, fast eight years

    Eight years. I’ve really been “at the job” of newspapers for much longer, it just focused on entertainment during these past eight years. Starting next week, it will focus on sports. Again. Where I started eons ago.
    • May 4, 2007
  • Mickelson goes by the numbers

    It's all in the short game, Phil Mickelson says s at Alotian.
    • Apr 26, 2007
  • Back to what I really love

    Where was I, the sports lover, the guy who couldn’t wait for Dickey-Stephens to open, a few of you may ask? I was checking out one of my other loves: a local, original music show at Juanita’s that the University of Central Arkansas Honors College had pull
    • Apr 23, 2007
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation