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Trans-Siberian Orchestra heats up holiday season 

Group reprises Christmas show at Alltel Arena on Dec. 21.

HO, HO, TSO: At Alltel.
  • HO, HO, TSO: At Alltel.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is what you’d get if Pink Floyd met Christmas -– a symphonic rock concert with a holiday feel and a laser and light show that, as one music fan who attended last year’s show at Alltel Arena said afterward, is “amazing.” OK, he added another adjective before amazing, but this is a family paper and TSO is a family show, drawing fans spanning three generations, so we’ll leave it at that.

TSO makes its second-straight seasonal return to Alltel Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, $40 and $50 through all Ticketmaster outlets, charge-by-phone at 975-7575, online at www.ticketmaster.com or the arena box office (975-9000).

With three Christmas albums out, including 2004’s rock opera “The Lost Christmas Eve,” Trans-Siberian Orchestra has grown from playing seven shows in larger cities seven years ago to morphing into two touring groups and cramming in as many stops as possible in a eight-week holiday schedule, and for many fans it’s become a season tradition. Last year’s TSO tour ranked among the top 10 grossing tours of 2004. An Alltel Arena official says that this show is selling well ahead of last year’s and will be set up with more of the lower bowl seating available.

TSO was created by multi-instrumentalist Paul O’Neill, who writes the material. In each stop TSO incorporates local orchestral musicians with its traveling set of rock performers, singers, story narrator, pyrotechnics and lasers and lights.

Earlier releases by TSO are “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” -– which included the holiday hit “Christmas Even Sarajevo 12/24” -– and “The Christmas Attic.” TSO also has a DVD, “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve.” “The Lost Christmas Eve” closes the trilogy and is a musical journey of loss and redemption, fusing such styles as rock, classical, pop, folk, Broadway and R&B. Fans will recognized the timeless Christmas melodies that serve as themes for the orchestral rock.

“It’s a story about Christmas and its ability to change endings,” O’Neill says. “If there’s anything in the past that you regret, hopefully this album will give you an excuse to go back and correct it. I think that’s what Christmas is about -- it gives you an excuse to be kinder, to apologize for a past wrong, to do good.”

TSO continues to debut new music during its tours, and this year will perform at least one song from “Nightcastle,” its forthcoming album.

For a preview of TSO, the band will appear on “Regis and Kelly” at 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 15.

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