What is TSO and Why Do New Jersey Concertgoers Love Them?
Trans-Siberian Orchestra is coming to Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, on December 17th for two shows at 3:00 and 7:30. If you've never seen TSO, as their fans refer to them, you're missing one of the most electric concerts you'll ever see.
First things first, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra isn't an orchestra at all. It is a collection of talented musicians with a heavy metal background that's complimented by incredible singers and a narrator to take us through their performance of The Ghosts of Christmas Eve.
TSO actually has two bands on the road. They have an East band and a west Band. Their touring season begins each year in mid-November and wraps up December 30th.
The show starts with Jersey native Chris Caffery, a larger-than-life personality who immediately welcomes the crowd with a loud, "Helloooooo Philadelphia!" I should mention that this is BEFORE the show even starts.
Chris and a couple of singers come out to welcome the crowd and present a local organization with a large check. TSO donates a portion of all ticket sales to local organizations at every stop along the tour.
Once the show starts, it's sensory overload. Loud music, melodic singers, and a stage show that is on par with KISS or Queen (back in the day.) The lights and video are awesome, the laser effects are outrageous, and the pyro is unlike anything you've seen. Did I mention the snow that comes down on the audience?
The best way to describe a TSO show is it's the outrageous showmanship of KISS and the musicianship of Yes or ELO.
A few standouts to look for include Chloe Lowery, whose voice will melt you, and the guitar work of Chris Caffery and Joel Hoekstra are insane. Roddy Chong actually makes playing the violin look cool! Jeff Plate ties it all together on drums.
The collection of talented players on this tour is impressive.
I've had an opportunity to get to know Chris Caffery and the first thing you come to realize is how passionate he is about being a part of TSO. He's played every show since the band first came together in 1999.
Raised in Mahwah, Chris is a self-taught guitarist who, at the at of 13, was playing shows in bars in Ridgewood (North Jersey). The stage presence of Chris and fellow guitarist Joel Hoekstra is fun to watch. You don't have to be a fan of Christmas music. This is much more that.
One last thing, this is a great show for most age groups. It's a great first show for your kids. It's everything a great rock show should be. That said, I'd advise ear protection for the younger crowd.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra Live in Concert
Gallery Credit: Steve McKay/Townsquare