Live Review: Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Philips Arena, December 2

By Jenna Hughes; photo by Lewis Lee, from the 2010 tour

“In the moments of our lives, both the joyous and the tragic, if the truth is to be told we are all pursuing magic.”

These words resonated through the crowd at Philips Arena in Atlanta on December 2, a poetic narrative that preceded the onslaught of lights, lasers and pyrotechnics of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The band erupted onto the stage with “Who I Am,” a fast-paced, heart-pounding song featuring all seven vocalists and an orchestra that had the crowd mesmerized from the very beginning of their two-and-a-half-hour set.

Amidst a backdrop of twinkling lights resembling the night sky, narrator Brian Hicks continued the story of an angel descending to Earth on Christmas Eve, his voice filled with trembling emotion as he spoke. Also heard on the band’s album Christmas Eve and Other Stories, the story tells the tale of a man who wanders into a bar on Christmas Eve and is approached by an old man who tells him about the angel coming to Earth to “bring back to God the one thing that best represents everything good that has been done in the name of this day.”

The band played Christmas Eve and Other Stories nearly in its entirety, beginning with “An Angel Came Down,” soaring through the lively “O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night,” slowing things down with the gorgeous “Promises To Keep” and ending with “Epilogue,” a grand finale to an epic and heartwarming story.

But this was only the beginning of what Trans Siberian Orchestra had to offer. Without missing a beat, they began the second half of the show with “Mozart and Memories,” from their newest album “Night Castle.” The stage lit up with dazzling pyrotechnics and lightning effects, synchronized to the music perfectly.

Vocalist Kayla Reeves had her chance to shine, performing a medley of “Someday/Child Unseen,” which was the highlight of the night for me. Her strong voice gave me chills and she owned the stage with a rock star persona reminiscent of Joan Jett. However, she was not the only standout vocalist of the night. Ashley Adamek’s soaring, operatic voice gave life to “The Queen of the Winter Night,” during which she rose from the middle of the arena on a platform, dancing and interacting with the crowd before returning to the stage.

After the array of lasers, pyrotechnics and falling snow, it was hard to imagine what Trans Siberian Orchestra could do to top it all off. Then the massive lighting rig that had been attached to the ceiling slowly descended over the crowd, resting inches above their heads and jutting out in three different directions. The band eagerly ran out to play on the moving platforms, the vocalists and dancers following and the fans cheering them on.

Returning to the stage, the band finished out their epic set with “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo,” ending with a lavish display of lasers, fireworks and pyrotechnics that left the crowd wanting more. If Trans Siberian Orchestra wanted to pursue magic, they need look no further. They’re made of the stuff.


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