ORLANDO – It was a remarkable moment, in a city experiencing 80 degree temperatures in December that’s left some, perhaps, with a longing for a holiday season that reflects the images on television commercials showing snow-covered landscapes and holiday lights illuminating the night sky.
On Sunday, for a little while, that very image came beautifully to life, in a most appealing way, as it started to snow insided the Amway Center’s auditorium.
In following the saga of a 40-year-old man who spends Christmas Eve mourning the son he had abandoned to a state institution, the stage at the Amway swept the audience into New York City, to a rundown hotel, then an old toy store, a blues bar, and a gothic cathedral – and yes, it did snow, as blue lights captured the sight of the flakes falling above the crowd.
It was “The Live Debut of The Lost Christmas Eve show,” which came to this city in a stunning performance at the Amway that brought a huge crowd to a standing ovation by the end. For those looking for ways to connect to the nostalgic buzz of the season, Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s unique mix of classical, orchestral and rock and heavy metal music was as rousing as it gets.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra performed two shows on Sunday at the Amway, bringing the band’s “Lost Christmas Eve 2012” tour to the City Beautiful, in a tour sponsored by the Hallmark Channel.
While some people might associate a Christmas concert with the notion of a high school chorus singing Christmas carols or an orchestra performing Handel’s “Messiah,” they would be missing out on a first rate performance if they assumed Trans-Siberian Orchestra could not deliver them into the holiday spirit.
It was a combination of both a stunning multifacted show — and a charitable endeavor, since vocalist Andrew Ross noted at the very start that “One dollar from every ticket sold here today will go to a local charity,” as he then presented a check for $8,400 to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, a private, non-profit organization that collects and distributes donated food to more than 500 nonprofit partner agencies in six Central Florida counties.
And then … quiet darkness, until we see above the stage a clock, slowly ticking and swinging back and forth, to the gentle sounds of the band’s violin section. But not for long.
Suddenly flames shot out of the clock — and then the entire stage, as the electric guitars pumped the band’s hard-charging sound into the Amway auditorium.
“Another year has come and passed,” storyteller Phillip Brandon tells the audience, “like the sand in an hourglass.” As snow falls above, Brandon takes us to New York City, for the final installment In TSO’s Christmas trilogy. We start on a journey with that sad business man, as Brandon notes that there’s something about Christmas Eve that allows humans to correct mistakes we’ve made in our lives.
“It’s never too late to change any lives,” Brandon tells us.
“The Lost Christmas Eve show” provided the Amway audience with Trans-Siberian Orchestra employing a Christmas theme, and one brought vividly to life with a full orchestra, choir, and the band’s stable of singers and rock musicians. Along the way were some incredible moments, including “Wish Liszt (Toy Shop Madness),” an instrumental about a toy shop that allowed the guitarists to replicate the sounds of a horse neighing, and a terrific rock version of the Christmas Carol “What Child Is This?”
The rock opera lasted roughly 90 minutes, and then the band performed rock songs for another hour, in a show that provided as much visual delights as it did amazing sounds – from the flames shooting up from the stage to the pyrotechnic lights constantly flashing across the auditorium. Little was left to the imagination – save, perhaps, for the moral of the story, about finding and grasping onto hope in a cynical age.
As Brandon noted, “Hope never dies … it only sleeps a while.”
For Trans-Siberian Orchestra, this mix of holiday spirits, hope and progressive rock demonstrated why an arena like the Amway is the ideal place to gather so much energy, creativity and passion, that it leaves you feeling excited and recharged long after the show is over.
To learn more about the band, log on to Trans Siberian Orchestra.
To learn more about upcoming concerts at the Amway Center, visit Amway.
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