NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

December 13, 2012

A Seasonal Spectacle

Trans-Siberian Orchestra changes sets with message from 'Lost Christmas Eve'

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra once again will provide a soundtrack for the holidays, bringing its combination rock band/orchestra show to stages in the wider region.

Having toured for the holidays since 1999, the orchestra is changing things up for fans this season. Rather than the traditional show that makes the 1996 album “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” the centerpiece, TSO founder, leader and composer Paul O’Neill says the new format will bring the performance freshness while telling an important story.

“We decided this year to switch to ‘The Last Christmas Eve’ (the third album in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra trilogy of holiday CDs), because I thought it would resonate better,” said O’Neill. “When I wrote it in 2004, I didn’t know how well it would fit after the crash of 2008.”

The main character in “The Lost Christmas Eve” is a billionaire banker. Forty years earlier, he abandoned his infant son because the boy was unhealthy. Rich but miserable, he bumps into a small child who asks him if he has children. The question triggers waves of regret and starts him on a search for the now-grown baby he turned over to the state years before.

After interventions by an angel and a search that leads him to a hospital where crack babies are cared for and a single-room occupancy building in the Bronx, the man finds his son. And he discovers that, while relatively poor, the son is happy.

“Little by little, he makes a transition; finds the miracle and the meaning. And there’s a happy ending,” O’Neill said. “Because, like all of my shows, if you want sad, read the newspaper. There’s too much Frank Capra in me.”

“The Lost Christmas Eve” will make up the first set of the evening for Trans-Siberian Orchestra. In the second set, the band will perform a mix of songs from its other albums, with, of course, a Christmas emphasis.

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