NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

December 13, 2012

A Seasonal Spectacle

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

(Continued)

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s 80-plus member troupe splits into two groups for the Christmas tour, allowing the production to play two cities a night through the holiday season. The shows, O’Neill said, are identical and top-flight, with elaborate effects that incorporate lights, lasers, fog and pyrotechnics.

“Anything that fits,” O’Neill said.

While he’s not a big fan of the changes the digital revolution has brought to the record industry, O’Neill admits that TSO’s acclaimed live shows are better as a result of technology.

“There are 30,000 lighting changes in the show, some of them coming in seconds,” he said. “We couldn’t do that without computers. Sometimes I’m surprised we can do them with computers. But we do. We want to have the top production out there. We spare no expenses to do that.”

That said, O’Neill’s philosophy always has been to keeps its ticket prices low. On the 2012 winter tour, tickets range from $25 to $75 to see the lavish production. That’s far less than the going rate for similar concerts, he said.

“What’s the point of having the greatest rock production in the world if only corporations, the wealthy or the insiders are going to see it?,” O’Neill asked. “I want it so the kid that’s raking the leaves has the same chance of getting tickets as Bill Gates.”

Those who buy online tickets for “The Last Christmas Eve” show also get a digital download of “Dreams of Fireflies (On A Christmas Night),” a five-song EP TSO released Oct. 30.

“It was our way of saying thank-you to the fans,” O’Neill said. “In the stores or online, it’s $5 or less if you buy it. That’s less than the minimum wage. That’s painless. It’s a little gem anybody can afford.”

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