Trans-Siberian Orchestra
December 12, 2000
Concert Review


Detroit, MI
by Steven Thode



WOW! What a great show. Did I expect anything else though? I had only found out just a few nights before the show that the show had been split up into two companies. I scrambled to find out (figure out) which group would do the Detroit show. I really wanted to see Chris and Alex, while my wife was really looking forward to seeing Johnny again after meeting him last year (gee, wonder why). I was pretty sure we would get Chris, Alex, Bob, Jeff, etc., based on the other city's reviews. I was right.

I must admit, I had my doubts about Dave Z filling Johnny's shoes for the show, but no more. Dave really did a great job. I'm actually glad to see some new talent get a shot like this. After the show, my wife even admitted that she wasn't so sorry for missing Johnny. It was great to see Alex Skolnick play. His duet with Darryl was astounding. Speaking of Darryl, I don't think just saying he is a great singer does him enough credit. Jeff was solid as usual (except for one missed beat which was recovered from very quickly). Bob was perfect, like always. As for Joe Cerisano...true, it's not the same without Tom Faresse, but Joe did a wonderful job. I had hear that Joe seemed hesitant during the Dayton show, but he really let it go for this show. It was great to see Mark Wood step out from the strings section and move around with the band later on in the show. He really is a remarkable musician. We even had a surprise at the tail end of the show, Paul O'Neil showed up. Thanks for making it out Paul! Oh yeah...and...a...Tim. Don't worry, Tim, I don't think Chris forgot you on purpose (or was it scripted?).

One of the most challenging aspects of touring is maintaining the enthusiasm and energy - playing each show like it's the first (or the last). This is something that this group does remarkably well. It still amazes me just how talented these guys are, not just musically but also in live entertainment and stage presence. Above all, you could tell just how much fun they were all having. Isn't that kinda the point though? The audience has a great time at the show and the band has a great time performing.

Chris is the perfect front man for the show. He really knows how to engage the audience. Watch out Johnny, I think my wife has a new favorite! Chris's energy on stage is just amazing, as was his guitar work. I think the only thing I can say negative was perhaps he was just a little too pumped up for the show. It seemed as though he was overdoing it on the string bends, to the point of being just a little out of tune. I'll forgive him though. He's amazing to watch.

I even got my father to come out for the show. He's a big opera and classical fan and I think he had his reservations. To hear HIM say "great stuff" was a hell of a compliment to TSO in my opinion.

We had 3rd row tickets near center stage. On top of that, the first 1000 people to bring in coats to donate to Salvation Army were entered into a contest to win front row tickets (5 names drawn). You guessed it, I won. There was another couple that also won front row upgrades, but had a kid with them. Since the upgrade only included two tickets, the kid had to sit on their laps. I gave up the front row tickets we won so the kid could have a seat of his own. 3rd row was only 6' away anyway , plus we could see better from there. My wife and I still both got picks from Chris. We also got to meet the band again (met them last year too), which was just as amazing the second time. I listen to the music throughout the year and am still blown away by the show.

Next year, my son is coming (and maybe my daughter). The kids are young, but they seem to know and love the music. My 4-year-old daughter often asks me to play, "the 'bumble bee' song", referring to "A Last Illusion". Of course, when I play it, I cheat a little on the main melody derived from Flight Of The Bumble Bee, but stay true to the rest. Hey, who's watching anyway?

Thanks to Paul, Jon, Bob, Chris and the rest of the crew for making the TSO project possible. At the end of the show, Chris said that TSO plans on doing this every year. Thanks for creating a new family tradition that celebrates music and the spirit of Christmas in a totally unique and extraordinary way.

See you next year (unless Savatage/TSO comes to Detroit during the year). Have a safe tour and a very Merry Christmas.

Steven K. Thode - Detroit, Michigan

December 12, 2000

Review # 2

Detroit, MI
by Teresa Sullivan


I was one of the very fortunate to attend TSO's 2K Christmas show at the Detroit Opera house on Dec 12. I became familiar with TSO Dec of 98. When I found out they were coming to Detroit 12/99 I was one of the first to get tickets. So, I will start this review with a comparison of the shows.

BOTH WERE AWESOME. This group of musicians Paul has put together, the lyrics of these touching Christmas songs and the awesome display of lights and showmanship is enough to put anyone in the true Christmas spirit. Some of these members get better every year..."like a fine wine"..(you know who you are)

What else can I say?? Paul O'Neill has a talent that goes far beyond any credit that is given him. This beautiful soul, a genuinely beautiful person, kind in heart, lover of life, an angel on earth who has chosen to put into motion the gifts and talents God has given him to uplift, tune-up & enlighten all who hear his work. I met this man at the 2K show, and after talking to him realized I had met someone so unique. A REAL person. A REAL ANGEL. My daughters and I had the oppurtunity to speak with him, and we were interrupted in our conversations several times, by Paul who was busy trying to make everyone feel special at his show (especially the children) & others who wished a word with him. However, at whatever point our conversation stopped, once he was done with his 'gift- giving', he always came where our conversation had left off. I! was so touched by him, as were my children.

Thank You Paul, you are forever remembered in my prayers. Seeing TSO, has become a family tradition for my family and I. We have vowed that no matter what is going on in our respective lives, we will meet for this special Christmas show, as long as it around. I bought my tickets for this show exactly 5 minutes after the box office opened and still ended up with not so great tickets. Next year, we plan to bring a larger group with us. I look forward to seeing the Beethoven tour if it should ever come to Detroit as well. And I plan to familiarize myself with as much of the history of these talented musicians work as I can.

I am not very familiar with Savatage..and I also would like to know what other works Paul has done and if they are available for purchase. His writing is phenominal. Im sorry I didnt mean to be so long-winded or 'gushy' about Paul. It is just so rare that someone so special & unique & REAL comes into our lives. This past year has been a difficult one for my family and it is amazing how easily a faith in people can be restored when you meet someone like this. He probably doesnt even realize how wonderful he is. In fact, I'd bet on it. I wish all of you & your families a very Merry Christmas. And thank you for giving ours one heck of a kick start! I look forward to seeing/hearing you all again.

God watch over you all,
Teresa Sullivan 'the gardener' (
with special hello's from Casey Sullivan (the hsuband who waited in the car for us for 2 hours) & my daughters Anna (the diva) & Gina Kuprianiak (Copernicus...: )...remember???)

Review # 3

Detroit, MI
by Jeff Maxwell


Truly blown away for the second year in a row. Braving the hardships of a tight touring schedule, a good old fashioned Michigan winter and the huge task of putting together two touring companies, TSO has once again put on one of the greatest shows I've ever seen. Front to back, the timing and showmanship were unsurpassed.

I think one of the most impressive things about this show was the spontaneity. Beyond all the music and the profoundly delivered narrations, everyone was up there just being themselves. I know how hard it can be to orchestrate (pun intended) a show on such a large scale and with so many performers; but there was always room on stage for the kind of camraderie and wise-cracks that can never be rehearsed. It really lent to the feeling that this show was unique; for no matter how many times they play that set, I can say for sure that no one will see the same show we did.

After the show we ran into a guy we met last year at TSO. We were at the bar and he'd asked us when we first heard of these guys...and I'll never forget the look on his face when we said "Oh, about 1985." His jaw hit the floor, and we pretty much rattled of the whole discography. When we saw him last night, he remembered us and thanked us seems he now owns most of the Sava-collection. Ahhh, it's always nice to bring a new warrior into the Legion.

We also ran into Paul before the show, which was exceedingly cool. He braved icy runways at the last minute to make it here for the show, and hopefully he knows how much that meant. Unfortunately we couldn't stick around for the meet and greet afterwards, which was quite a disappointment.

It was also a true experience to see Alex up there doing TSO. I'd heard he'd be in the East Coast company, but Rome (my bass player and a HUGE fan of Testament) didn't have any idea who it was until Chris introduced him later about mid-way through the show. The look on his face was priceless.

What else can I say? The entire company was phenomenal, a new fan is born (my lady purchased all 3 TSO cds today), "Santa's Favorite Elf" (aka Caffery) was one of the best MCs I've seen, and whoever's responsible for that light show deserves a raise. TSO forever.

Jeff Maxwell

Shadowlight Records/Tree of Shadows

Detroit, MI