Trans-Siberian Orchestra: 11/26/2019

This was the first concert I had attended in a while. The past few months have been challenging: relocation issues and the passing of a loved one just a couple of the major things. As such, hitting concerts was not a priority. But things are settling a bit, so my wife and I decided to go see Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the SAP Center (affectionately called the Shark Tank since it’s home to the San Jose Sharks hockey team). I’d never seen them before and heard they put on a killer stage show, so I figured it would be worth checking them out.

We had lower level seats, pretty much straight back. I figured this would be a good spot to appreciate the lasers and pyrotechnics (I was correct in my assumption). The show started almost on time, and there was no opening act, just TSO.

So the first half of the show was Christmas Eve and Other Stories, and was comprised of about 15 songs, very much in the Christmas spirit. I have to say, if I’m being honest, I found it a little too hokey for my tastes. It was like being strapped in a chair and made to watch Hallmark Holiday Programming for an hour straight (note that Hallmark Channel sponsored the tour). My wife said it felt like being in a mega-church. So while there were some cool parts, overall, I was not impressed with the first half.

Thankfully, they redeemed themselves in the second half.

The second half was chock full of classical hits (Grieg, Mozart, Beethoven, etc.) amped up with wailing guitars reminiscent of Judas Priest. And the light show was mind-blowing! There was even a massive Tesla coil shooting out flames and bolts of electricity that crackled in time to the musical pieces.

So on the whole, I liked the show. I would even consider seeing them again, but only if it was not around the holidays. I would love to see a performance that was all hard rock interpretations of classical music. That kind of stuff brings out the prog rock fan in me.

Here are some pictures I snapped from the show, along with the setlist. Hope your holidays rock!



  • Who I Am
  • An Angel Came Down
  • Come All Ye Faithful / O Holy Night
  • The Prince of Peace
  • First Snow
  • A Mad Russian’s Christmas
  • Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)
  • Good King Joy
  • Ornament
  • Old City Bar
  • Promises to Keep
  • This Christmas Day
  • An Angel Returned
  • Epilogue
  • The Storm / The Mountain
  • Handful of Rain
  • Mozart/Figaro
  • Christmas Canon Rock
  • Wizards in Winter
  • Can You Hear Me Now
  • Beethoven
  • Believe
  • Wish Liszt (Toy Shop Madness)
  • Requiem (The Fifth)
  • Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) (Reprise)

Judas Priest: 7/1/1984

Judas Priest was one of those bands that I needed to acquire a taste for. A lot of my metal-head friends were die-hard Priest fanatics, but I was lukewarm towards them for a long time. I didn’t hate them, and I didn’t love them. I’d rock out when they came on the radio, but never bothered to buy any of their records. Anyway, when I saw they were coming to the Hollywood Sportatorium, I figured I might as well go and check them out, because there’s nothing quite like a good thrashing metal show, right?

The concert totally kicked ass. While there were a lot of songs I didn’t know, I knew enough to enjoy it, and the stage show was truly impressive. They were totally high-energy live, which is important. There is nothing worse than going to a concert where the band sounds like they would rather be watching TV in a hotel room. These guys wanted to be on stage, and it showed in ever scream and every shredding guitar solo. I left drenched in sweat after having completely rocked myself out.

Over the years, since this show, I’ve listened to more Judas Priest and definitely gained a deeper appreciation for their talent. I even downloaded some of their stuff on Apple Music. I have some fun memories now of driving with my kids and rocking out to “Breaking the Law.”

Here’s the setlist from the show. Rock on!


  • Love Bites
  • Jawbreaker
  • Grinder
  • Metal Gods
  • Breaking the Law
  • Sinner
  • Desert Plains
  • Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
  • The Sentinel
  • Rock Hard, Ride Free
  • Night Comes Down
  • Electric Eye
  • Heavy Duty
  • Defenders of the Faith
  • Victim of Changes
  • Freewheel Burning
  • The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)


  • Living After Midnight
  • Hell Bent for Leather

Encore 2:

  • You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’