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!

 

Setlist:

  • 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)

KISS: 4/8/2000

Kiss_4-8-00

This ticket stub is from KISS’s “Farewell Tour.” Umm, farewell to your money, maybe. They have certainly continued playing since then.

Anyway, I went with my friend Jim and I was pretty psyched to see KISS. I had never seen them and I had always heard they put on a killer stage show. Plus, it was a big outdoor thing with other bands I had not seen.

The first act to perform was Skid Row. My expectations were not high for this act, let me tell you. Although I love glam rock, the 80’s hair bands just never did anything for me. But I saw them, so check that one off the list.

Next act was Ted Nugent. Yes, I know, he is a most abrasive and unsavory person and not someone I would ever spend a penny on to see by himself, but I figured if it is thrown in for free, what the hell. And the truth is, he was really good live. If he would just play guitar and not talk, the world would be a better place. Wasn’t it Frank Zappa who said “Shut up and play your guitar”? Bottom line, for an opening act, he was good. At least you knew the songs and the energy was there.

Then it was time for KISS. Total spectacle! They were lowered onto the stage on this huge platform and kicked the show off with “Detroit Rock City.” Smokin! The concert was really heavy on the older, classic stuff. They even played some choice nuggets like “Strutter” and “Firehouse.”

The stage show was everything you’d expect. The pseudo-Ace’s guitar smoking and catching fire before floating into the air and exploding. Gene Simmons spit blood and breathed fire. Paul Stanley got the crowd roused and swaggered in his platform heels. It was over-the-top, glam rock pageantry at its finest. When it was over, I could not think of a single song I wanted to hear that they hadn’t played. A most satisfying concert.

I have had other opportunities to see KISS, but the tickets were high-dollar and I couldn’t image them being any better than when I saw them.

So don’t forget kiddies: “Rock and roll all nite, and party every day!”