My new word for the day. It’s what the Trans-Siberian Orchestra does to music. One of the reasons Jill is a good match for me is we have much of the same taste in music. I think she’s a little more into Christmas music, and I’m into the guitar driven rock, and that makes the Trans-Siberian Orchestra a great group for us.
Traffic was just awful last night. Jill was supposed to get to the office at 5:30, it was 5:45 by the time she got her, and nearly 6 by the time we got to Centreville Road, less than a mile away. We had considered going to Sweetwater in Manassas for dinner, but decided it would take too much time to get there and get served. I needed to stop in Fair Oaks Mall at the Things Remembered shop there (I had ordered some engraved plates for my original art to id the artists), so we went there first. 50 was slow, so we jumped down to Fair Lakes Parkway. We went past a couple restaurants, and choose Silver Diner because we knew we’d be in and out fast (I had the chowder and ginger-chicken skewers, not bad).
We were back on the road by 7:30 – plenty of time to get to the Patriot Center by 8 – or so we thought. Traffic was good on West Ox and 7100, and ok on Braddock until we got to Shirley Gate. Then we crawled for 15 minutes. It was five minutes to 8 when we turned around, and took Shirley Gate to 29, 236, then 123. We walked into the Patriot Center at 8:20. Much to our surprise, the house lights were still on. We weren’t sure if they were waiting for the audience or the artists (Paul O’Neill, the creator of TSO, walked past us right before the lights went down), but we were happy they hadn’t started.
They kicked it off with “Wizards in Winter” from the new CD “The Lost Christmas Eve”. Then (as with every time I’d seen them) they went into a slightly abbreviated version of “Christmas Eve and Other Stories”, their first (and still most successful, how so was to be revealed later) CD. There are two touring TSOs due to the high demand, East and West, and we got the East as usual Duh). The core band has mostly stayed the same, and they do a great job, particularly Chris Caffrey and Alex Skolnick on guitars, and Bob Kinkel on keys. I noticed more of a willingness to experiment with the songs last night, some tasty vocal and instrumental additions. One of the vocalists who’s been touring with them for a while, Darryl Pediford, passed away this summer, but Jay Pierce , his replacement, did a fantastic job.
After the “Christmas Eve”, they got to the more impromptu second half, where the setlist changes every year and they play the new stuff. The highlight for me was the rocking new “Christmas Nights In Blue”, which lead into a tease of “Stairway To Heaven” when Alex brought out a double necked guitar, then they cruised right into “The Immigrant Song”, really well done with one male and three female vocalists (I think it’s the only way you can replace Robert Plant). They played some of their non Christmas songs, some of the pieces based on Beethoven and Mozart from “Beethoven’s Last Night” and “Carmina Burana” from the upcoming “Night Castles”. They ended with “Wish Liszt” from the new CD and a reprise of “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)”.
I had mentioned to Jill it would be nice to stay afterwards and get something signed sometime, and I was surprised when she left to use the restroom and came back with a program – I hadn’t brought anything to get signed. I was thinking I wouldn’t do it last night either, as it was 11 when we left as the show was ending, and I knew I had a busy day today. But I went to use the restroom while she put on her coat, and when I came out, saw there were only four people in the signing line. I decided we’d wait for the signing. They took about half an hour to come out, but they were very nice and gracious, handing out guitar picks and taking pictures. We got the front of the program signed, it looks very nice. We were home by 12:30, and I was in bed by 1.