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Trans-Siberian Orchestra changes show but still dazzles

| Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, 9:02 p.m.

REVIEW

Like “The Nutcracker,” concerts by Trans-Siberian Orchestra have become holiday events that take on more significance than even the music provides.

In the same way families, classmates and groups go to the Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky ballet without much of a knowledge of a good pas de deux, the same kinds of groups go to the TSO concerts without really demanding much more than to be dazzled by loud music and stage fireworks.

Sunday's shows at the Consol Energy Center, Uptown, provided all that excitement, but also offered a different rock-opera show this year. “The Lost Christmas Eve” was a rather grim story dealing with an angel coming to Earth to find mankind's true nature and encountering a tycoon who had abandoned a child.

With the great narration of Bryan Hicks, the band provided its expected high-power show for crowds of about 11,000 each at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Guitarists Joel Hoekstra and Chris Caffrey drove the band through numbers that, at times, had an Andrew Lloyd Webber darkness.

Singer Rob Even gave those pieces the kind of drama that would seem to belong to Michael Crawford.

But after that rather edgy Christmas tale, the band went into its second half of high-level versions of “The Nutcracker,” the opening of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and, of course, some carols.

It is almost as predictable as Santa coming down a chimney and just as delightful.

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