Last year, the Transsiberian Orchestra hosted its annual holiday show online, hosting a live broadcast for fans, while most in-person concerts were still suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the virtual version has proven to be quite popular, Al Pitrelli and Jeff Plate are thrilled to be back on tour with the band in 2021 and celebrate the Christmas season again in front of a live audience.
And they are definitely willing to abide by – perhaps even exceed – any new precautions that may be taken at the various places visited on this tour.
“I think I could speak for Jeff about this by saying we’ll come in protective suits and play, man,” says Pitrelli, music director and guitarist for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO). “We are like caged animals that chomp. Not doing what we’ve been doing for more than 20 years, so that it was taken away from us last year … once you get it back into your own hands, you will love it, treasure it, protect it much more.
“So I just want to put the guitar on my shoulders, stand out in the center of the stage and say, ‘Let’s go.’
The two musicians, who have joined this Christmas prog rock juggernaut in time for its first tour in 1999, are performing during a media conference call in support of the band’s upcoming winter tour, which will take place at the SAP Center in San Jose on December 1st. Show time is 7:30 pm, tickets range from $ 36 to $ 85, ticketmaster.com.
The tour celebrates the 25th anniversary of the band’s 1996 debut album, “Christmas Eve and Other Stories,” which has sold millions of dollars.
The rock opera features many of TSO’s most beloved numbers, including Ornament, Promises to Keep, This Christmas Day, O ‘Come All Ye Faithful, Good King Joy, Old City Bar “And the most famous hit” Christmas Eve / Sarajevo, 12/24 “. A soulful passage, coined by the visionary mind of late TSO founder / composer / lyricist Paul O’Neill, explores issues such as kindness and generosity as it tells the story of an angel who visits Earth on Christmas Eve.
Twenty-five years after its release, “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” remains TSO’s signature and best-selling album.
“I said together, I think this story is really the star of the show,” says Plate. “This is what brought people back every year … when people were connected with history and understood that it was about them. It’s about everyone. This is how people came back by word of mouth. These audiences continued to grow every year. “
Pitrelli agrees with his bandmate, saying that “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” was “what marked us and made the Trans-Siberian Orchestra a household name.”
However, he adds that it was very interesting to come back and re-examine the work all these years later.
“When I was 30, I played songs like Ornament, This Christmas Day and Old City Bar,” he says. “My three oldest children were babies then.”
He recalls being on stage one night, just after the band re-included Christmas Eve and Other Stories on their set list, and was amazed at the power of Ornament.
“I was very, very emotional because my boys grew up and some of them are in the military. One is the navy and the other is a sniper in the special forces, says Pitrelli. “I remember a character begging heaven for the safe return of his daughter, who escaped on Christmas Eve. I found myself just wondering, “Is my boy okay? Where is he today? I just want to hug him. “
“As I get older, these songs become more important to me, and I take history very deeply. Then I noticed that everyone in the audience was also talking because … everyone is missing someone. “
However, TSO’s passion for music has never been something that Pitrelli lacked. He says he “doesn’t have to think at all” to keep the stage going year after year.
“When you love something, you love it. That’s all, ”he says. “It’s like asking me if I ever get tired of kissing my children. This is a part of us. Jeff and I have been there from the beginning. We watched this thing open its eyes from the very first time, somewhere in the middle of 95, and watched how it grew, how I watched my children grow beyond all my expectations.
“When you love something so much, you never have to start a fire or do something again.”
And that’s one of the reasons Pitrelli plans to stay at TSO as long as possible.
“Jeff and I have been doing the same thing since we were puppies,” he says. “You put sticks in his hands or a guitar on my neck, we are like children again. I will never get tired of this. People say, “When are you going to retire?” I’m like, “When I die.” Why don’t I ever do what I do? “”
“I really like it,” he adds. “The fact that so many families in America have accepted us as part of their holiday tradition. I never get tired of looking at smiles. “
Plate is well aware of the special place TSO has in fans’ hearts, especially during the holiday season.
“This is a very unique project that we are a part of. I can tell myself personally, every night when I’m on stage, I treat it like it might be my last, so I just go there and do my best. We’re going to make this thing work for as long as we can. “