The Trans-Siberian Orchestra's show is the biggest it's ever been.
The stage lights filled a load of metallic grids suspended above the stage, suggesting a spacecraft feel.
Massive spotlights were set along the back and side rims of the stage, and then another bucketload of laser lights shot to the back of the arena and intersected with others shooting toward the front. And there were flashpots and fireworks.
Guitarist Angus Clark and concertmaster violinist Anna Phoebe ventured out into the audience and found themselves on top of a hydraulic riser at the back of the arena and climbed various staircases in the arena.
By playing the band's first album, "Christmas Eve & Other Stories," in its entirety, the band Clark, Phoebe, guitarist Al Pitrelli, keyboardists Derek Wieland and Jane Mangini (Pitrelli's wife), bassist Johnny Lee Middleton and drummer John O. Reilly cranked out the trademark seasonal and classically inspired rock.
From the emotional refrains of "An Angel Came Down" to the poignant "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" and "This Christmas Day," and other songs that fused traditional Christmas carols such as "O Come All Ye Faithful," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "The First Noel" into their arrangements, the singers told the story about a runaway girl finding her way back home.
Narrator Tony Gaynor and vocalists Tommy Farese, Alexa Goddard, Steena Hernandez, Erin Henry, Kelly Keeling, Kristin Gorman, Andrew Ross, Marissa Rhodes, Bart Shatto and a new singer known as Scout sang roles as different characters throughout the show.
In fact, it was Shatto's sweet tenor during "Old City Bar" that brought tears to many eyes.
The band let loose in a rocking second half with works from the other TSO albums "Christmas Attic," "Lost Christmas Eve" and "Beethoven's Last Night."
The much-anticipated new album "Night Castle" may be released in the spring, said TSO founder Paul O'Neil, who greeted the audience before the band's take on Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee."The band also played renditions of "Christmas Canon," Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" and Bach's Toccata in D Minor.