Despite the slow moving world that is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO), the prog-rock outfit has something new this holiday season in the form of five-song EP “Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night).”
Want to go?
WHAT: Trans-Siberian Orchestra
WHEN: 3 and 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 26
WHERE: Quicken Loans Arena, One Center Court, Cleveland
INFO: Call 888-894-9424 or visit theQarena.com
“The EP is a way for us to say, ‘Thank you’ to the fans,” said TSO co-founder Paul O’Neill, calling from New York City. “This has two instrumentals that come with poetry. I also decided to do the other songs in the same vein as like Harry Chapin’s ‘Taxi’ or Arlo Guthrie’s ‘Alice’s Restaurant.’ Both have stories in a song.”
“Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night)” features instrumental “Winter Palace,” as well as acoustic ballad “Someday,” gospel-tinged “I Had a Memory” and soulful lullaby “Time You Should Be Sleeping.”
Similar to how the group’s definitive seasonal-based trilogy – 1996’s “Christmas Eve and Other Stories,” 1998’s “The Christmas Attic” and 2004’s “The Lost Christmas Eve” – touches upon familiar Yuletide themes of redemption, O’Neill said he crafted the new EP with universal ideas as well. More so, he feels the songs take listeners on a magical journey.
“I like the song ‘Someday’ because near the end of the year you tend to look back on your life,” O’Neill said. “There’s always somebody in your lives you owe a ‘Thank you’ to, whether it’s a parent or teacher or someone who helped you out when you were down and out. Like most, we say ‘I’ll call them next week or next month’ and then it’s too late.”
Something else that continues a TSO tradition is exposing younger (and older) audiences to the works of classical music greats. Just as “Beethoven’s Last Night” is based around the composer’s “Requiem,” “Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night)” incorporates the classical stylings of Vivaldi’s "Winter” with a rock edge.
O’Neill said the average teenager will not pick up a Vivaldi album, even though he’s known for so many great melodies. This way they may discover his music and become a fan.
Speaking of fans, diehard TSO lovers know that the group always ends an album with a lullaby. This time it’s “Time You Should Be Sleeping,” which O’Neill included as a gift to fellow parents who have trouble putting wide-eyed children to bed at night.
“Getting a kid to go to sleep at anytime during the year is hard, but getting a kid to go to sleep on Christmas Eve is even harder,” O’Neill said. “So this lullaby seemed a perfect way to end the EP.”
As for the live show, TSO has retooled its annual festive pyrotechnic holiday extravaganza this year. Not only are new EP songs in the mix, but the first half will be the act’s debut of performing “The Lost Christmas Eve” with narration in its entirety. The second half is what he describes as being nothing short of a “full-on prog rock concert.”
“You get the best of both worlds and it’s an insane show where we have every cutting edge special effect coming at you,” O’Neill said. “If anybody was ADD, it’ll either drive you crazy or cure you on the spot. It’s sensory overload, but in a good way.”