As a producer, O’Neill worked with acts like Aerosmith and Savatage before combining his love of progressive rock and musical theater to create Trans-Siberian Orchestra. His singular vision grew into a multi-million dollar juggernaut, becoming one of the most successful touring acts of the past decade. The group has generated tickets sales just shy of $300 million.
Drummer Jeff Plate said, “The TSO show is that get-together you do every year with family or friends. Obviously, management and Paul O’Neill’s family thought long and hard about doing this and actually how to do it. In the spirit of Paul O’Neill and in keeping this tradition alive, we’re going to put on this show.”
The demand for live TSO performances was so high that O’Neill split the outfit into two distinct bands in 2000. This upcoming performance is noteworthy because livestream viewers will see a collaboration between members of the West Coast and East Coast versions for the first time since the expansion 20 years ago.
“It all goes back to the core group of guys who were here from the beginning,” Plate said. “It’s myself on drums, Al Pitrelli and Chris Caffery on guitars and Johnny Lee Middleton on bass. Then we’ve got vocalists and musicians from both the East and West groups to fill out the other roles. It’s basically an all-star band if you want to look at it like that. It’s always really cool to work with those guys again.”
Drummer Jeff Plate, who was member of heavy metal band Savatage when he joined founder Paul O’Neill in Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 1996, will join members of the band’s East and West Coast contingents for a livestream presentation of “Christmas Eve and Other Stories.”
Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Like Plate, Pitrelli, Caffery and Middleton were all members of Savatage when they joined O’Neill in Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 1996.
“We’ve been doing this so long and with having the East and West groups, I never get to play with Al Pitrelli or Johnny, so this will be a really cool chance for us,” Plate said. “For the audience, this is also going to be a cool opportunity to see some of the other musicians you don’t normally get to see. And, everybody that buys the show and streams it through their television and sound system is going have the best seat in the house to watch our show.”
Contact contributing arts and music writer Don Thrasher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW TO WATCH
What: Livestream of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve and Other Stories”
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18
Cost: Tickets are $30 and the program continues streaming on demand through midnight Dec. 20.
Artist info: www.trans-siberian.com