Even if you have seen the Trans-Siberian Orchestra before, you haven't seen them quite like this.
TSO founder and mastermind Paul O'Neill said the shows coming to the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Nov. 25 will highlight the 2004 album The Lost Christmas Eve in its entirety in the first half and new music from the band's recently released EP Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) in the second. Showtimes are 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and will include some new effects as well. O'Neill enthusiastically mentioned robotic arms a few times in a recent telephone interview with The Times Leader.
(‘The Lost Christmas Eve') might be favorite of the trilogy, but that switches all the time, the guitarist, composer and producer said. There's something about December 24 that lets people undo mistakes or call that person you haven't spoken to in years.
And that's what this is all about: A Wall Street banker and multimillionaire made probably the biggest mistake you can make – he abandoned his only child to the state 40 years ago. And little by little, he undoes that mistake.
The 2012 Winter Tour shows mark the stage debut of The Lost Christmas Eve. O'Neill said he had no way of knowing about the economic meltdown caused in large part by Wall Street in 2008 when he wrote the story, but it only adds more resonance to it.
I know lots of people with money and they are truly miserable, while others live paycheck-to-paycheck and they are truly happy, he said. It's a cliche, but there's a lot of truth to it: Money cannot buy happiness.
I just love the story, and the band's on fire.
When we spoke, O'Neill and his orchestra were just starting the final pre-production rehearsals for the tour at the Mid-America Arena in Omaha, just a few days after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast.
Before we went to Omaha, we were in New York City for a while, so it was a nightmare getting some of the musicians out, he said. In fact, we recorded the new album in Florida and went to New York because we didn't want to get stuck in Florida in the middle of hurricane season.
The new material, a five-song EP, is the first release for the band since switching record labels last year.
He said with a laugh: When we signed the new contract, they asked me which Paul they were getting: the one that releases an album a year or the one that took five years to do ‘Night Castle.'
That was one of the reasons we did the EP, to get some new material out there quickly, he continued. And we made sure it would be $5 or less, so that everyone could get it without any hardship.
O'Neill noted TSO will have a complete album out in June – We are about 80 percent done already – and will have a new production on the road for the 2013 Summer Tour.
We truly have the best crew in the business, O'Neill said. Every time you think there's nothing else they can do, they come up with something else.
O'Neill said the new production is definitely over the top, but that's what people have come to expect of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It's insane, but the crew is taking it to a whole other level.
We can't wait to get out there and show off all of our new toys.
What: Trans-Siberian Orchestra Winter Tour 2012
When: 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 25
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre Twp.
Tickets: $32.50 to $60.50
Available: Call 1.800.745.3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com