Tag Archives: paul o’neill

Trans-Siberian Orchestra Mastermind Paul O’Neill Has Passed Away (1956-2017)

The news broke late last night and I must admit that I could barely believe what I was reading. It seemed that the super creative Rock Producer Paul O’Neill, mastermind behind the Trans-Siberian Orchestra had passed away at age 61. The bands official statement follows an image I captured during the East Coast Company’s 2016 regional appearance.

paul o'neill, paul o'neill photos,
Paul O’Neill w TSO in 2016

The entire Trans-Siberian Orchestra family, past and present, is heartbroken to share the devastating news that Paul O’Neill has passed away from chronic illness. He was our friend and our leader — a truly creative spirit and an altruistic soul. This is a profound and indescribable loss for us all. We ask that you respect Paul’s family’s privacy now. We will make additional announcements shortly.

This one really hits me hard since the music and people involved in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra are something that I hold very close to my heart. Those who’ve been reading our site for any measure of time know full well that we’ve been reporting on their performances and releases since our own launch. I’ve even referenced how I was seeing them in concert since the second year of their existence AND was a longtime fan of the Savatage output that Paul was a major part of. His loss at so young an age breaks my musical heart since there were so many worlds of creativity to still be shared and I am hopeful that there was some master plan scribbled down for them to be revealed.
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Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Debut “Christmas Eve & Other Stories”; A Modern Classic At 20 Years

I can hardly believe that I am writing this but I am got for today marks the 20th Anniversary of the release of “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It was the group’s first album and it blew me away from the very first listen and I can proudly say that I have been listening to this recording since it was released. My introduction to them is on the amusing side because I had been a longtime fan of the band Savatage and was keeping up with their releases as they appeared at the record shop and found the sounds on the album “Dead Winter Dead” to be something very, very different. In my mind the band always pushed the creative envelope and were more than a typical Heavy Metal band but with this body of work there was a grandiose nature to it and even a sense of cinematic or Broadway drama. This was of course due to the creative genius of Paul O’Neill and Jon Oliva who wrote and composed this one from beginning to end. When that album reached the track of “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” I was floored. Yeah I had listened to Heavy Metal Christmas tracks when I heard them but they were few and far between at the time. Stryper had a good one but most of the rest were just Rock artists. This was new and quite different to my aural senses.
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Deck The Halls With The Trans-Siberian Orchestra Winter Tour 2016 Announcement

You might recall that Staples commercial that usually starts to run around this time of the year with the popular holiday classic “Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” playing in the background. It’s the one with the father rejoicing about his children returning to classes in the coming weeks. I’ve always enjoyed that one but for me the most wonderful time of the touring announcements comes around the time as well and the joyous celebration is based on it being the news about the sensory overload that is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The group has just released the full Winter itinerary and it will be presenting “The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve” along with some selected hits and hit over sixty cities and with a dual company being active that is more than 100 concerts. The lengthy press release and tour dates are below the poster so grab a fresh cup of iced coffee and indulge. I’ll return at the close with some additional thoughts.

TSO-2016-Winter-Announce

National Press Release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA’S 2016 WINTER TOUR CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF TSO

“The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” Tour Launches November 17; Fan Club Pre-Sale Begins September 7; Public Tickets Available Beginning September 16

Los Angeles, CA (August 16, 2016) – Paul O’Neill launched a project in 1996 that over the past 20 years has become a critically-acclaimed, multi-platinum, musical powerhouse: Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The progressive rock group’s record-setting “rock theater” tours sell out venues year after year and have cemented TSO’s status as a must-attend, multi-generational, holiday tradition. Now, TSO’s creator/lyricist/composer O’Neill is proud to announce that in its Platinum anniversary year, the group is bringing back its treasured tale, “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” to 61 cities across North America beginning on November 17th and concluding, after 105 shows, with special New Year’s Eve performances in Seattle and Cleveland (see below for a full itinerary). TSO’s Winter Tour 2016 is presented nationally by the Hallmark Channel.

The tour pre-sale opens to fan club members on September 7 through September 9, with the general public on sale set to begin on September 16 (see www.trans-siberian.com for details). TSO is pleased to announce that each concert ticket purchased online will include a digital audio copy of The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. This is the first time these songs have been released in an audio package, and the album features a bonus track titled “Music Box Blues (Daryl Pediford Tribute New York 2004).”
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The Trans-Siberian Orchestra Winter 2015 Tour Dates Are Here

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has unveiled their Winter 2015 Tour Dates and considering there are two respective companies to the enterprise along with an afternoon and evening performance there are a LOT of them to choose from depending on your location. The graphic below gives you some insight as to this year’s spectacle and then I’ll speak about it a little more.

Photo - TSO - Tour 2015

The tour premise this year is “The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve” and for those who are unaware of this aspect of the TSO, this was a television special that aired just around the release time of “The Christmas Attic” and features music from that album along with the eventual classics on “Christmas Eve and Other Stories”. The show featured Ossie Davis and a young Allie Sheridan who eventually became one of the backing singers in the touring company. It was a charming film for sure and its now on DVD for all to enjoy but better yet, this time we get to see its magic right up in front of our faces as this and other TSO classics are performed with perfection. I’m keeping this part brief since the tour dates will continue on for a time and believe me my fingers still hurt from the editing  Please make a note if you are in our own Creative Command HQ vicinity that there is NO show at Nassau Coliseum this year as that arena has closed but according to reports will return in a few years. That means the Prudential Center show in Newark are your only chances. Hey next time around Barclays Center in Brooklyn alright? It will rock, okay here we go.
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“Return To Wacken” by Savatage

Artist: Savatage
Title: “Return To Wacken”
Label: Ear Music
Release Date: 6/30/2015
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

It’s been far too long since the Metal world has had new music from the great Savatage and their last recorded work together was on “Poets and Madmen” which hit us hard back in 2001 care of Nuclear Blast Records. Since that time, Savatage has been on a bit of a lengthy hiatus while numerous members focused their creative energies on the holiday touring juggernaut known as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra while others continued on into projects of their own. Now in celebration of the bands return to the live stage for the Wacken Open Air Festival, a rather sound compilation of some of the bands classics has been issued and for the foreseeable future this is as close to “new” as we shall get from the legendary band. My notes on the release come from my relatively long association with their material (since 1988 if memory serves me correctly) and a deep knowledge of their back catalog. I didn’t have a copy of my own and was listening to a digital stream of it online. As a collection, this serves up well as a grouping of very necessary tracks for the listeners who might not be all that up on the bands historic game. Let’s consider this to be “Savatage Primer” since its all expected numbers as opposed to any sort of deep tracks. Perhaps if this was a double CD edition but alas this is only a single disc.
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