What’s becoming a holiday staple now in its 20th year, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra made its way through the Buffalo area with 2 shows this past Saturday. BackstageAxxess attended the 3pm matinee show. The production was running just a few minutes behind, so the show didn’t start until about 3:10pm.

The were a few new faces along with familiar ones. The noticeable addition was Caleb Johnson (former American Idol winner in 2014) enjoyed a solo spotlight for “Three Kings and I.” For longtime fans, familiar faces like Bryan Hicks (storyteller), Jeff Plate on drums and Chris Caffrey on guitar were again there to give the sense of familiarity. Hicks, who is a fan favorite and well respected, always does a commendable job describing the actual story of the “Ghost of Christmas Eve.”

TSO have the best of the best musicians from all over the world including Juillard alumni Plate and keyboardist and musical director Derek Wieland. Another musician who is all over the arena and been a big part of the band for the last several years is violinist Roddy Chong. Chong is one of the featured artists along with Caffrey and guitarist Joel Hoekstra. Hoekstra adds that rock flair with his versatile guitar playing and hair flipping. He also is all over the arena and accompanies Chong on the extended hydraulic lifts at the back of the arena.

What also was noticeable difference than years past was the amount of pyro and snow (both were increased.) Snow fell during “Lost Christmas Eve” and “First Snow.”

The Best of TSO setlist changed as well as they added “Tracers” and “Someday” to the set. Even though many come back to see the staples, I (for one) like the changes in the setlist.  And the fresh songs add a vibrance to it.

Overall, the attendance for the 3pm show was very strong showing there is still a desire to see this show. Quite possible, many feel it isn’t truly Christmas unless you partake in the annual show.




Night Enchanted

Winter Place

The Lost Christmas Eve

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

O Come All ye Faithful/O Holy Night

Good King Joy

Christmas Dreams

Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) (Savatage Cover)

Christmas Canon Rock

What Child is This? (Wiliam Chatteron Dix cover)

Music Box Blues

First Snow

Promises to Keep

The Christmas Day

Wish Liszt (Toy Shop Madness)/Christmas Jam

A Mad Russian’s Christmas

Hark! The Hearld Angels Sing/The Three Kings & I

Wizards in Winter

Tracers (Shine on Crazy Diamond snippet-Pink Floyd cover)

Carmina Burana


Chance (Savatge cover)

Madness of Men

Find Our Way Home

Requiem (The Fifth)

Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) Reprise (Savatage Cover)


Photo Gallery

We would like to thank Anna Loynes from Solters PR for the credentials to review the show.



About The Author Gus

My first opportunity to write about music was with Kissunderground, featuring just one band (KISS). In 2006, I started working for another outlet that showcased more musicians. It was a great experience for me at the time. I personally nailed down some great interviews during my time at glam-metal.com (Paul Stanley, Jonathan Davis, Slash and Sully Erna to name a few). In early 2009, I decided to venture out on my own with the idea of creating a website that has all the offerings that a reader would want in a music review website. That's when Backstageaxxess.com began. I’m so proud of what was created here and of our staff that brings it to you. Each one offers a diverse opinion and a creative ability to share it in a unique way. We are so lucky to have them here. When discussing making a list of favorite shows with the staff, I also found it hard to narrow that list down to a select handful of shows. Everyone experiences a concert in their own terms, whether it’s the show itself, maybe it’s the people you met there and the new friendships created, or maybe it was meeting the artist at the show. For my criteria, I tried to stick to just the show itself, but again, it was sometimes hard to do. My first concert was Sammy Hagar’s first tour with Van Halen at the Niagara Falls Convention Center, Niagara Falls, NY, on August 30, 1986. My favorites are as follows: 1. Kiss – Tiger Stadium - Detroit, Michigan 6/28/96 2. SARS (Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Rush, and handful of other bands) - Downsview Park – Toronto, Ontario 7/30/03 3. Paul McCartney (every McCartney show I saw was awesome, but Iwent with my first show) Air Canada Centre -Toronto, Ontario 10/10/05 4. Motley Crue – Memorial Auditorium – Buffalo, NY 12/19/89 5. Kid Rock – Tweeter Center - Camden, New Jersey 3/25/06 The honorable mentions would be any McCartney show (The Joint at the Hard Rock, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 2009 or Air Canada Centre Toronto, Ontario 8/10/10), Prince (Club 2112) at the Rio Hotel, Las Vegas 12/30/07, Heart (Pulse Lounge * only 200 people) Hilton Hotel, Anaheim, California, January 21,2008, Monsters of Rock (Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come) Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, NY 6/19/88 and the Rocklahoma Festival (Queensryche, Lita Ford, Triumph, etc.). Also, Cher (with my mom) at the Blue Cross Arena Rochester, NY, November 22, 2004.