read the news // live the culture
The Upcoming | Read the news // Live the culture
Saturday 1st November 2014
Menu
CultureLive musicMusic

Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Hammersmith Apollo | Live review

  Sunday 12th January 2014
  Sunday 12th January 2014

When rock heavy-weight Paul O’Neil first founded the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 1993, he had an ambitious goal: “The whole idea,” he explains, “was to create a progressive rock band that would push the boundaries further than any group before”. Since then the Orchestra’s live shows, full of dazzling light displays, gothic sets and brazenly powerful musical performances, have transformed the band into a worldwide phenomenon – selling over seven million albums and performing a host of global tours and major concerts.

The music is a jumble of juxtapositions, melding classical, orchestral, hard-rock and heavy metal into a soaring melodic pastiche. This blend came from O’Neil’s want to “take the very best of all the forms of music [he] grew up on and merge them into a new style” – the sections of rock opera emanating from bands such as The Who, the blending of classical and heavy-rock inspired by Queen and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and the gregarious light shows motivated by Pink Floyd’s dazzlingly lit concerts.

The stage at Hammersmith Apollo is certainly a spectacle. Huge pillars of blue light cascade from the ceiling, a vast drum kit looms from the smoke-filled air like a great steel spider and colossal bursts of flame cast a medieval romanticism. The vast amount of performers shed an intimidating presence; not only is there a sizeable band complete with two lead guitarists, piano duo and an electric violinist, ten lead singers make up the vocals and the London String Orchestra  provide a mesmerising symphonic accompaniment.

The songs themselves feel dated. Full of jolting prog-rock riffs and screeching electric guitar solos, they herald the zenith of progressive rock in all its dramatically garish glory. There is no disputing, however, each musician’s exceptional talent. The electric violin is played with lightening fury by Asha Mevlana and pianist Vitalij Kuprij does a remarkable rendition of Mozart’s Turkish March Piano Sonata No. 11 ith quick trills and rapid scales.

The vocalists deliver emotionally vehement performances. Jeff Scott Soto’s Misery is delightfully devilish, Gutter Ballet is ferociously belted by Nathan James – who moves from gravelly tenor to piercing falsetto with ease – and operatic tenor Rob Evan demonstrates perfect vocal poise in Mephistopheles Return accented by a fluttering vibrato. 

The show’s aim, says the narrator, is to “break boundaries”, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra have certainly severed the confines between these disparate genres, creating a show bristling with vivacity and showcasing astounding musical ability.

Alexandra Sims
Photos: Erol Birsen

For further information about Trans-Siberian Orchestra and future events visit here.

Watch the trailer for the Winter Tour here:


More about the author

Alexandra Sims

Share this story


  • Pin It
  • Share on Google+
  • Reddit
  • Stumble
  • LinkedIn

Latest related

New Essential Guide to Italian Wines launches 2015 edition
New Essential Guide to Italian Wines launches 2015 edition

Umbria, Toscany, Piedmont, Lombardi: names rich with history and tradition, the birthplaces of many a culinary love [read more]

BluesFest 2014 at the Royal Albert Hall: day 4 with Dr Feelgood, Mud Morganfield, Mike Sanchez and many more
BluesFest 2014 at the Royal Albert Hall: day 4 with Dr Feelgood, Mud Morganfield, Mike Sanchez and many more

Thursday afternoon at BluesFest was reserved for the showcasing of newborn discoveries and unearthing their blues [read more]

Andy Burrows at Dingwalls | Live review
Andy Burrows at Dingwalls

Andy Burrows, the former drummer of Razorlight, has been quietly carving out a pretty impressive career for himself as [read more]

Fury | Movie review
Fury

Fury is a different kind of war film. Though it does tell a story about a group of exceptional war heroes and their [read more]

BluesFest 2014 at the Royal Albert Hall: day three with Paddy Milner, Danny Bryant, Dr Feelgood and many more
BluesFest 2014 at the Royal Albert Hall: day three with Paddy Milner, Danny Bryant, Dr Feelgood and many more

Day three of BluesFest 2014, and there was a bit of Elvis in the air. Elvis Costello, that is, sound-checking [read more]

Archives