Trans-Siberian Orchestra is Back, Guitarist Al Pitrelli Reveals Details of Winter Tour 2022

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

It’s that time of year again when ornaments, trees, and tinsel are put on display in supermarket aisles and in commercials on television that start heralding the holidays. That can only mean one thing: Trans-Siberian Orchestra is coming to a town near you.

Progressive rock ensemble, Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO), will embark on their much-anticipated annual winter tour. What began over two decades ago with just two buses, one box truck, and a fog machine across seven cities, has grown into a caravan of 20 tractor-trailers, 12 buses, and innumerable fog machines. This year, audiences in 60 cities across the U.S. will see a completely updated presentation of their unforgettable holiday story and rock opera, “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve.”

“This year will be bigger and better and crazier and more nuts than last year,” TSO’s music director and lead guitarist Al Pitrelli tells American Songwriter. “It’s something we take a lot of pride in. The audience that’s grown up with us knows that every year we’re going to do something more over-the-top than previous years both musically and visually.” It’s a challenge, but a fun one, he insists.

Pitrelli’s passion for TSO is palpable. Having not performed in 2020 due to the pandemic, the next year felt like a homecoming for the group. The guitarist admitted the return to the stage in 2021 felt a little strange amid masks, mandates, and tests, however, he says, “I’d do the show in a hazmat suit, I don’t care.”

“I love what I do,” he continues. “If you love something and you lose it, when you get it back in your hands, you never want to let go. You hold it a little tighter.” It’s safe to say fans can expect a momentous performance of this year’s tale.

“The Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” is the product of the imagination of the group’s late founder, Paul O’Neill, and his wife Desi. It tells the story of a runaway teen who—cold, scared, and lonely—takes refuge in an abandoned theatre on Christmas Eve. Ghostly visions appear as the tale of the theatre’s past unfolds against the band’s musical performances. “The singers are no longer singers in our band,” explains Pitrelli. “They become the characters in the story and the story becomes the listener’s story as well and that’s the magic that TSO brings.”

The story has a happy ending, Pitrelli assures, but in real life, not everybody gets that same ending. He says, “Especially around the holidays, everybody misses somebody that much more … There’s an empty chair at everyone’s dining room table.” That’s when the show strays from being a holiday show and becomes a human show, one big communal experience for the audience.

“When you put 14,000 people who have the same sentiment or same emotion, listening to Paul’s story, it’s almost cathartic,” Pitrelli adds, stating there’s comfort in knowing that the people around you feel a similar way.

The electric orchestra tackles over 100 shows in a little over a month, performing sometimes two shows a night, multiple cities a day. How do they do it? Maybe it’s a touch of “Beam me up, Scotty” or maybe it’s just a Christmas miracle, but the real answer is the crew. “We’d be dead in the water without them,” says Pitrelli. And it’s all worth it for the fans. Many returning audience members, affectionately referred to as “repeat offenders,” have made TSO their holiday tradition, and TSO have made the fans theirs.

This year’s performance will feature fan favorites like “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24,” “O’ Come All Ye Faithful,” “Christmas Canon,” “This Christmas Day,” and so many more classics. The upcoming tour will also surprise fans as each show’s second set will consist of TSO’s greatest hits and songs never-before-played live.

TSO will kick off its extensive tour in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and will zig-zag across America, ending its final show just before Christmas Eve in San Antonio, Texas.

Tour Dates

Nov. 16 – Green Bay, WI – Resch Center – Matinee & Evening
Nov. 16 – Council Bluffs, IA – Mid America Center – Evening
Nov. 17 – Wichita, KS – INTRUST Bank Arena – Evening
Nov. 18 – Fort Wayne, IN – Allen County War Memorial Coliseum – Evening
Nov. 19 – Denver, CO – Ball Arena – Matinee & Evening
Nov. 19 – Cincinnati, OH – Heritage Bank – Matinee & Evening
Nov. 20 – Colorado Springs, CO – World Arena – Matinee & Evening
Nov. 20 – Youngstown, OH – Covelli Centre – Matinee & Evening
Nov. 22 – Salt Lake City, UT – Vivint Arena – Matinee & Evening
Nov. 23 – Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena – Matinee & Evening
Nov. 25 – Spokane, WA – Spokane Arena – Evening
Nov. 25 – Manchester, NH – SNHU Arena – Matinee & Evening
Nov. 26 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena – Matinee & Evening
Nov. 26 – Worcester, MA – DCU Center – Matinee & Evening
Nov. 27 – Eugene, OR – Matthew Knight Arena – Evening
Nov. 27 – Wilkes-Barre, PA – Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza – Matinee & Evening
Nov. 28 – Portland, OR – Moda Center – Evening
Nov. 30 – Albany, NY – MVP Arena – Evening
Dec. 1 – Fresno, CA – Save Mart Center – Evening
Dec. 1 – Rochester, NY – Blue Cross Arena – Evening
Dec. 2 – Sacramento, CA – Golden 1 Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 2 – Toledo, OH – Huntington Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 3 – Ontario, CA – Toyota Arena – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 3 – Dayton, OH – Nutter Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 4 – Phoenix, AZ – Footprint Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 4 – Grand Rapids, MI – Van Andel Arena – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 7 – Austin, TX – Moody Center – Evening
Dec. 7 – Lexington, KY – Rupp Arena – Evening
Dec. 8 – Oklahoma City, OK – Paycom Center – Evening
Dec. 8 – Knoxville, TN – Thompson-Boling Arena – Evening
Dec. 9 – Little Rock, AR – Simmons Bank Arena – Evening
Dec. 9 – Greenville, SC – Bon Secours Wellness Arena – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 10 – St Louis, MO – Enterprise Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 10 – Charlotte, NC – Spectrum Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 11 – Indianapolis, IN – Gainbridge Fieldhouse – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 11 – Atlanta, GA – Gas South Arena – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 14 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena – Evening
Dec. 14 – Raleigh, NC – PNC Arena – Evening
Dec. 15 – Birmingham, AL – BJCC – Evening
Dec. 15 – Charlottesville, VA – John Paul Jones Arena – Evening
Dec. 16 – Jacksonville, FL – VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena – Evening
Dec. 16 – Allentown, PA – PPL Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 17 – Orlando, FL – Amway Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 17 – Pittsburgh, PA – PPG Paints Arena – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 18 – Tampa, FL – Amalie Arena – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 18 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 21 – Chicago, IL – Allstate Arena – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 21 – Hershey, PA – Giant Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 22 – Milwaukee, WI – Fiserv Forum – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 22 – Buffalo, NY – KeyBank Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 23 – St Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 23 – Columbus, OH – Nationwide – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 26 – Kansas City, MO – T-Mobile Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 26 – Washington, D.C. – Capital One Arena – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 27 – Newark, NJ – Prudential Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 28 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 29 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 29 – Detroit, MI – Little Caesars Arena – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 30 – Cleveland, OH – Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse – Matinee & Evening
Dec. 30 – San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center – Matinee & Evening

Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

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