Burning down the house

OK, so Friday night, my sweetie and I went to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert at the Hangar (a.k.a., American Airlines Center in Dallas). It’s our third time seeing them, so we pretty much knew what to expect from the show, and they didn’t disappoint. (It should be noted that each time they’ve played here, it’s been in progressively larger venues, from the now-defunct Bronco Bowl to NextStage to the AAC.)

The first half of the show went as it always does, with TSO playing out the story told on their Christmas Eve & Other Stories album. About halfway through the segment comes “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24”, always a crowd favorite. For the uninitiated, the song is set in the war-torn lands of… well, Sarajevo, and the song is typically accompanied by the rumbling of guns and the muted wails of sirens. Very mood-setting. Well, as the song started up, sure enough, you could hear the background sounds, and right on cue, the emergency lights and alarms in AAC started blinking and chirping. Now that’s what I call setting the mood.

Only problem was that the fire alarms weren’t part of the show—and to emphasize this, the automated recording was the clincher: “An emergency condition has been detected. Please proceed to the nearest exit…” Most of the crowd was quite confused, and I’d bet the majority of them still thought it was part of the show. But when the house lights came on and the ushers started pointing people towards the doors, we all got the hint.

Fortunately, not two minutes later, the alarms stopped, and an announcement came on saying that it was all a false alarm. As Al Pitrelli put it from on stage (the band never left the stage during all this): “Oops.” A few minutes later, everyone was reseated, and the band picked up from the exact moment they left off.

After that, it was your usual TSO show. Which is to say, awesome.

Amusingly, after one number that involved a bunch of flames and other assorted pyrotechnics, Pitrelli remarked, “You know, a fire alarm goes off because somebody was smoking in the bathroom. But we do all this, and not a peep. Go figure.”

And as has apparently become their tradition after their Dallas show, TSO announced they would be available after the show to sign autographs and such. (They did this last year, and we—and the band—stayed til almost 1:00 in the morning.) Based on what we’ve heard, they don’t do this at all of their shows (for example, they didn’t do it in Houston last year), but if the stories are to be believed, the Dallas show is usually one of their bigger shows of their tour.

As Pitrelli put it, they sure have come a long way from the Bronco Bowl.