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30 November 2009 @ 05:35 pm
Song of the Week #69: Trans-Siberian Orchestra "Epiphany"  

Epiphany (lyrics – Paul O’Neal, music – O’Neal & Jon Oliva)
from the non-Holiday 2-CD set, Night Castle
(that’s right, there’s no Christmas music on this track)

I think at the end of the year this will rank as my favorite song of 2009. Rob Evan handles the vocals on this TSO track. Those who have seen TSO East live, might remember Rob as he toured with them for a number of years before taking last year off (he’s back again this year). Rob has performed for years both on Broadway and toured across the U.S. with Broadway shows. The places he takes his voice on this track are brilliant, from remorse, to confessional, agony, insanity, etc. The song itself it an amazing journey.

The new TSO album is a 2-CD concept album which in short involves a soldier who is wounded and captured while fighting in Cambodia. While being held hostage one night, knowing that he had very little time left, he told the story of how he came to be there to a Communist General, Tran-Do. Known for his heinous crimes against innocent civilians, Tran-Do was touched by this man’s life story and began to second guess how he grew from a young child learning the ways of Confucius, to one who had become so evil. Tran-Do’s was so moved, he decided to help the U.S. prisoner escape, but returning to the prisoner’s tent, he found that he had died. This is where “Epiphany” begins as Tran-Do finds himself at the end of a cliff staring down at the skeletons that lay below. Skeletons of people who died escaping the horror that his very army would have inflicted upon them. Tran-Do now ponders the same fate that those whose remains lay below might have pondered: “Did you ever walk up to the edge of a cliff, stare into the abyss as your mind wonders if, you should take one more step further into that night, well your mind says you won’t but your heart says you might.”

I always hammer home that in order to get to my musical heart you’ve got to vocally lay it on the line, tear the heart out your own chest and put it on a stool with a microphone in front of it. This song and performance are the quintessential example of this. Tran-Do is questioning everything in his life: his mother’s teachings of Confucius’ kindness, joining the army, the abominations that occurred under his command, this prisoner who turned his entire life upside down – it’s all here. The song is a series of intense racing confessions and memories, released into the “Somewhere” sections – a brilliant tension release. This really kicks in at 2:25 on the “I fear the night, I fear the dark, I need this light, that distant spark…” – then the introduction of the backing vocals on “Somewhere” with a temporary stop to the drums – just powerful and brilliant. By the time you’re rolling into the final section (post-Carnival Barker) you’re riding down a gigantic roller coaster hill that seemingly doesn’t end as the stanzas repeat and build and race towards Tran-Do’s ultimate decision.

Some highlights:

3:50 - begins a vocal roller coaster stretch that must have been amazing to see recorded in the studio and I can’t wait to see it live in the Spring (fingers crossed)

5:35 – The end of the Carnival Barker’s sales pitch: “..all that’s missing is the coliseum….” – I love that.

7:30 - “Be who you are, what you were, what they see, from eternity’s view, tell me which one is me” – amazing – Tran-Do is ripping out his very being, questioning everything that
has transpired, screaming for help

“on this night, keep me close, on this night, breathe my air, on this night, hold me tight, feel my heart, beating there”


Lyrics below – scroll way down for more TSO, both from Night Castle and other. Take a listen – you’re in for a treat!


Epiphany

“the silence” (in Khmer)

don’t go
does it have to be this way?
can’t we have just one more chance?
those who know
they will not say
must this be the final

dance in our lives?
as time just moves on
yesterdays years
are too quickly gone

all visions fade
as worlds fall apart
decisions are made
but there in this dark now
there in this dark now

somewhere on this night
a life is out there
and can someone tell me how

here on this night
so far away
bits of starlight
fall where they may

I never wanted to go
I never wanted to stay
I never wanted to be afraid
but still
childhood sees what childhood will
but nothing ever stays the same

I fear the night
I fear the dark
I need this light
that distant spark

I know that
somewhere
someone’s looking to deceive and
somewhere
young men die and children bleed and
somewhere
some have too much while others need and
somewhere
someone’s looking to believe and
somewhere
somewhere
somewhere
somewhere

and the night and the dark
and the hopes and the dreams
as we all play our parts
while ignoring the screams

so we lie to ourselves
and we just carry on
never stop, never turn
don’t admit what is
gone in to this twisted story
all these things so clear before me
every path we’ve ever taken
cant admit we were mistaken

in this night
of my devising
never live
and never dying

each escape
I’ve never taken
never dream
and never waken

somewhere
someone’s looking to deceive and
somewhere
young men die and children bleed and
somewhere
some have too much while others need and
somewhere
someone’s looking to believe and

(Tran-Do sees himself as a snake oil salesman selling the same lies that he was sold in a carnival barkers voice.)

come one come all
welcome to the world’s greatest entertainment since the fall of Rome
life, death
victims, voyeurs
the best of society
the lowest of plebeians
and to keep it all in extremely interesting, today’s patrons
could very easily be tomorrows entertainment
all compliments of the ultimate showman fate
all that’s missing is the coliseum

(Tran-Do turns away from the apparition of himself as a snake oil salesman, and once more looks into the abyss.)

did you ever walk up
to the edge of a cliff
stare into the abyss
as your mind wonders if

you should take one more step
further into that night
well your mind says you won’t
but your heart says you might

would you fall through the dark
feel the wind in your hair
would you embrace the ground
and end your life right there

or would god reach his hand
and that moment you fly
or if he chanced to blink
and then, that moment you die
you die
you die
you die ...

stare into the dark
as the abyss keeps calling
try to take a step
but then the mind keeps stalling

can a single question
just go on forever
as a single thought goes on
its now or never

stare into the dark
as the abyss keeps calling
try to take a step
but then the mind keeps stalling

can a single question
just go on forever
as a single thought goes on
its now or never

never really took much
never really had to
only had a small crush
problem was that it grew

never really took much
never really had to
only had a small crush
problem was that it grew

be who you are
what you were
what they see

from eternity’s view
tell me
which one is me
can you

be who you are
what you were
what they see

from eternity’s view
tell me
which one is me

on this night
keep me close
on this night
breathe my air

on this night
hold me tight
feel my heart
beating there

on this night
keep me close
on this night
breathe my air

on this night
hold me tight
feel my heart
beating there

on this night
keep me close
on this night
breathe my air

on this night
hold me tight
feel my heart
beating there

did you ever walk up
to the edge of a cliff
stare into the abyss
as your mind wonders if

you should take one more step
further into that night
well your mind says you won’t
but then this all is your life

your life
your life
this all is your life
your life
your life

this all is your life
your life
your life

this all is your life
your life
your life
this all is your

is your life
is your life
is your life
is your...life


More Trans-Siberian Orchestra:
Tracers (live) - also from Night Castle (my favorite TSO song)
Night Enchanted – also from Night Castle
A Last Illusion (live)
Toccata-Carpimus Noctem (live) - also from Night Castle