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22 April 2011 @ 08:38 pm
Bp's Song of the Week #113: Trans-Siberian Orchestra "Chance" (live)  
In 1987-88, the Beatles were officially bumped out of first place in my list of Favorite bands by Rush (having been a Rush fan since around 1981). In 1992, Marillion officially locked down #2 (having been a fan since 1985’s “Kayleigh” single, even going so far as to name my pet gerbil after the song, lol), and bumping Heart back to #3. In 2000, I helped with an online chat with Paul O’Neil of TSO and during that chat popped in a white-sleeve promo copy of Beethoven’s Last Night that I happened to pick up at work that week. As I started to listen I was taken aback by the use of hard rock and classical mixed with a story. Later that year, Jeff Bayard hooked me up with a pair of tickets to TSO’s first big Winter Tour (they played just short of 10 shows the year before) at the Palace Theater in Albany.

TSO quickly became #3.

Twenty-three (soon to be 25) shows later however, I’m more passionate about following TSO than any other band – the constant touring, great online discussion group, new TSO-inspired friendships, the music and the live shows are just absolutely amazing.

Born out of the success of the Christmas Eve/Sarajevo (12/24) instrumental from Savatage’s Dead Winter Dead album, producer Paul O’Neill created TSO as a monster group of musicians with no musical limitations. With a foundation of the members of Savatage, a trilogy of Christmas themed albums followed as well as the aforementioned Beethoven album, plus 2009’s double CD, Night Castle. Two more albums are currently in the works.

They are currently touring (see remaining tour dates below) the Beethoven’s Last Night record, performing it almost in its entirety with narrated story interweaving the tale of the famed composer’s last night on Earth. The Devil pays Beethoven, who just finished his 10th Symphony, a visit and offers to return his damned soul to him in exchange for the unheard symphony and all of his previous compositions. An epic struggle begins. Drenched in emotion, it is a one of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed. The first 80 minutes are devoted to that story and music, while the last 45 minutes are selections from the Night Castle release as well as this week’s gem from the Savatage catalog, which closes the night:

“Chance”

A quiet piano and vocal start this brilliant song, haunting and moody, vocalist Andrew Ross starts to spin the tale eloquently when it slides into a very eerie transition and then to a series of powerful and dramatic accents, followed by a searing guitar solo. And we’re only 2 minutes in! From there is moves into a more standard verse/chorus structure, but includes a number of magnificent transitions ranging from bluesy to reflective to downright blistering. By the 6-minute mark the multi-layered vocal counterpoint begins with TSO harnessing 10 vocalists to brilliantly create a 4-part counterpart, rising to a crescendo at 7:45.

Chance
(Jon Oliva/Paul O’Neill)
He was standing all alone
Trying to find the words to say
When every prayer he ever prayed was gone
And the dreams he's never owned
Are still safely tucked away
Until tomorrow he just carries on
Carries on…Carries on…Carries on

See the devil on the streets at night
See him running in the pouring rain
See him grinning 'neath a twisted light
I'll be back again
See the people standing in a row
See them nodding like a field of grain
No one sees the sickle though
Coming 'cross the plain

And this he knows, if nothing more
That waiting in the dark like destiny
Are those who kiss the dogs of war
And there is no tomorrow, no tomorrow
Take a chance
Take a, take a chance yeah

See the devil he is so intense
See the devil go and change his name
What's the going price of innocence
It can't be the same
Is it dark when the moon is down
Is it dark with a single flame
If there's glass falling all around
I am not to blame

And this he knows, if nothing more
That waiting in the dark like destiny
Are those who kiss the dogs of war
And there is no tomorrow, no tomorrow
Take a chance
Take a, take a chance yeah
Take a chance
Take a, take a chance oh yeah

Burn the night away
Burn the night away
Burn the night...

Pictures at an exhibition
Played as he stood
In his trance
Staring at his inhibitions
All the time believing
That it now came down to nothing but this chance
Chance…Chance…Chance

I fear you
Your silence
Your blindness
See what you want to see
In darkness
One moment
One kindness
Tell me what you believe

I believe in nothing
Never really had to
In regards to your life
Rumors that are not true
Who's defending evil
Surely never I
Who would be the witness
Should you chance to die

Father can you hear me
This is not how it was meant to be
I am safe and so are you
As for the other's destiny
(simultaneously - add a new stanza each time through and continue as a round)
Father can you hear me
This is not how it was meant to be
I am safe and so are you
As for the other's destiny

I believe that situations
All depend on circumstance

Look away
Look away

Pictures at an exhibition
Played as he stood
In his trace
Staring at his inhibitions
All the time believing
That it now came down to
Nothing but this chance


More 2011 tour TSO:
Chance (live) – closer up – good shots of the vocal counterpoint
What is Eternal – Beethoven ponders his legacy – the last note is worth the ticket price alone
Fur Elise/After the Fall
Misery – Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey) as the devil
A Last Illusion
Requiem (the Fifth) - his most popular symphony electrified

Remaining 2011 Beethoven’s Last Night Tour Dates – I’ve seen TSO from the front row to the back row of a 13,000 seat arena – there’s not a bad seat in the house at a TSO show (see the Requiem clip above for example).
Apr 22, 2011 Tallahassee FL Leon County Civic Center
Apr 23, 2011 Lakeland FL Lakeland Civic Center
Apr 24, 2011 Estero FL Germain Arena
Apr 27, 2011 Pensacola FL Pensacola Civic Center
Apr 28, 2011 Biloxi MS Mississippi Coast Coliseum
Apr 29, 2011 Huntsville AL Von Braun Center - Concert Hall
Apr 30, 2011 Jackson MS Mississippi Coliseum
May 01, 2011 Beaumont TX Beaumont Civic
May 04, 2011 Albuquerque NM Santa Ana Star Center
May 05, 2011 El Paso TX County Coliseum
May 06, 2011 Amarillo TX Civic Center
May 08, 2011 Corpus Christi TX Selena Auditorium
May 11, 2011 Evansville IN The Center
May 12, 2011 Cape Girardeau MO Show Me Center
May 13, 2011 Moline IL iWireless Center
May 14, 2011 Prior Lake MN Mystic Lake Casino - Showroom (3pm & 8pm shows)
May 15, 2011 Green Bay WI Resch Center
May 17, 2011 Rockford IL Coranado Theater
May 18, 2011 Saginaw MI Dow Events Center
May 19, 2011 Toronto Casino Roma
May 20, 2011 Binghamton NY Broome County Arena
May 21, 2011 Poughkeepsie NY Mid Hudson Civic Center