Guitarist Al Pitrelli wasn’t kidding when he said Trans-Siberian Orchetra would pull out all the stops on its “Beethoven’s Last Night” concert.
Wednesday’s rock theater production at Tullio Arena featured blasts of fireballs, an insane amount of lasers, fog, video (including clips from “Immortal Beloved”), dramatic narration and hair — lots of flying hair by guys and gals.
The show combines rock thunder and classical flair, especially works by Beethoven (though Mozart gets his due). Rock violinist Roddy Chong smiled throughout, criss-crossing the stage, leaping at times, while playing with string-breaking intensity.
But this is par for the TSO course: It pours its heart and soul into its shows, and it also rounds up insanely talented singers, including Rob Evan as Beethoven and female powerhouse Chloe Lowery as Beethoven’s beloved Theresa (though Kayla Reeves was equally impressive)..
Narrator Bryan Hicks’ deep, authoritative voice and theatrical expressiveness lent plenty to the production, which tends to get a little word-heavy at times and sink under exposition. He carries a heavy load, too heavy at times. Might the work be better served as a full-blown musical than narration and songs?
Still, it’s an emotional and occasionally stirring work as Beethoven wrestles with the Devil over his soul and a supposed 10th symphony.
With “Beethoven’s Last Night,” TSO tries to meld the bravura of a classic, Webber-worthy Broadway show, the spectacle of a Pink Floyd concert and power of a pumped-up arena band (with 17 members!).
The show was uneven at times — again, too much story — but when it lifted off, it was NASA worthy.
The concert closed with a generous six-song encore, including several “Night Castle” tracks: “Moonlight and Madness,” “Tracers” and explosive finale, “Carmina Burana.”
The crowd was surprisingly small, just 3,000 fans or so at Tullio Arena. But those who attended were into it and TSO gave its all, playing more than 2 1/2 hours.
TSO, per usual, donated $1 per ticket to a local group. This time the Greater Erie Youth Symphony Orchestra benefited with a $2,971 check.
Just in: the Allman Brothers Band and Santana will team up July 22 at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center in Darien Center, N.Y. Tickets go on sale May 4 at Ticketmaster and by phone at 1-800-745-3000. These two giants are playing just six shows together all summer; it’s cool we get one so close.