Pop Quiz: Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Aidin Vaziri | Trans-Siberian Orchestra believes holiday music is best served with a generous heaping of lasers and shrieking guitars. For the past decade, the group founded by former members of the also-ran heavy metal outfit Savatage – actually, there are two touring groups dividing their time on opposite ends of the country – has rocked more than 5 million people with its seasonal concerts, moving up from intimate theaters to huge arenas. Next Sunday, Trans-Siberian Orchestra brings songs from its latest release “Night Castle,” featuring a new spin on an old classic in the song “Nutrocker,” to its traditional seasonal set with back-to-back shows at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. We spoke to lead guitarist Al Pitrelli.


Al Pitrelli of Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Q: You’ve gotten so popular that there are two Trans-Siberian Orchestras touring at once. Do you get to pick which coast you tour on?
A: I guess if I really wanted to I could. But all my family and friends live on the East Coast so that’s the last place I want to be during the holiday season.
Q: Someone described what you do as a rock show on steroids.
A: That’s a good way to put it.
Q: I understand there might be some pyrotechnics involved.
A: This year I think we have 17 semis traveling with us and they’re loaded so there isn’t a square inch wasted. This started out in 1999 with a couple fog machines and lights. The reaction was so overwhelming it was like, “Oh boy, what can we pull off now?”
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