TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Make Christmas Rock In Baltimore! [Photo Gallery]

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Trans Siberian Orchestra

Christmas came to Baltimore a little early this year. The rock extravaganza slash opera Trans Siberian Orchestra played to a nearly full house at the Royal Farms arena and displayed a dazzling performance. I have never concert lighting like Trans Siberian Orchestra’s, this is quite possibly the best display in the rock world. This was the first time I have had an opportunity to see Trans Siberian Orchestra. And we were offered some fabulous seats very close to the front. Trans Siberian Orchestra have had a sorrowful year, with the deaths of founder Paul O’Neill and the bassist David Z., Russell Allen was seriously injured in the accident that took the life of David Z., and it was great to see him back on stage. Many were skeptical if and how they were going to do without their visionary founder. The packed venues on this tour has been a sign that the band will carry on as strong as ever. Russell Allen mentioned during the show that on multiple dates on this tour they are playing two shows, a sign of the popularity of the band.

Trans Siberian Orchestra

 

The music of Trans Siberian Orchestra is loud, I could hear it pounding all around the arena even with my giant ear plugs in. The show lasting over two and a half hours, Trans Siberian Orchestra delivered what they are known for, pounding rock amalgamated with orchestra amidst breathtaking lighting and moving pieces of stages. The first half of the show was dubbed The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, with the second being a potpourri of the best songs by Trans Siberian Orchestra. The intermittent narration of the Ghosts of Christmas Eve added to the overall mood of the show. The musicianship blends seamlessly with the narration and the clips on those massive projection screens. The over the top projection beats that of even Iron Maiden! The exemplary guitar & violin play with over a dozen (honestly I lost count) vocalists is perfect. The well timed keyboard strokes set the tone for everything else. I love bands where the bass is loud and clear without and it was delivered in plenty. Russel Allen’s dance moves were, to be fair, a comedic addition to the show. Trans Siberian Orchestra closed the show with Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24), which they played earlier as well, and left to a wide applause from the crowd. This is a show I would love to cover next year when they will be on tour again. There was some very entertaining pyrotechnics, however they didn’t occur during the first three songs that we were able to capture. If you are a Christmas and rock lover in the Washington D.C. Metro area head out to the Capital One Arena on Dec 16th, Trans Siberian Orchestra will be there putting on yet another spectacle you need to witness. You owe yourself a ticket to this show if you have never seen them before. The show is family friendly as well, a sight to see for all ages. They have about 90 dates left on this current tour, so you will in all likelihood get a chance to see them. Let us know what you think after you see them grace the stage. Signing off now, until my next review.

Set List

1. Time and Distance (The Dash)
2. Winter Palace
3. The Lost Christmas Eve

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve
4. O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night
5. Good King Joy
6. Christmas Dreams
7. Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) (Savatage cover)
8. Christmas Canon Rock
9. What Child Is This?                                                                                                                                                                        10. Music Box Blues
11. First Snow
12. Promises to Keep
13. This Christmas Day

The Best of TSO
14. Siberian Sleigh Ride
15. An Angel’s Share
16. Christmas Nights in Blue
17. A Mad Russian’s Christmas
18. For the Sake of Our Brother
19. Wizards in Winter
20. Madness of Men
21. Beethoven
22. Carmina Burana
23. The Safest Way Into Tomorrow
24. The Night Conceives
25. The Mountain
26. Find Our Way Home
27. Requiem (The Fifth)
28. Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) (Reprise)

 

 

EPICA, LACUNA COIL, INSOMNIUM & ELANTRIS In Baltimore! [Photo Gallery]

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Epica & Cristina Scabbia

The Ultimate Principle tour featuring Epica, Lacuna Coil, Insomnium and Elantris reached Baltimore last Wednesday. This was one of the last dates of the tour and hence I wanted to thoroughly mull over the performance before I put pen to paper. This is hands down the most melodic tour of the year in North America. Rarely do we see a tour with two powerhouse mezzo soprano vocalists in heavy metal. The excitement in the Facebook groups devoted to symphonic and gothic metal has been palpable for months. As I grow older I have slowly gravitated towards the symphonic aspect of heavy metal, and not attending a lineup of genre defining bands was never a question! Continue reading

EXODUS, OBITUARY Slay The Stage In Baltimore! [Photo Gallery]

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Exodus

Here is a scenario, Baltimore city lay amidst ruins engulfed by flames and black smoke. As a raven flies over the city towards the inner harbor, it watches the fires and flames gradually intensify. The exact epicenter being 124 Market Place, the street address of Baltimore Soundstage. Surely this must have happened in one of the infinite alternate universes that exist. The cause behind this mayhem are two bands, Exodus and Obituary. On a balmy Saturday night, the two bands blew the lid off Baltimore Soundstage with the heaviest performance I have seen in a very long time. The tour titled “Battle of The Bays” is possibly the heaviest tour of the Fall, and I was not going to miss it. Continue reading

DEAD CROSS & SECRET CHIEFS 3 In Baltimore [Photo Gallery]

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Dead Cross

 

Last Friday night I was in Baltimore to experience DEAD CROSS, a super group consisting of past and present members of the bands Suicidal Tendencies, The Misfits, Slayer, Faith No More, Tomahawk etc. I had been approved for this show months ahead of the show date, and as a fan of Slayer I was excited to see Dave Lombardo on drums. DEAD CROSS released their eponymous album, the first one of the band, which has received excellent reviews from fans and critics alike. While I am not a huge fan of hardcore, I totally get why the fans have been so excited about this tour. Continue reading

THE DEAD DAISIES, THE DIVES, THRILLKILLER @ Rams Head Live [Photo Gallery]

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The Dead Daisies

Last Friday night I headed back to Ram’s Head Live after four months to cover The Dead Daisies, a super group consisting of members who had played in bands like Guns N’ Roses, Thin Lizzy, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake and various other well known bands. I had listened to their recent album ‘Make Some Noise’ and checked out snippets of their live performances. The Washington DC-Baltimore metropolitan had been hit by a major storm system in the late afternoons and those who made it to the venue on time really had to endure the horrendous traffic of the region in very hard driving conditions. I was extremely annoyed to see the show start earlier than the scheduled time, which in my opinion is criminal, especially as it was a major “weather alert” day. Continue reading

Blaze Bayley Live In Baltimore! [Photo Gallery]

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Blaze Bayley

 

Last night I had my second consecutive fantastic Sunday night in Baltimore. I covered Blaze Bayley, a singer who was the former front man of the iconic metal legends Iron Maiden, one of the greatest metal bands the universe has ever seen. This is a tour many may not have paid the attention it well and truly deserves! Iron Maiden is my favorite heavy metal band, bar none. Well, I am one of those people who think his album ‘The X Factor’ with Iron Maiden is fantastic, albeit different from the Dickinson era Maiden. This is an album that had kept me company during my troubled and volatile years while riding down remote mountainous roads in India on my motorcycle. And not once during those days did I imagine Blaze Bayley shoving the microphone right in my face to sing “The Man on The Edge” with him, the way he did last night. Personally, the whole show was sort of a trip down memory lane. Fish Head Cantina, located in Baltimore, is the venue where I photographed my very first heavy metal show, the band on that occasion being the mighty influential NWOBHM band Diamond Head. And to cover another legend in Blaze Bayley was the fitting way to go back to where it all began as a concert photographer. Continue reading

MARTY FRIEDMAN, THE FINE CONSTANT, SCALE THE SUMMIT In Baltimore! [Photo Galley]

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Marty Friedman

 

Here is a short story. A long time back a young kid growing up in a small hamlet by the Himalayas had chanced upon some guitar/music magazine with Marty Friedman on the cover, on the very same day he had first listened to the opening solo of “Hangar 18”. An article in the magazine had mentioned that Marty Friedman had grown up in a city called Laurel in a certain state called Maryland in the US. The name of this nondescript city of Laurel in a state called Maryland stuck in his head, maybe it was due to the magical solos in “Rust in Piece”. The kid developed into a fan of Megadeth eventually. He had also heard of a city called Baltimore that was in a book of the Tarzan series. When he moved to Maryland from a remote corner in Asia to pursue his studies he had no real clue of how close Maryland was to Washington DC or Baltimore for that matter. And little did he know that one day he was going to cover a show by the man himself Marty Friedman in a venue located in the heart of Baltimore. The boy of course is none other than me.

Megadeth has been my favorite thrash metal band, since I discovered them at the age of 20! At the cost of sounding like a very old guy I must mention in my defense that back in the days before the internet, western music reached the developing world quite late. As an example, disco was huge in the late eighties and early nineties in the Asian subcontinent! Can you imagine that? I regretted not being able to attend the Baltimore show of the Inferno tour, and out of nowhere appeared this Wall of Sound tour. I was not sure if I would be able to attend this show until the very last moment. Thank you very much painkillers! Believe me, they do a phenomenal job of subsiding the pain associated with wisdom teeth extractions. Attending this show came with a lot of emotions and is a very personal story to me. Hence, contrary to my usual style of dedicating individual section of a review for each band, I will let this be a potpourri of personal emotions that I felt at the show. Continue reading

Maryland’s TUBEFREEKS Raise The Bar With ‘The Dry Tide’

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Maryland hard rockers, Tubefreeks, are at it again with their self-released, third full-length album ‘The Dry Tide’.  The album comes fully stocked with blistering guitar solos, entrancing rhythm riffs, and harmonized vocals which preserve the spirit of the 90’s grunge era that we all love so well.  I was given this album along with others to review, and nothing hit me quite like ‘The Dry Tide’ and at first listen, I was hooked. Continue reading

THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE, SUMO CYCO, ARMY OF THE UNIVERSE In Baltimore! [Photo Gallery]

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The Birthday Massacre

This Friday night I found myself in slightly unfamiliar territory, covering a live performance by The Birthday Massacre, Army of the Universe and Sumo Cyco. I had not seen live performances of any of the genres that these bands are a part of, let alone the bands. My musical preference is usually harder, heavier, darker, abrasive and loaded with blistering guitar work. I have wanted to explore reviewing works of other genres for a while now. This Friday night after the end of a frenetic work week was a good one to buck this trend. Largely due to my lack of supreme expertise with these styles of music, this review is an assessment of the bands’ overall feel of the music, the live performance and the interaction with the crowd. Continue reading

Live Review: SABATON, LEAVES’ EYES, BATTLE BEAST In Silver Springs, MD [Photo Gallery]

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Sabaton

 

The Last Tour by Swedish power metal band Sabaton finally came to the Washington DC/Baltimore area last Monday night on the last show of their North American tour. This is a tour I have been waiting to cover for a while primary due to my obsession with military history, and history in general. And on top of that one of the supporting bands was Battle Beast and Leaves’ Eyes, possibly my favorite symphonic metal band. The last album released by Sabaton, ‘The Last Stand’, after which this tour was named, was very well received by fans and critics alike. Additionally, I had seen some phenomenal concert photographs of Sabaton clicked by some of my mentors and was raring to photograph this show. Let me dive in to the review now, you can check out the photographs at the bottom of the page. Continue reading