The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

by: Trans-Siberian Orchestra

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve was a live show conceived for television by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, separate from their Christmas Trilogy of recordings, which they were two-thirds of the way through at the time. It aired in on the short-lived Fox Family network in 1999 with a cast that included Ossie Davis, Michael Crawford, and Jewel. It saw a DVD release two years later and finally debuted on audio formats in 2016, though with a few changes to the track list. The show's mix of traditional Christmas tunes and original music with sung narrative tells the story of a runaway who finds shelter in an abandoned theater on Christmas Eve. A caretaker, played by Davis, takes the girl on a tour of the theater's past. Incorporating TSO's familiar palette of keyboards, drums, and chiming electric guitars -- often in unison -- along with dramatic vocals, strings, and choir, the recording opens with a scene-setting instrumental medley of "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "O Holy Night" in which guitar takes the lead. Churning, bagpipe-style electric guitars mark the next track, "Good King Joy." It opens with rock-instrumental versions of "Good King Wenceslas" and "Joy to the World" before a soulful narration begins. For those familiar with the original broadcast, Jewel's "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and Michael Crawford's "O Holy Night" are swapped out here for “Christmas Dreams” and “What Child Is This” from TSO's 2004 album The Lost Christmas Eve. There's also an additional track, "Music Box Blues (Live)," recorded in 2004. The rest of the song set remains, including "Christmas Canon," a version of Pachelbel's Canon that provides contrast to the band's popular, theatrical rock arrangements. Along with the brief "Promises to Keep," it leaves guitars and drums behind for a children's-choir arrangement accompanied by just strings and keyboards. The release coincides with a North American tour of an updated Ghosts of Christmas Eve live show, so while the missing tracks may disappoint fans of the video, the album promises to find new audiences with the revision. ~ Marcy Donelson

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