at the Moda Center, Portland, OR, USA, November 23, 2019

TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA (Live at the Moda Center, Portland, OR, USA, November 23, 2019)
Photo: Bryce Van Patten

TSO delivers an early Christmas present from ‘Handful of Rain’

The holiday season is once again upon us, so is another tradition: Trans-Siberian Orchestra! Once again we are graced with what must be the largest touring metal band in the world, and the most spectacular stage and lighting show one could hope for.

Vitalij Kuprij on keyboards.
Photo: Bryce Van Patten

Band leader Al Pitrelli and friends continue sharing the music of the late Paul O’Neil with the world on what must be a grueling tour at 2 sold out shows a day. Formed in 1996 by Paul O’Neil,  Al Pitrelli and Jon Oliva; Trans-Siberian Orchestra has sold over 10 million concert tickets and 10 million albums since their inception. Few bands can even come close to the impact they have had not only on holiday music, but on arena metal as well.

Al Pitrelli
Photo: Bryce Van Patten

The original foundation of Trans-Siberian Orchestra is made up of members of Savatage, and the band still includes 4 members: Al Pitrelli, Jonny Lee Middleton, Chris Caffery and Jeff Plate. The full list of band members in TSO is long and changing with so many supporting players, but the core members remain.

Johnny Lee Middleton on bass.
Photo: Bryce Van Patten

The concert begins with a the complete performance of Christmas Eve and other Stories narrated by Phillip Brandon. As always, the lighting and stage is incredible with an abundance of smoke, flames, laser lights and video screens creating an unreal experience.

Jeff Plate on drums.
Photo: Bryce Van Patten

There are many vocalists that perform throughout the show, but the power and emotion of Chloe Lowery is second to none. From her breathy soft notes to her soaring highs, Chloe can bring tears to your eyes with her stirring performance.

The amazing Chloe Lowery.
Photo: Bryce Van Patten

The second half of the concert featured several different songs from the bands career, and even included a gem I never thought I would hear live. As a burning sailing vessel is animated on the large screen, Al Pitrelli begins playing a familiar riff on an acoustic guitar. As Andrew Ross sings, you would never know that you were not listening to ‘A Handful of Rain’ by Savatage. The crowd was thrilled, and the band was perfect. What a wonderful Christmas present to all of us Savatage fans, and in fact to every member of the audience.

Asha Mevlana on electric violin.
Photo: Bryce Van Patten

Every performer was at the top of their game: from Jeff Scott Soto to Asha Mevlana and Jane Mangini. The great thing about the Trans-Siberian orchestra is the appeal they have to all ages. I see people from every age group at these concerts: from small children to gray haired rockers. This show has something for everyone, and shouldn’t be missed.

Jane Mangini on keyboards.
Photo: Bryce Van Patten

I highly recommend seeing the show, and there are plenty of opportunities to still see them. Only buy your tickets directly from the bands website, to insure that you don’t over pay for resale tickets, and to ensure that the band gets the money. Go directly to

Band Members (partial list)

Al Pitrelli (1999, 2001–present) guitar
Chris Caffery (1999–present)  guitar
Angus Clark (2001–present) guitar
Joel Hoekstra (2010–2014, 2016–present) guitar
Johnny Lee Middleton (1999–2000, 2002–present) bass
Jeff Plate (1999–present) drums
Vitalij Kuprij (2009–present) keyboards
Jane Mangini (2001–present) keyboards
Asha Mevlana (2011–present) Violin
Andrew Ross (2007–present) vocals
Chloe Lowery (2010–present) vocals
Ashley Hollister (2016–present) vocals
Jeff Scott Soto (2008–present) vocals
Phillip Brandon (2010–present) narrator

Review and photography by Bryce Van Patten


Who I Am
An Angel Came Down
O Come All Ye Faithful / O Holy Night
The Prince of Peace
First Snow
A Mad Russian’s Christmas
Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)
Good King Joy
Old City Bar
Promises to Keep
This Christmas Day
An Angel Returned
The Storm / The Mountain
Handful of Rain
Christmas Canon Rock
Wizards in Winter
Can You Hear Me Now
Wish Liszt (Toy Shop Madness)
Requiem (The Fifth)
Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) (Reprise)


  • Bryce Van Patten

    Bryce is an audio engineer and a graphic designer here at Metal Express Radio. From the day he purchased his first album (Machine Head by Deep Purple), he has had a passion for heavy music, which has influenced his whole life. Bryce is from the great Pacific Northwest in USA, and has played in metal bands like Babylon, Holy Terror, The Wild Dogs, Warhead and Egypt through the 80s. He had his first interview for the Portland, Oregon publication The Rock Rag with guitarist Paul Gilbert in his Racer X days. Then he was honored to get to have drinks, and talk for an hour with the legendary Dan McCafferty of Nazareth for his second interview. In 2013, he spent an amazing hour talking to Andi Deris of Helloween, which was the high point of his heavy metal journalism.   In the year 2001, he formed Man in Black Music Publishing. They released recordings by several local bands, and in the spirit of the old Metal Massacre compilations, he created a 2-album series called The Defenders of Metal. The albums featured classic styled Metal bands from all around the world, with bands from Australia to England, and from Argentina to Russia. Currently, he is the producer/creator/vocalist of the Metal band The Black Tuesdays.

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