Trans-Siberian Orchestra Winter Tour Review and Interview With Tour Manager Elliot Saltzman

Trigger Warning: Some of the videos below contain strobe effects.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is currently touring their brand new show, The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, featuring the best of the past and the latest of the present. I’ve seen a couple of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s shows in the past and this year, I was thrilled to share my love of TSO’s amazing theatrics with my husband and son for the first time.

Every picture tells a story and this one says they are having a blast!  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Every picture tells a story and this one says my husband is having a blast! Image: Dakster Sullivan

The show delivered in the story, theatrics, music, and so much more.

The passion and energy the band and singers play with is inspirational. I could tell they were passionate about the music they were playing.

Being the geek that I am, I was watching the tech crew about as much as I was watching the band themselves. I wondered what it took to make this kind of performance happen and what went on behind the scenes at an event like this.

Thanks to a quick interview with Tour Manager, Elliot Saltzman, I don’t have to wonder anymore.

GeekMom: What is the most complex piece of equipment the band travels with for the show?

Elliot Saltzman: Elliot Saltzman!!!!
OR
I would have to say this year it was the custom pyramid, having to integrate lighting, video, multiple pyro effects with hydraulic rams opening and closing the pyramid based in a custom elevator system able to attain height of 30′ and all being run by several human beings and cutting edge software to help them achieve what would not normally be possible.

GM: How long does it take the tech team to prepare for a concert from arriving at the venue to being show ready?

ES: Six hours.

GM: How many support techs are required for the show to run successfully?

ES: 125 of our touring staff and an additional 140 in stagehand and building labor to set this show-up.

One of the tech areas at the show!  Image: Dakster Sullivan
One of the tech areas at the show! Image: Dakster Sullivan

GM: Looking back at past concerts, how has the technology changed over the past 10 years?

ES: Everything changes and not in the last 10 years. Every six months someone is coming up with a new invented wheel, new LED light, audience scanning lasers, better digital sound consoles, improved software, motorized lights, video, stage & automated trusses. It’s an industry where a new light can be replaced by a better product six weeks after it comes out.

The touring & production business is all about having the biggest, the best and the newest because the audiences are very knowledgeable as to what they want to see as far as exciting and we are going up against major movies with $100,000,000 budgets for special effects and when the fans come and see a show they know what’s mediocre and what’s amazing.

Closer up view of the tech area with the pyramid of awesomeness controls.  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Closer up view of the tech area with the pyramid of awesomeness controls. Image: Dakster Sullivan

GM: For the younger fans who want to work in this field when they get older, what kind of courses would you recommend they focus on?

ES: I hate to say it but courses are not what’s needed, experience is what means the most, starting at the local level, working with a band, a local lighting, sound, video, laser, pryo co., etc, and persevere at getting a steady gig with one of them. The rest is just like any other job; if you are good at it and put your time in, you will get that break and get a touring position that takes you to the next level
and you career begins, or you figure out this is not the life you want and get off the road.

The most important thing that no course can teach you is how to live on the road. Lack of sleep, living in a coffin-like bunk on a bus with 11 other individuals, the truck stop food, taking your showers in an arena dressing room, missing most birthdays, anniversaries, holidays with your family, those are some of the downsides of life on the road, but the upsides are amazing. Ask anybody that’s been doing it for a long time and there is no other life. I have hired thousands of people for all positions imaginable and have never once asked about their education. It’s about what they have done and were they successful at it.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra is on tour through December 30th. For more information, including ticket pricing, head over to their website!

Note for little ears: Depending on where you sit, you may or may not need earplugs for this performance. My family had seats on the floor around 30 rows from the stage and our ear plugs were a lifesaver to say the least.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received tickets to the show for review purposes.