Al Pitrelli is coming home.
Well, not exactly home, as the guitarist and musical director for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is New York bred through and through, but when he takes a look at the 2019 tour itinerary, he smiles when he sees a stop at Kansas City’s Sprint Center Dec. 7 for shows at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
“Oh Kansas City, how I love Kansas City,” Pitrelli said in a recent phone interview. “Kansas City has been with us since Day 1 – 21 years ago when we played about six or seven cities and sold about 20,000 total tickets.”
“We were at the Memorial Hall, and it was so small we couldn’t even use most of our pyro – but we felt a special connection with our fans in Kansas City. We loved them, and they loved what we were doing and now, it’s like watching your kids grow up.”
“Twenty one years – that’s the legal drinking age (laughing) and we’re coming to town with something bigger and better than you’ve ever seen.”
For the first time in several years, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is going back to its roots and is reprising “Christmas Eve and Other Stories,” the 3.5-million selling CD that put them on the music map with an exclamation point.
“Paul would have loved this tour,” said Pitrelli, referring to TSO’s founding father and his longtime friend Paul O’Neil, who died in 2017. “This was the first CD we ever did, and it just exploded. If you haven’t seen us in a while, or even if you have seen every stop in Kansas City, you have to see this production.”
Pitrelli chuckles when he talks about the dynamics of this year’s tour.
“The first year, one 24-foot box truck and six or seven shows,” he said. “This year, 115 shows and 20 tractor trailer rigs – unbelievable. It’s like watching your kid grow up to be president.”
“Christmas Eve and Other Stories” tells the tale of a father who misses his daughter during the holidays. Through the kindness of strangers and a bit of heavenly intervention, his daughter makes it home for Christmas.
“I look out in the audience and see 3- and 4-year-olds with their parents or their 80-year-old grandparents, and they’re all enjoying the show so much,” Pitrelli said. “I have two kids in the military – on different sides of the world – and I know what it’s like to have those empty places at the Christmas dinner table.”
“It can be a bittersweet holiday for sure, but for one night, we want to bring a little holiday magic into the lives of everyone at our show.”