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Catch ‘Beethoven’ on his farewell tour

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After nearly 20 years, Trans Siberian Orchestra is still having firsts. Last year marked the first time that the progressive metal band toured Europe.

“It’s been a long time coming, and it was amazing to play over there,” says Paul O’Neill, the founder, guitarist and lyricist for the band. “It felt like home performing the music from ‘Beethoven’s Last Night.’ There was a point in the London concert where I realized the queen was watching us. It was an intense feeling.”

The band’s current tour will be the last time that it performs music from “Beethoven’s Last Night.” O’Neill says the band has been working on new material, which will be released in 2013.

Trans Siberian Orchestra
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 28
WHERE: Santa Ana Star Center, 3001 Civic Centre in Rio Rancho
HOW MUCH: $30.25-$55.25 plus applicable service charges at www.santaanastarcenter.com or www.comcasttix.com

“We’re actually doing two albums simultaneously,” he explains. “I’ve been working out all the kinks over the years and finding the right voice to all of the music. One album is going to revolve around the Balkan revolution.”

Over the course of nearly 20 years, TSO has grown tremendously. The touring show can play only arenas, which is a testament to the show.

“What I’ve wanted to give all along is nearly three hours of pure entertainment,” O’Neill says. “I don’t ever want people to be disappointed with the show. That’s the reason I work so hard and enjoy having creative control over the entire show. It’s a lot for me to handle, but I enjoy that stress.”

TSO has more than 80 members, and keeping track of the band is a tough job.

“Everyone has a place in the band and we find people who fit perfectly,” he says. “But it does take time to find the right person to fill the role. Luckily, I have top-notch singers and performers with me right now.”

TSO has released five albums – “Christmas Eve and Other Stories,” “The Christmas Attic,” “Beethoven’s Last Night,” “The Lost Christmas Eve” and “Night Castle.” The latest album came in 2009.

O’Neill says he’s looking forward to moving on from “Beethoven’s Last Night” because it’s often difficult to find ways to give a different show.

“Our show is very theatrical and full of energy,” he says. “We always want it to feel like it’s fresh, which is why we hit different markets every time we tour. What we don’t want is to ever feel stale.”

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