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Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs today in First Niagara Center

We saw three ships come sailing in, filled with equipment for the upcoming Buffalo concert by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Known for its cheery excess, the TSO has created new standards for celebrating a high-wattage Christmas. The band's carols and Christmas rock operas ("The Lost Christmas Eve," "The Christmas Attic") fill arenas with sounds, laser lights and special effects, putting a new, formidable twist on such religious standards as "O Holy Night," "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," "Joy To the World" and "Good King Wenceslas."

One of the mainstays of the TSO, keyboardist Robert Kinkel, is from Williamsville. Whether he will be at the Buffalo show is not clear -- such is the demand for the TSO come yuletide that the group forms two caravans, both crisscrossing the country. If previous shows here are any indication, though, folks who love the TSO's trademark Christmas metal will be more than satisfied. The TSO's philosophy, communicated to The Buffalo News on a previous visit here, is: "Blow it up, just keep every show interesting."

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs at 3 and 8 p.m. today (Dec. 27) in First Niagara Center. Admission is $37-$57 (box office, Ticketmaster). For info, call 855-4400.