It wasn’t all that long ago that the shopping-mall sound systems and merciless muzak machines of the holiday season received a heavy dose of prog-rock bombast that shook the snow from the shingles when an organization that called itself the Trans-Siberian Orchestra released its first Christmas-themed rock opera.
When four touring crewmembers of TSO (including vocalists Guy LeMonnier and Joe Cerisano) opted to pursue their own career track in the early years of this decade, they did so under the acronym of WOW, or Wizards of Winter.
Taking their cues from the phenomenally successful mothership (and their name from TSO’s 2004 hit “Wizards in Winter”), LeMonnier and company returned from self-imposed Siberian exile to craft their very own original Christmas rock opera (Tales Beneath a Northern Star) in 2011. Last year, the 12-member WOW ensemble steamed into Red Bank with a show that spotlighted material from Tales, its followup album The Magic of Winter, and a set of supercharged favorites made famous by the Trans-Siberian freight train.
The Wizards return to the Count Basie Theatre Saturday for an 8 p.m. set that showcases the soaring vocal harmonies and keyboard work of a bunch of musicians from the exotic lands of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Take it here for tickets ($25 – $59) — or go here for more info on the many upcoming holiday-themed events at the Basie, including Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s A Christmas Carol (12/2), A Holiday Doo Wop (12/3), and the annual Company of Dance Arts presentation of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker (December 9, 10, 11).