The Wizards of Winter keep the Yuletide vibe going after dusk with a Saturday night set at the Count Basie Theatre. (Click to enlarge)
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.
Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett (above) brings a career-retrospective tour to the Count Basie Theatre tonight, while the back-from-Siberia Wizards of Winter (below) share a holiday prog-rock opera on Saturday, November 28.
PROG! Your friendly neighborhood indie-rock music snob can tell you that this most technique-happy of subgenres is one of the Four P’s (with Punk, Pop, and Psych) that make their collectible-vinyl world go ’round — and on this week of Thanksgiving, our Count Basie Theatre bridges the seasons of Fall and Fa-La-La, in bombastically bookending “progressive rock” style.
It begins this very night, November the 23rd, with a rare area gig by a rock-guitar virtuoso who made his name with Genesis, back during that British band’s highly theatrical, fantasy-infused era of epic-length storysongs and mini-rock operas. Staying on with the group for two albums following the departure of original frontman Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett would follow suit right on the cusp of the Phil Collins-led trio’s breakout into pop-chart world domination. Hackett, however, had his own proggy path to pursue, through dozens of solo albums, collaborations (including a surprise trip to the Billboard Top 20 with the short-lived supergroup GTR) and tributes to the baroquely busy glory days of his old band — and for his 8 pm stop on a big North American tour, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer presents a program that juxtaposes a 40 year cross-section of his solo work (from 1975’s Acolyte to 2015’s Wolflight) and a selection of Genesis chestnuts that include generous portions of that classic lineup’s magnum opus The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Aiding and abetting Hackett will be vocalist Nad Sylvan, plus Roger King (keyboards), Gary O’Toole (drums), Roine Stolt (bass) and Rob Townsend (saxes and flutes). Take it here for tickets ($25 – $75) — and turn the record over for more.