Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Concert at PPG Paints; Bricolage Staging ‘A Christmas Story’ (Fri., 12/22/17)

1) In 1996, musician/rock band manager Paul O’Neill hit upon the idea that Christmas tunes could be totally progressive and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra was born. The TSO plays holiday music, traditional and originals, with a Rush level of elaboration and technical skill, all of which has racked up millions of album sales. You probably know the band’s wailing, synth-infused version of “Christmas Eve / Sarajevo,” a.k.a. “Carol of the Bells.” It’s one of the most hardcore tracks that DJs pull out every December. Music like this deserves the arena treatment, with a great light show and all, so the TSO has been touring major venues at the holiday season annually. This year’s tour is somewhat different, for tragic reasons: Paul O’Neill passed away from chronic health problems in April, and bassist Dave Z (David Zablidowsky) died in a motor vehicle accident in July. But the band plays on—surely, as these men would have wished—and the TSO visits PPG Paints Arena for matinee and evening performances. The show is billed as a newly enhanced production of last year’s theme “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve.” 3 and 8 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (RH/MV)

2) Pop quiz: You have seen the movie A Christmas Story on HBO (a) too many times to count, (b) maybe once or twice, or (c) never heard of it. Bricolage Production Company says there is no wrong answer, since all are welcome to attend its highly idiosyncratic “Midnight Radio” adaptation of the movie. This theater event starts long before midnight and is not a radio show. Rather, it uses a 1940s-style live radio format (with a live audience, of course) to re-create A Christmas Story, in which Ralphie craves a BB gun despite dire warnings from mom and Santa, dad receives a leg lamp clad in a fishnet stocking, and other such doings converge to make a typical all-American Christmas in the nonexistent town of Hohman, Indiana. The production is billed as “family friendly.” 8 p.m. Continues through tomorrow. 937 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. (MV)

3) Bill Toms and Hard Rain featuring the Soulville Horns are in action tonight for a pre-holiday show at ExcusesToms is heralding the band’s latest album, Good for My Soul. Toms’ slightly raspy, deeply soulful voice and his guitar-playing prowess combine with the drums, horns, and rest of the band to create a hot rock sound. Toms was a member of Joe Grushecky’s Houserockers for over 20 years. 7:30 p.m. 2526 E. Carson St., South Side. (RH)