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Old City Bar Christmas Song

Old City Bar

Year: 2000

Written By: Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Despite the fact that Trans Siberian Orchestra is a popular band whose songs are heard throughout the season, their less popular songs are perhaps their most influential. "Old City Bar" is a song about Christmas that differs from many Christmas separations songs. A lot of Christmas music is up-lifting and spiritually strong, but "Old City Bar" is different because despite the fact that the setting is decrepit, the message is one of hope.

The song is about a barkeeper who helps a run-away girl get back home on Christmas Eve. The barkeeper originally doesn't care, but a little boy wanders in and reminds the barkeeper and the bar patrons that "if one could be home, they'd be already there." The bartender goes outside and talks to the girl, comes back in, takes every dollar out of the register, puts the girl in the cab and sends her home. The barkeeper is invested with the Christmas spirit. The song describes a setting that is underrepresented in canonized Christmas music while emphasizing a non-secular message. Even if we cannot be home on Christmas Eve--supposing we have a home and a family to return to--there is no reason home cannot be right where you are sitting, even in an old city bar. "Old City Bar" is part of the Lost Christmas Eve storyline and is not often heard outside of the annual concert. However, it is one of the few alternative Christmas songs that can be found on the Lost Christmas Eve album that can be played as a stand-alone song.

Popular secular Christmas songs are not about lonely people sitting in a bar. Most Christmas songs are about toys, parody and togetherness, something that a great many people cannot relate to and a great many people cannot afford.


Old City Bar Lyrics

In an old city bar
That is never too far
From the places that gather
The dreams that have been

In the safety of night
With its old neon light
It beckons to strangers
And they always come in

And the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
The music was low
And the night Christmas Eve

And here was the danger
That even with strangers
Inside of this night
It's easier to believe

Then the door opened wide
And a child came inside
That no one in the bar
Had seen there before

And he asked did we know
That outside in the snow
That someone was lost
Standing outside our door

Then the bartender gazed
Through the smoke and the haze
Through the window and ice
To a corner streetlight

Where standing alone
By a broken pay phone
Was a girl the child said
Could no longer get home

And the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
The bartender turned
And said, not that I care
But how would you know this?
The child said I've noticed
If one could be home
They'd be all ready there

Then the bartender came out from behind the bar
And in all of his life he was never that far
And he did something else that he thought no one saw
When he took all the cash from the register draw

Then he followed the child to the girl cross the street
And we watched from the bar as they started to speak
Then he called for a cab and he said J.F.K.
Put the girl in the cab and the cab drove away
And we saw in his hand
That the cash was all gone
From the light that she had wished upon

If you want to arrange it
This world you can change it
If we could somehow make this
Christmas thing last
By helping a neighbor
Or even a stranger
And to know who needs help
You need only just ask

Then he looked for the child
But the child wasn't there
Just the wind and the snow
Waltzing dreams through the air

So he walked back inside
Somehow different I think
For the rest of the night
No one paid for a drink

And the cynics will say
That some neighborhood kid
Wandered in on some bums
In the world where they hid

But they weren't there
So they couldn't see
By an old neon star
On that night, Christmas Eve

When the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
And in case you should wonder
In case you should care

Why we're on our own
Never went home
On that night of all nights
We were already there