Aftermath: Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Megachurch Metal at Toyota Center

Whatever happened to Savatage? They really weren't half bad.

Somewhere between their 1995 album Dead Winter Dead and the light bulb that lit up in producer Paul O'Neill's head in 1996 and told him to create the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a metal-lite equivalent of Mannheim Steamroller, something went tragically awry. Not surprisingly, Sunday evening's TSO performance at Toyota Center was barely half good.

As Thora Birch says in Ghost World, "This is so bad it's gone past good and back to bad again."

Most of the crowd seemed to care little that what they were watching defied any notion that quality beats quantity. On the contrary, the TSO is a touring extravaganza that has no qualms about admitting to having been influenced by the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Since the radio success of "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" - originally recorded by Savatage - the TSO has become a commercial brand name synonymous with perennial Christmas. And lights. Lots and lots of lights.

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Linda Leseman
Contact: Linda Leseman