The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has a lofty name, but the band is actually the project of Savatage rocker Paul O'Neill, who got together with his Savatage pal Jon Olivia and Robert Kinkel in 1996 to make "symphonic rock," or orchestral music devoted to Christmas that fused elements of hard rock, Broadway and classical in a completely modern way.
TSO, in the band's fans' estimation, pulls it off.
And TSO's fans are many: Last week the band sold nearly 136,000 discs of its combined releases including its three Christmas CDs and the DVD The Ghosts of Christmas Eve.
The live shows are jam-packed and, fans say, nearly spiritual.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $30-$40. (813) 287-8844 or (727) 898-2100.
- GINA VIVINETTO, Times pop music critic