It probably makes me a pompous ass, but I don’t care: I still chuckle every time I see an annual announcement like this one.
One thing you learn from semi-anonymous blogging for your friends and family and random silent stalkers: Choose the wrong topic, and it will bring out the crusaders for said topic. I guess I always expected that, but what I learned is that you have no idea what that topic will be.
Three years ago, I wrote an innocent (though admittedly pompous) post marking my surprise that the Steamroller of Mannheim and the Orchestra of the Trans Siberians were actually two different brands acts. Boy, did that bring out the comments from TSO defenders in bushels.
Why seek out dark online corners to set straight those who don’t like your already popular favorite music? I don’t know. I can only think of the above xkcd classic, “Duty Calls.”
Meanwhile, this is Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Canon Rock”:
And here is der Mannheim Steamroller, doing “Carol of the Bells” (a title TSO also does):
Heavens, how could I ever confuse them? (Side note: My confusion is only intensified by the “related videos” on YouTube, which are a constant mix of the two.)
Seriously, while they are certainly “different,” it is hardly unfathomable that I once thought them the same. To explain, I’ll just repost a late edit to that original post, after the shitstorm of passionate and hilarious comments had died down:
[post-post-post edit 9/21] I had dinner with three women from my 30-straddling generation last night, and I asked them what they knew of Steamroller and TSO. One said, “Oh, I didn’t realize they were different.”
The second said, “AWK, my mother listens to Steamroller, it’s awful, and aren’t the Trans-Siberians just a knock-off?” and the third said, “I went to a [TSO] concert once. It was okay. I think they play the same set each year.”
Which may reflect misinterpretations, perhaps, but definitely reflects my original point that they may have a branding issue for those who try not to pay attention to either. (But, as we all agree below, they sell out just fine without trying to convert the rest of us, so they shouldn’t worry.)
Sometimes ignorance is sweet, sweet cheesy-guitar-solo-free bliss.
I wait in joyful hope to learn that the Trans Siberians will likewise be headed my way this coming holiday season.