“There’s a reason arena rock died,” my friend Jayson hissed at me, as we glanced at my cell phone for the third time in 15 minutes. Those numbers were changing much too slowly. We’d only sat through half an hour of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas show, and already the extravagance rang hollow. The spectacle of hair flinging and V-legged rocker stances was funny for about seventy seconds. The novelty of existing inside a giant screensaver, circa 1993, held my attention for about nine minutes beyond the hair flinging. But now it just felt like some sort of penance — sit through the show to write the review.

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