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savacon 1999

September 4, 1999
Secaucus, New Jersey
by Nathan Bradley

question and answer period with the band
Jon telling another story during the Q&A period. (You see, we were on the bus when this truck passed us doing like a hundred....There was money falling out of the sky.....)
 
Steve Wacholz is in the background with Johnny Lee barely peeking out from behind Jon. Unfortunately, this is the only picture of Steve I got. Steve was very instrumental in making Savacon '99 a success.
question and answer period with the band
The one, the only, the smug, Al Pitrelli. Al hung out during the Q&A session.
question and answer period with the band
The allusive Paul O'Neill makes his entrance to Savacon '99. Paul stayed through out the Q&A period and fielded a number of fan questions and told some amazing stories.
question and answer period with the band
Johnny Lee during the Q&A period. Unfortunately most of my pictures of Johnny Lee did not come out. This the only one that I was able to save with the help of PhotoShop. ( Extra special thanks to Johnny Lee for making the trip and even more thanks to Michelle for her understanding)
talent show contestants
October Thorns bassist, Dave Zablidowsky, the first talent show contestant took second place overall in the contest. Dave Z gave quite a performance and was quite a showman during his act. He set a high bar for other contestants to meet. It was truly a treat to see Dave perform.
 
"I played an original bass solo in which I also threw in some familiar tunes. Some of these tunes consisted of "The Pink Panther", "Billy Jean" by Micheal Jackson and the theme to Beverly Hills Cop (all two handed tapping). When I first heard about the talent show I was real excited to enter. But nothing can top the excitement I felt when I found out that Jon and Chris would be the judges. I respect these guys so much. To play in front of them was really an honor of the highest kind. Winning second place and a cash prize of $60 wasn't so bad either, but nevertheless I will not forget Jon's words to me when I was done: "This guy's a great bass player". That in and of itself is a great compliment, but when it's said through the mouth of a musician like Jon, it makes it that much better. I would just like to thank everyone who made it possible for me to play in the talent show and furthermore made it possible to play the Savatage cover set with my band October Thorns.
Thanks a million!"
-- Dave Z
talent show contestants
Steve guitarist for the new band Atmosphere was the third guitarist in Talent show... Atmosphere is represented by Catalyst Promotions. He won a TKL Bass Case which he swapped for a TKL guitar case.
talent show contestants
Talent Show Contestant, Don LaFon guitarist for Texas based metal band Mystic Cross. Jon said he could listen to this guy play forever!!! Don won a TKL guitar case.
talent show contestants
Gothic Knights played a version of Strange Wings for the talent show.
talent show contestants
The lone vocalist in the Talent show, Brett, sang Suite Madam Blue by Stynx. (Yep, he hit every note.) Brett won entry into drinking race with the Mountain King. (Suprisingly, the Mountain King lost). He definately has a great voice.
talent show contestants
October Thorns guitarist, Joseph Chawki, took 1st place in the talent show. Look at Jon's expression in the picture below when he played. That pretty much explains this guys level of talent. Jon fired Chris Caffery right after Chawki finished. But when Jon found out Chawki couldn't even legally get into a bar, he re-hired Chris. :-)
talent show contestants
This is no computer edit to get the 'evil eyes'. Honestly, it just turned out that way. This is Jon in awe of October Thorns lead guitarist, Joseph Chawki.
talent show contestants
 

The October Thorns drummer, Joseph Cardillo, performed in the contest and walked away with a set of TKL Drum Cases. If anyone did get a shot of Joseph, send it in.

talent show contestants
Jill Beers also participated in the contest and playing an original score on her keys. She easily wrapped up 3rd place in the contest.
 
"The piano piece I played for the talent show was one of my original compositions, a melodic instrumental. I already had the basic ideas for it months ago, but it was only completely finished a few weeks before the convention. My self-criticism tells me I made a complete mess of it by stopping prematurely 3/4 of the way through, but aside from that flub, I actually didn't make any other mistakes, and it went well. I've always wanted to play in front of Jon Oliva, since he was, and still is, one of my driving inspirations behind why I continue to play and love piano so much. He gave me encouraging words when I stopped and got the crowd to chant my name to get me to finish my song up, which I thought was beyond cool! So, although I didn't do my best, and certainly didn't think I deserved third place (there were so many talented participants!), I was honored that Jon and Chris at least liked my piece, and glad I got the chance to play it for them."
-- JILL BEERS
talent show contestants
Roger Manzo a.k.a Odeon Max, Winner of the autographed Jackson Guitar !!!
One very lucky dude!!!
 
"Yep, that's me. I still can't believe I won the guitar!! I am Roger Manzo from Belleville, NJ. I'm 26, and have been playing since I was fifteen. Mostly guitar and bass, but I am learning keyboards at the moment. Savatage has been an influence since Edge of Thorns. Since then I've aquired their entire collection. My favorite song is Sirens. Other bands I listen to are Helloween, Gamma Ray, Dream Theater, Stratovarius, King Diamond, Virgin Steele, and many many others. Savacon99 was so cool. No wonder I love this band so much. I can't wait for the next album."
-- Roger Manzo
gutter ballet jam session
Chris playing gutter ballet during the Gutter Ballet Jam Session with Dave Z (bass) and Chawki (guitar) from October Thorns, George (vocals) from Zandelle, Steve Walchoz on drums, Jon sharing vocals and Jaysin Cimetta on Keys.
gutter ballet jam session
Chris Caffery screamin' Gutter Ballet licks during the Jam.
gutter ballet jam session
The Mountain King doin' what the Mountain King does best!!!
gutter ballet jam session
Jon singing during the Gutter Ballet Jam Session
gutter ballet jam session
Chris messing with the Mountain King while the Mountain King sits on his throne amusing a room full of awe struck fans.