|Please tell us about your earliest TS Concerts/Memories!|
|I sometimes don't feel like a true SMF...only because I'm from SoCal and my first exposure to Twisted Sister was Stay Hungry at the time it hit big. Not at all one of the East Coast Kids that had been vehemently supporting the band since the early 70's. I remember talking to my friend Dave(who also introduced me to Alice Cooper) about the WNGTI video, and he told me to check out their other album YCSRNR because it was much better. I did....and I was eternally hooked. My other friend Justin somehow got ahold of a Secret Records cassette of Under The Blade and sold it to me(he suddenly gave up on Metal and Comic Books and sold me all he had for $10) After hearing UTB....I just couldn't get enough! I've had many friends over the years that never could understand my love of the band....and I eventually gave up on trying to explain it. I couldn't understand why I might need to. I mean....how do you listen to the music and NOT understand how kick ass it is? Then again, some folks could just never get past the image. Anyway, over the years, I have found myself defending The Boys from many an accusation....from Has-Been to One-Hit-Wonder to Sell-Out to Just Another 80's Hair Metal band. I have never wavered and, like the boys in the band, never made excuses. That's one of the things I have always respected most about TS and the SMF's. No bullshit. You get it or you don't. You don't try to justify, you just know......when the boys hit the stage.....you will loose your fucking mind! |
The first time I saw Twisted Sister was March 14, 1985. The second time was March 15, 1985.
These were, of course, 2 of the 4 nights opening for Iron Maiden at Long Beach Arena which eventually became Maidens classic live album Live After Death. Long Beach Arena is massive....I dunno, maybe 20,000 people. So, roughly 80,000 people got to see Twisted Sister(assuming everyone came in to see the opening band). A lot of my friends were just going to see Maiden...not me....Maiden is still my favorite Metal band, but I was equally stoked to see TS. Not to mention this was my early birthday(April, 29) present. Well, the March,14th ticket was a present....the show was so fucking incredible that me and a few friends went back the next night(the 15th) and bought tickets from scalpers. Anyway, one thing I remember from the show on the 14th was Dee stopping the show cause someone threw a bottle onstage(or people throwing bottles, i had nosebleed seats, so it was hard to tell) and called the bitch(es) out. This was over 25 years ago, so I can't remember what Dee said exactly, but he basically invited the the assholes to come onstage and voice their opinions or and shut the fuck up and rock because the other 20,000 people there wanted to rock their asses off. I remember Dee getting a huge cheer of support from the crowd and then the show continued.
I know Dee is sorta famous for that sorta thing(calling out the shitheads), but at that time in America, he'd mostly only done it in small venues.
That night he pulled it off in a major arena. He brought down the fucking house! And he got the support of the majority of the people there. Yeah, maybe I'm romanticizing it all...but still.....I'll never forget it!
Nearly A Band Member
|I'm with you on trying to explain why TS means so much to the true SMF's. I've created a few SMF's over the years but many just don't get it. |
The first time I saw Twisted was the week "Stay Hungry" came out (I believe) in June 1984. It was in Bangor, Maine and they blew the roof off the place. It was just them with no opening act. The Bangor Auditorium held probably 1000 people or so. They played every song off "Stay Hungry" except "Don't Let Me Down" along with a few from the first 2 albums. I waited outside the venue for 4 hours waiting for the doors to open and then I sprinted straight for the front the stage. I was front and center right up against the barricade for the whole show. I had made a banner that read "Twisted Sister Rules" and Dee gave me a big thumbs up when he saw it. That show still stands up as one of the best show's I've ever seen. I brought a buddy with me that didn't know much about the band. This kid never (and I mean NEVER) cursed. By the end of the night, he was singing and screaming that he was a Sick Mutha Fucka. Add him to the list of new SMF's!!! LOL!!!
But to speak to your comments on Dee calling out the idiots, we'd have to go to my 2nd show. It was October 1984 in Portland, Maine. They were the headliner with Dokken opening up. I was again front & center up against the barricade and about half-way thru the show, Dee calls out the moron standing right next to me. The crowd was out of control and going crazy. Dee points to the guy next to me and asks "What's the matter? You seat's not good enough for you?" This asshole responds but flipping Dee the bird and yelling "Fuck you!” Big mistake! Dee lost it and went off on this idiot. He started yelling at this moron, threw his mic down on the stage and jumped off the stage in between the stage and barricade. He was in this guy’s face screaming at him while the security guards were pulling him back. He eventually climbed back on stage and told security to "get that piece of shit out of here" and they did just that. They pulled him out of the crowd and escorted him out while the 11,000 or so people there went completely bezerk. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I can tell you one thing. When Dee Snider is standing inches in front of your face tearing the guy next to you apart, it definitely leaves a lasting impression. LOL!!! I have never held back at a Twisted Sister show because I have no intention of being "that guy". LOL!!!
There you have it. There are other great memories from Twisted Sister shows but those are my 2 earliest. This could be a fun thread. Great idea!
Location: Baltimore, MD
|great memory Amuz! thanks for sharing that! |
I've got so many Twisted memories now, I'm assembling them into something that I hope will eventually look like a book. Here's the "reader's digest" abridged version of that:
I was 14 when I fell in love with Twisted--too young to get to the clubs, and when TS and Maiden came to my town on the Stay Hungry Tour, I wasn't allowed to go. I didn't drive--lived an hour from the arena where they were playing. Mind you, I had no money, no wheels and no way to get there. Using a temporary underage work permit (anyone under 16 had to have one to legally work) I took a number of odd jobs on the weekends, but I grew up in a very strict household and my parents were not about to let me spend money on "that...that ....that garbage!" One of my brother's friends decided to go, and so I took an under-the-table inventory job on a Saturday that was going to pay me $13 cash. I dumped out the remains of a jar of change from my school lunch money, and while forbidden to go (really. they were THAT strict with me.) I wanted the next best thing-- I gave Paul my bills and coin--and told him: "Make it black. And it must have Dee's face on it. Smallest size they have." The day after, Paul came to school and handed me my 1985 tour shirt--size small, black....bones on the front...Dee's head on the back...and PLAY IT LOUD, MUTHA! underneath. I rushed into the bathroom, put it on.....and wore that shirt as many times as I could. I promised myself that next time, I would be there, no matter what.
Sure enough, predictably, about a year later, TS launched the "Come Out and Play Tour." And even more predicable, the parents said "Absolutely NOT." They had enough of my crazy hair, my "dirtbag" appearance in a very preppy school, and worst of all--playing Twisted Sister in a house where opera and classical music was the norm. I had already formulated a ritual of hiding my TS shirt in various places in my room, along with all of the albums, cassettes and photos--my father had threatened, on more than one occasion, to throw everything out while I was at school. It actually lead me to hand-wash my shirt so that he would never see it in the laundry pile--looking back now, it was a practice that extended it's life. (I still have the shirt today!) I bought a ticket after working some more odd jobs--it was in the back row of a huge arena--and I figured since I had the ticket, they'd let me go. Wrong again.
Knowing that I was going to see another tour come and go, I wrote to the band, what essentially amounted to a fan love letter--one to each band member. I remember the day vividly when the envelope arrived from Twisted Sister's publicist--a hand written note, telling me that the band was on tour, but she would forward my letters to them (enclosed along with a few nice glossies). Imagine my surprise, when a few weeks later, a long, handwritten letter arrived from A.J. Pero. We corresponded a few times, and I spilled out my plight to A.J. No friends....no driver's license....no way to get there.
I even offered to meet A.J. and buy him dinner at the airport--in my little underdeveloped teenage brain, I had visions of tricking my parents, telling them I needed to pick up a friend at the airport--and pick up the band instead! A.J. graciously explained that the band doesn't fly [oh, how times have changed, no?] and their manager handles all of their arrangements. He offered instead--he would leave 4 backstage passes and VIP show tickets under my name at the box office, and suggested I "bribe" some people into becoming my friends.
I did just that. I asked everyone....anyone! Anyone at school who had ever been kind to me (there weren't many)....I asked bus drivers....clerks at 7-11...my brother had to actually intervene when a stranger agreed to drive me. Yeah--the guy was a total creepo, now in jail--have to thank my brother for saving me on that one. So I sat, more morose than usual, in my homeroom before class started. My teacher--a good egg who always gave me a listening ear--heard my tales of woe. Imagine my delight when he tells me, "You know, my thirteen year old son is crazy about those Twisted Sisters....I'll drive you guys, but under one condition: I want another adult chaperone there."
Just my luck. So off I go again...on a quest to find an adult willing to go with us. There was one last ace in my stack, and I decided it was time to pull it out: the Elvis Card. My mother was a HUGE Elvis fan, and if you recall, Elvis was quite the controversial figure for his time--all the leather, rock n' roll, gyrating pelvis and such. I drew the parallel between Twisted Sister and Elvis--both completely misunderstood by society and judged solely by appearance. Next thing ya know, it's me....my mom....my 10th grade homeroom school teacher...and luxury van full of teenage boys off to see Twisted Sister play the Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland.
As was customary at heavy metal shows in my area, you showed up about an hour before doors opened, and stood in line. Even though it was assigned seats, part of the culture was the whole "parking lot/waiting in line experience." [footnote: any of you that saw the documentary "Parking Lot"--I was at that show Judas Priest show but ended up on the cutting room floor--they had no intention of filming non-drunk, articulate fans] Anyhow, poor Mom was scared out of her mind. She didn't know what to wear--we agreed for her--jeans....and a pink sweatshirt--but she obviously stood out like a sore thumb.
As we stood in line, she commented "My god, Terry---everyone here looks JUST LIKE YOU. I never saw anyone else who dressed this way....you fit right in!" Now you have to understand, that in my community, I was an outcast's outcast. Even the most outcast of outcast kids would bully me for being different. I distinctly remember that experience of walking up to where the lines formed, and feeling comfortable--I was finally at "home" with my own kind!
For the first time in my short 15-year life, I belonged somewhere. Here I was wearing my Twisted Sister colors, head to toe [that bandanna I don before "Long Way to the Top" was bought at that first show] and I could finally do so without any feelings of self-consciousness--absolutely liberating. [It's a tradition I continue to this day--and wear ALL of my Twisted gear to each and every show.]
The seats were fantastic--the show was beyond my wildest dreams--I've posted here before about my specific details and memories of that show, so I won't re-type them again. Everything about that show was perfection--the stage show, the lighting, the sound--I remember it as if it were literally yesterday. Dee was having health/throat issues, and he didn't come backstage that night. I did get a chance to thank AJ in person, and meet everyone else in the band. I was even smaller than I am now, and I distinctly recall looking up at Mark and Jay Jay, thinking they were complete giants. After getting Mark's autograph on a little notepad I brought with me--yes, that's right. some habits never die....--I look over and there's good ol' Mom....talking it up with Jay Jay French.
I run over and I get "Terry....meet Mr. French. [in a hushed whisper] He's with the band!" Like I didn't know this? I was so completely starstruck I was unable to speak, but Jay Jay put his hand on my mother's shoulder and said, "Kid, you have a cool mom!"
My own mother was just given the Twisted Sister seal of approval. We came home (I actually caught the flu, two days later) and re-hashed the whole experience together. Both of my parents had watched me suffer from depression since I was very small (suicidal even) and my mother told me (and more importantly, my father) that she had NEVER seen me so happy in my entire life. She told my father that I smiled for three hours straight--something neither of them had ever seen--and that not only were the Twisted Sister fans "very nice" but that the band members themselves were excellent role models for me. She also remarked, that it was the first time that she felt like outsider--and suddenly realized what I must have felt as I went to school everyday.
That concert changed me....and my family dynamic, forever. My parents stopped giving me crap about my crazy hair, my appearance or my musical taste. It strengthened our bonds as a family, and I've been closer with Mom and Dad ever since. My mother became a Twisted Sister ambassador--telling other parents who criticized me (and her, as a mother) the true meaning of what heavy metal and Twisted Sister is about. My father--the man who once screamed at me a la Niedermeyer fashion--who threatened to trash and burn everything I owned that was Twisted Sister--began snipping out news clippings about them and helped me buy albums. My grandfather died in 1987--two days before TS came to town on the "Love is for Suckers" tour. I buried my grandfather the day of the show, and as much as I deeply loved him, my tears were for Twisted. I somehow knew that I was missing what would become their last stop in Baltimore forever. (or so I thought) I made a promise to myself that if I ever met Dee again, I'd tell him what the band meant to me.
I still get that unadulterated joy today. Every time, every show. That feeling of absolute elation, that for 90 minutes, there are no troubles in the world. No pain, no suffering, no cruelty, no cares, no worries. When Twisted is on stage, I feel like I'm 14 again--feeling the exhilaration of my first show. 90 minutes or so of absolute BLISS. Every show, I follow the same ritual of donning my TS bandanna right before they take the stage--my heart begins pounding when the lights go out and I hear that opening riff that we all know and love.
I waited 17 years to see them again--and began to cross off all those items off my bucket list. In a frozen parking lot in [oh god I'm going to regret typing this] Poughkeepsie, outside The Chance, I told Dee everything that had been welling up inside me all those years. Just outside a theatre in Buenos Aires, I did actually buy A.J. Pero his dinner when the caterers were late. Today I create those custom colors vests for SMFs so that we can wear them proudly and show the world that SMFs are still alive and proud. After that fateful show in 1986, I wrote my first concert review for FACES rocks magazine--and they published it--and I swore that if Twisted ever played again, I would go to every show I could, and write reviews that could bring the concert experience to all of those broken-hearted fans, who for whatever reasons, were not able to make it to the show that night.
I recently told this story (in seven minutes or less) at a show called "The Stoop" here in Baltimore at an event called "Artscape." It's an unscripted, unrehearsed spoken word storytelling, where 7 people get 7 minutes to tell a real life story on the topic of the day: Our theme was "Finding Your Happy Place."
They picked me--I picked this story--it runs on our local NPR carrier and they told me it is still one of their most requested shorts, so they've run it at least four or five times now.
And that's my first concert experience story. Sorry, Jay Jay, I know it's murder on the iPhone, but that's about as abridged as I get.
Edited by Armadillo 2011-05-16 12:59 AM
Location: Baltimore, MD
|Thanks Chris--another fantastic TS memory! |
keep 'em coming folks!
|Nearly A Band Member|
|1979 Dolly Dimples bar in Old Bridge NJ. |
Half rock club half disco..Yikes!
Seen Ts about 200-250 times in 30 years...No Foolin.
Location: Baltimore, MD
fountainfan - 2011-05-16 3:40 PM
1979 Dolly Dimples bar in Old Bridge NJ.
Half rock club half disco..Yikes!
Seen Ts about 200-250 times in 30 years...No Foolin.
oh man! PLEASE more details PLEASE OH PLEASE..... got to hear about that one!
|Nearly A Band Member|
|On Thursday nites at the Fountain Casino, Twisted sometimes played for free admission! 2-3000 thousand people would show up! |
back then early 80's the Club scene was Amazing! Zebra, TT Quick, and a ton of other bands toured constinetly in the Tri-stae area.
Now Rock clubs are non-existent
I remember seeing Twisted and Metallica at the Fountain Casino..
Metallica warmed up TS.
SMFF also known as Fountainfan
P.S JJ could certainly collabortae this fact!
Edited by fountainfan 2011-05-17 5:20 AM
Location: Rocking In The Florida Dark !
|Well Earliest TS Show for me -- Now I think ---this was a bit back for me -- WOW ouch --were getting older --OKI believe it was at a place called the Rising Sun In Yonkers NY In 1978, I cant remember what month exactly.I think my second may have been at a club called Detroit in Porchester NY in early 79 and from there it just took off to all over the tri state area. a couple of the cool ones that seem to stand out for me |
Fountain Casino -Aberdine -- Big Place ? five thousand capacity ?
Hammerheads --West Islip Out on the island Three thousand capacity
Soap Factory -- Somewhere in Jersey Capacity ??? not super huge -- Cool TeeShirt though they had.
and definately The Ritz Thearter In Good old NY City ! Cool old thearter!
There were just to many to list them all.
Edited by Jim Hudson 2011-05-17 11:58 PM