Hilton Las Vegas, Part 3 12/17/09  
Thursday, December 17, 2009, 10:06 PM
December 17, 2009 Hilton Las Vegas Part III

Hey. I'm on a budget here.
Don't worry....there will be more when I return to the land of free internet.

The Real Road Report Part III:
Despite true blizzard conditions, cable knocked out, two hungry Maine Coons and my Emergency Operations Center being activated, nothing, no, nothing could stop me from cranking out this final installment of the Las Vegas' Twisted Christmas Road Report! The only Twisted Sister concert review dubbed by Jay Jay French to be longer and harder to read than "War and Peace." Eat your heart out Leo Tolstoy! [actually, I'm more of a Dostoyevsky fan, myself....]

I ran into Jay Jay's significant other--she informed me that she had brought her mother to the first night's show. Her mother then saw Cher the following night. Her verdict? Twisted Sister was better than Cher! True story!

Now you'd think that with this being the third successive Christmas show in the same venue, that I wouldn't really have much to say about it other than a setlist and perhaps a notable quotable or two. What's more: they played the EXACT same setlist from Wednesday evening, so I suppose I could trim that off the top as well if I was looking to be frugal with the facts. And I was even inclined to let my 4-word review stand on its on. That is... until the nice Asian elderly family and the man in the red hat. [oh, just wait...this is gonna be great....I swear. You'll love it.]

So enter night three--your merry band of slamboarders chow down at the buffet once more--and take our places at the front velvet rope, stage right. Funtazia (Dave from the UK) was escorted to the best spot in the house up against the stage, where he was able to get a perfect, nose to nose serenade by the Dee-meister himself. (thank you Danny Stanton!) I rocked out with Denise (also from the UK), Canadian SMF Cindee, John from AZ and an assorted group that we actually RECRUITED from the first two shows, and hounded them such that they decided to buy another ticket for the third night. Job well done.
It is very challenging for a band in Vegas because you have hundreds of people there who have never even been to a rock concert--they have no idea what to do, what to expect, how to act etc. For mere entertainment purposes, Dave, Denise, Cindee and I decided to wager a round: we picked out a couple in the audience who obviously had NO idea where they were and what was coming soon: four elderly tourists that I believe were Chinese--three men (one wearing said red cap) and a woman we believe was his wife. They all looked to be in their 70's/80's. We each placed our bet: when would they get up and run for the exit? None of us bet they'd last past the third song.

The band took the stage just minutes after 8 pm. The man in the red hat's wife was fast asleep in the seat next to him--it looked like Cindee would be winning the round. Twisted took the stage and did indeed play the same setlist as the night before, but they played with tremendous intensity, it was absolutely electric! The house was almost completely full, including the entire balcony! “White Christmas” was just thunderous--and in a moment of holiday frivolity, Dee did a little spinning around dance in the snow--I was waiting for him to drop and make a snow angel! Over my shoulder, I look.....the wife is now awake...and her husband is singing along!

Some raps from Dee about Christmas...including one of my favorite quotes of the night, regarding the Twisted Christmas album: "They said we'd kill our careers. What careers??!?" And then they launched into "Shoot 'em Down". It was a bit odd that the majority of the audience knew all the words to the carols, and none of the words to the TS songs. In fairness, I've been to at least 10 TS Christmas shows and I still don't know the words to half the carols! We were again treated to the PG-13/borderline R-rated version of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" (Bad Mommy!) and when they launched into "You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll' I thought the bass line was going to knock me off the edge of the stage. Over my shoulder....the wife finally had to leave (poor thing, she looked exhausted) but the two remaining of our fearless foursome tourists are now clapping along!

As we heard the opening riff to "The Price"...they cued the fog. A lot of fog. And more fog. There was so much fog that I actually lost sight of Dave in the front row--except that he rigged his TS shirt as well as the undercarriage of his wheelchair with Christmas lights, so through the fog I see a glowing TS logo! Finally, with Dee barely coughing out the opening line, he yells "Okay! Enough with the fog already!" He launched into "Oh Come Oh Ye Faithful" and finished it with a resounding "Halleluyah!"
The sound was flawless--you could clearly hear every note of every solo, every drum hit, every pound on the bass. Dee's vocals just filled the theatre! No earplugs needed. Well, actually that's not true. I wished I HAD put them in--the couple standing next to me on this third night did NOT shut up the entire show! I mean, they frickin' talked the whole time! And about shit that wasn't even relevant to the show! I wanted to borrow that roll of duct tape that Animal got from Santa the night before. Speakin' of Animal...he came over to the wing and gave me hard slap on the back during this song. Holy crap! Don't need that chiropractic adjustment now. And I think that's as close as a kiss as anyone will ever get from the Animal! [oh relax, all in fun....]

Dee once again thanked all of the fans wishing him a Happy Hannukah....even though he claims that he's "only got a little bit of Jew in him...and you can see it when [he] wears tight pants..." Oh boy. It's Vegas, baby. He reassured those in attendance that unlike the early days, when he was prone to fits of violence when fans failed to "get into it" and stand up, he was far more patient these days. But beware... if the crowd didn't start getting into it soon, he was prone to have flashbacks of the 80's! Quick check of our tourists: all have left except for the man with the red cap. He's absolutely mesmerized watching Dee!

I knew that AJ was hurting from the night before, but didn't realize how badly hurt he was! my god, it's worse than the NFL....now two of our five on the disabled list! First Eddie's back, and then AJ's hamstring. Dee announced that AJ could barely walk that morning, and yet in spite of the pain, he played a solo that was second to none. It was really fascinating to me to hear the drum solo three nights in a row--I actually could feel the differences between nights. Last night was a little heavier on the snares but lots of crashing cymbals. Sort of a Ratta ratta tat tat dum tata dum bumma chuka BOOM BOOM BOOM
Okay. so words don't really translate drum. But it completely kicked ass, and when it was over...almost all of the crowd was on their feet!

Animals' bass solo during "Silver Bells" was equally special--last night, it had some real jazz fusion! I mean, it had a real improvisational feel to it, yet at the same time: call it controlled chaos. Amazing! I look over...and there is our elderly Chinese man in the red hat, on his feet, applauding the Animal!

Satan Claus returned once again. We learned that due to a bad experience in Tijuana, Satan Claus crapped his pants and hence....the return of pantless Claus. Eddie tried out his toy guitar: not only does it play chords..it OINKS. I would just like to state, for the record, that the ONLY thing that goes on tirelessly longer than my road reports: The Twisted Sister Santa Routine. Best Jay Jay quote of the night: [to Satan Claus] "You turn a three minute bit into an audition tape for The Young and the Restless!"

Jay Jay's Christmas wish for the night: Get Ozzy to be a guest on the "Are You Smarter Than a 5th grader?"

Dee, very demeurely tonight... said, "Satan Claus... I wanna rock."
And out pops Kid Rock! Now mind you, the night before, we actually had a long argument with another fan: we were convinced we saw Kid Rock mingling with the audience after the show, and this guy INSISTED that it was an impersonator from the rock show at a neighboring hotel. Nope! Real deal....it was Kid Rock! We were hoping he would join Dee onstage to sing "I Wanna Rock" but alas....no such luck...however... "I Wanna Rock" had the whole damn place on their feet, screaming at the top of their lungs. And yes...our star of the night: elderly man in the red cap is not only on his feet, he's throwing his fist in the air, yelling with the rest of us. Ladies and gentleman...I swear....it made a tear well up! A headbanger is born!

Heavy Metal Christmas encore: the theatre handed out 12-days cheat sheets as we entered the theatre--I guess folks couldn't follow the band's cue cards.
I got a big hug from AJ (poor guy was really limping! feel better soon brother!) and realized, as we headed into the final encore, that this was the last show of the Christmas run, AND the last time I'd see Dee in full makeup and costume. I tried very hard not to think about it, because I swear to ya, as I live and breathe, I had to hold back a few tears.

It was such a delight to spend the days with Dave (Funtazia), Denise from the UK, Canadian SMF Cindee, John from AZ, Josh, Mark, RJ--and so many others--not to mention a few little impromptu conversations in the hotel lobby with the band and crew. Many many thanks to all of the band members, Danny, Joe, the entire road/sound/light crew and the wonderful staff at the Las Vegas Hilton.
These were three of the best times I've ever had. I allude to it but don't discuss it on this board--I've experienced some truly horrific things in my life (I have PTSD as a result). I have good days and bad....and on those bad days, I work very hard to focus on a positive, happy memory to try to counterbalance the flashbacks that sometimes get overwhelming. Now I have three days of positive memories to store away for those moments when the sun gets eclipsed by my past. A gift that I will cherish the rest of my life--this was the best Christmas I've EVER had.

And so...with the snow now piling even higher....my pager going off incessantly....I close the last Christmas review of 2009. Many holiday blessings to all of you--a very healthy, happy and productive new year to all my SMF family!

Armadillo.... trotting off into the blinding storm...

Ahhhhh. The decadence of not having to pay by the minute!

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