South America, here we come! 
Monday, February 11, 2013, 09:53 PM
Posted by Administrator
South America dates are about to be announced! I've got the ticket in my hand, and I'm ready to rock in beautiful, passionate South America.

Get ready, my babies, April is gonna be a great month!
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Twisted Christmas Benefit for Hurricane Sandy, Long Island NY 12/16/12 
Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 01:26 AM
Posted by Administrator
Last night's Twisted Christmas Benefit for Hurricane Sandy rocked Long Island. A packed house full of big-hearted fans and musicians rocked the roof off "The Emporium" while raising tens of thousands of dollars for the survivors of the storm that devastated the people of Staten and Long Island. Twisted Sister with special guests , Adrenalin Mob, Andrew W.K. and Bernie Williams, provided not only the backdrop for a night of generous giving, but the music was a much-needed heavy metal blood transfusion. With all of the tragedy surrounding us these past few weeks, nothing could lift the spirits like a solid rock n' roll butt kicking! If anyone ever doubted the healing power of music, Twisted Sister put those doubts to rest.

That said...on to the frivolities!

My truck is running on fumes (and a broken heater) and I'm running on a power-nap and a belly full of Cracker Barrel. That can only mean one thing. It's time.

Time for the only Twisted Sister concert review that gives you so much detail you can feel the rush of the crowd...feel the power of the speakers....smell the sweat! Time to get all the details you're aching to hear about, and plenty ya don't. If you couldn't make it to the show...and were too damn technology deficient to figure out how to watch the webcast...this is for you! The one... the only....Official Armadillo Road Report and Twisted Sister concert review for The Long Island Emporium in Patchogue, NY, December 16, 2012: A special Twisted Christmas Benefit for those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

This was a very personal benefit--not only did I have my own responsibilities for the local level emergency response to Hurricane Sandy, but the disaster team I serve dispatched half of our physicians, nurses and medics to aid in the response. As I watched the devastation in on the news, my immediate thoughts went to the band members, Twisted road crew, families and friends--all of whom reside in the storm's path. It wasn't until I heard from A.J., telling me that everyone was safe and accounted for, that I could finally breathe easy. But as he described the scene in his community, it made my heart absolutely ache.

And so, when Twisted Sister announced the only Christmas show (and probably last domestic show we'll see for some time) was a benefit, I was thrilled to make the 6-hour drive from Baltimore. I could not help but tear up as I drove through Staten Island, past the shoreline that was clearly underwater just a few weeks ago. Storm debris and sand piled up along the highway served as an ever-present reminder of the reason for my trip. This was my first time in Patchoque, NY-- a truly delightful small township in Long Island that I instantly fell in love with the moment I drove into town. While New York City is awe-inspiring for it's size and energy, Patchogue inspires the soul--small towns are the hearts of America. Taking a drive down the sleepy main street of Patchoque, I enjoyed the freshly painted colonials, fresh garlands on the vintage-style lamp posts, all decked with beautiful Christmas lights lining the central avenue. I headed to the train station and picked up SMF Chris (slamboard handle "Captain Howdy") and his teenage daughter, and off we went to check out "The Emporium."

It was cold and raining by the time we got into line, but we could hear the final soundchecks inside--I won't spoil it if you haven't looked at the setlist yet--we got a sneak peak of the good stuff to come! The gracious and professional (not to mention well dressed!) security staff of The Emporium got us quickly through the door for a 6 pm opening. Cathy, Chris and I made our sprint to the front row....only to face what I can simply describe as "socks for Christmas."

Imagine this: you've anticipated receiving the most awesome gift ever for weeks and weeks. You hold the beautifully wrapped present in your lap, so excited as you tear away the paper. You rip into the box, only to find out that what you've waited so patiently to receive...is actually a big bundle of socks.

And that, my babies, is what I felt when I sprinted to the front row of The Emporium. After ninety very cold and soggy minutes outside, we knew that our reward was the coveted front row spot--it makes enduring the elements all worthwhile. But to our disappointment, The Emporium's design is not "front row friendly." Instead of a front row barrier with a security pit/photographer area, fans are pressed up against what looked like a wood planked Berlin wall! Almost six feet high, with the monitors stacked in front, providing a literal eight foot barricade floor to top. As I stood there, baffled, realizing that the only view I'd have would be possibly of the gum on the bottom of Dee's shoe, a welcome sight appeared above us: the always calm and collected Mr. Stanton, leaned over the stage and diplomatically suggested that someone of my (ahem) limited stature might prefer the balcony. (If you think I'm kidding...one photographer had to mount his camera on the end of a 4-foot pole!)

The Emporium is a large, impressive night club with an attractive, attentive, friendly and fashionable staff. There were two ample and well-stocked bars in the raised areas in the rear, along with (here's a first!) a set of bleacher seats, where concert goers could get an unobstructed view from the rear of the club. Kind of ironic, given the terrible view afforded those in general admission, but still a nice afterthought. Eight steps downstairs from the bars, brought you to the wooden floor for general admission that resembled a fish bowl, as the balcony areas on both sides of the club could watch the crowd below. Speaking of fishbowls, I couldn't help but mention the enormous Absolut tank stage left, which contained several baby black-tipped sharks. (How cool is that?) Above the floor was an unusual round lighting truss--but more on that later. Cathy, Chris, Charlie, Jen and I retreated to the balcony to take it all in.
Now! Onto to the show!

We began to get a little worried when we saw a sole keyboard standing stage center--this hasn't boded well in shows past--but out came Andrew W.K. to kick off the evening's festivities. As the silent auction went underway, the stage was filled with local schoolkids from the Island Park School District music program--all of whom lost their instruments in Hurricane Sandy's wake. We think the original plan was that the kids would all dance while Andrew played...the kids were a mix between petrified and fascinated with the onstage experience...they all stood motionless during the performance--it was our Spinal Tap moment of the night, but we love ya, kids! Plenty of sports and rock memorabilia auctioned off to help those great kids get some new instruments. And let's face it, they may be 10 years old now, but a decade from now, some kid is gonna impress the hell out of his girlfriend when he tells her he was onstage "opening" for Twisted Sister at The Emporium back in 2012!

At 8:25pm, Adrenalin Mob took the stage with tremendous force (and f-bombs a plenty)! There were quite a few Mob fans in attendance, and they were not disappointed in the least. Adrenalin Mob plays fast, loud and heavy and unlike many opening acts that have trouble getting the crowd engaged, the Mob captured the audience from the start. They closed with an earth-shaking rendition of "Mob Rules," and a nice touch--they shook hands with fans in the front row after taking their bows. By the time they left the stage after a blistering 30-minute set, the crowd was fired up and hungry for more. Drummer Mike Portnoy got into the giving spirit--he donated his sweaty tee-shirt (uh. eww.) to the live auction--another great fundraising effort.

The star of the evening, by the way--SMF Mark from Australia and his lively lady. SMF Mark not only made the incredibly long trek from the land down under for Twisted Christmas for the 2nd time, but he purchased two Diamond packages and was the very generous winning bidder on.....oh, get this!....Dee's ORIGINAL gold records from Atlantic Records. You know 'em--you've caught a glimpse of them hanging in Dee's man-cave during those reality shows--the real deal. Dee very generously donated them--and Mark made the highest bid. Fantastic--all for a charity to help the citizens of New York--thank you SMF Mark! Job well done, Mate!

Twisted took the stage promptly at 10:00 pm--the small stage adorned with pink and red taped amps, Christmas lights on the drum set and speakers and a tasteful Twisted Christmas banner above A.J.'s setup. Having an unusual view (for us, anyway) we could see our boys lining up backstage to make their entrance--Mark's huge silhouette filled the entire doorway, followed by Jay Jay and Eddie. Dee dashed onstage as they opened with "What You Don't Know" sporting some new duds--black lace-up jeans emblazened with "METAL" and various skulls and leather a'plenty. Jay Jay wore his leather pants as well--overall, at first glance, you might not even know it was a Twisted Christmas set! A.J. also working a new look--a full beard--just in time for winter--(and there was even a rather dapper looking Mr. Gerber in the crowd!) No roadie elves, however.

Eddie played his newest guitar--an absolutely stunning black-on-black bullseye guitar that looked almost silvery when the light caught it right. We were treated to solos on it during the opener followed by "The Kids Are Back", and it sounded as great as it looked. Dee dropped to the stage as he's been known to do this past tour, his blond locks hanging off the edge of the platform, only this time, instead of a photographer below, he reached down and grabbed the hair of a fan crushed against the giant wall.

"Stay Hungry" was batting third--Jay Jay solo'ed on his Christmas Wreath-painted (menorah on the reverse side) custom guitar--great solo and it was obvious that Jay Jay was having a great time up there! During "Stay Hungry," the strange round lighting truss would shoot this bizarre fog-steam blasts onto the crowd below--at one point, we thought maybe it was the Mother Ship preparing to blast off. It obviously wasn't too enjoyable for the fans directly underneath--geez, first the Great Wall....now a giant schvitz....hey, wait...one might call it: a Twisted Schvitzer! That one's on me, Jay Jay. Free free to run with it. (I'll take 5% royalties if it really takes off, please.)

Dee reminded us all the real reason why we were there--to support the people of Staten and Long Islands (and surrounding areas) who continue to struggle to get back to some semblance of normalcy. He thanked everyone for attending--as well as the bands, crew and club who were all working for FREE! That's right--100% of the proceeds went to charity! Dee mentioned that 30 years ago, if you had told him that one day, he would be doing a Christmas album....or a carpet cleaner commercial, he would have "punched you in the face!" But then looked around and conceded..."I'm a whore..." then added, "but not a cheap whore."

We did get our obligatory Twisted Christmas music--"White Christmas" sounded festive and well-played--it was fun to see the band members singing along--I'm always entertained by the fans at Christmas shows. The SMFs know all the words to the TS songs....but the rest of the fans smoke us with those Christmas Carols!

Twisted really hit their stride last night by the time they played "You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll"--it was fast, furious and raw--as Dee put it, "played at speed." One of the stronger renditions I've heard in the states, and kudos to the SMFs of Long Island. The crowd was extremely warmed up (thank you, Adrenalin Mob!) and there were fists in the air--I think I saw one of those sharks giving the horns, er...fins...whatever. Anyway, the place was rocking!

The bawdy version of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" (and other lascivious activities) was a real hit--Eddie and Jay Jay did a nice duet, Jay Jay playing a gorgeous tobacco-burst colored... Les Paul, perhaps? Each song off Twisted Christmas was played in the spirit of a specific heavy metal band--"I Saw Mommy..." was played (and arranged) with the flavor of Judas Priest--outstanding!

At this point, we had one of those special moments that can never really be repeated--webcam can't capture it--you truly had to be there, but I'll try to do it justice. Dee explained that "Shoot 'Em Down" was on the setlist for the evening, but in light of the horrific tragedy that befell the nearby community of Newtown, CT (Sandy Hook Elementary School), in Dee's words, "the grieving is too fresh...the hurt too strong." He asked for everyone present to take a moment to reflect on the lives lost, and those trying to heal, in a moment of silence.

At first, I couldn't imagine how a jam-packed, festive and drinking crowd would quiet down. But as Dee and all of the band bowed their heads and closed their eyes, a hush came over the crowd and as a few drunks called out and whistled, you heard the stern fans around them telling them to be quiet. Within seconds, the entire club was motionless and quiet. The only way I can think of to describe it:

It was the loudest moment of silence I've ever heard.

The band. The crew. The bartenders. The fans. The staff. No one moved. No one talked. It was a moment that was so silent and heavy--the silence was palpable. The only sound you could hear was the buzzing hum of the amplifiers. So poignant. So powerful. So moving. It is a Twisted Sister moment that I will remember forever.

To bring us back to a good place, out came NY Yankee Bernie Williams, guitar in hand, and we had a club shaking rendition of "We're Not Gonna Take It," and no--there were no coffee-makers in sight-- three guitars gave it an extra heavy sound. Unfortunately, Dee was plagued with wireless mic issues and as it went dead in his hand, he snatched the mic off Jay Jay's stand and "went old school" with it. Eddie switched back to his new black bullseye and for the first time that I can recall, we had a nice shot of all four guitars in a row--Bernie, Jay Jay, Eddie and Mark!

Before the next song, Dee stopped at a fan in the front row who was frantically waving a copy of "Stay Hungry" in front of him. Asked Dee, in a very Mae West style: "Did you bring a marker?" The fan replied he had, prompting Dee to yell, "Well, Gimme the fuckin' marker!" and he signed the album right there--WHO DOES THAT?!!?? I'll tell you who...Twisted Fucking Sister, that's who! There's a reason why Twisted has the BEST fans in the world--we follow a band who loves and appreciates us as much as we love them.

We were treated to more Twisted tracks--"The Price" and "Under The Blade"--making me go tsk-tsk to all those who stayed away because they didn't want to hear Christmas songs. I don't know about you, but nothing says Christmas like old school heavy metal! Dee ended up two-fisted microphoning it and the place was full of holiday fist-pumping goodness! Dee didn't have to harass a single fan--no one was sitting down and everyone was rocking out.

Dee dedicated "I'll Be Home for Christmas" to all of those who are still without a place to call home after the storm, as well those protecting our country overseas. I never get tired of hearing Eddie and A.J. do vocal solos--and from Eddie's guitar solo on his traditional pink bullseye, they launched right into crowd favorite "Burn In Hell."

A.J. gave a monster solo--he always brings it all--but this time, he gave a brilliant drum performance that just rumbled and shook the whole theatre. We saw him physically wince after it was over--he must have nailed his hand on the kit--but true professional that he is, he never missed a beat..literally...as they launched into "Silver Bells."

You know, it just ain't Christmas until I hear Animal's bass solo on "Silver Bells." If you haven't heard this yet, don't waste time with YouTube--go buy the Twisted Christmas DVD! His bass solo is so remarkable, so phenomenal--I just stand there in awe. All hail Animal! Even Jay Jay gave a resounding "FUCK YEAH!" when he finished the solo--it was just that damn good.

Another Twisted Christmas tradition--SANTA! Mick Foley...uh, that is, Santa Claus who sounded an awful lot like Mike Foley....arrived in time to hear what the boys want for Christmas. [I'm happy to report that for the first time in years, Twisted Christmas Santa was wearing PANTS! A Christmas miracle!] Santa announced that also for the first time in 30 years, Mark and Jay Jay made the "good boys list."

Santa gave Eddie a new hip for Christmas (such the practical gift giver!) Eddie was so shocked he wasn't on the "naughty" list that he couldn't even think of what he truly wanted. Jay Jay just wanted to know "How did Donald Trump keep his hair on during the hurricane?" There are some secrets that even Santa doesn't know... A.J.'s still holding out for Tiger Wood's little black book, and Animal, well, he gave us a glimpse of the Mark we know and love. Sure, the man is a beast on the bass who destroys mic stands and skinny roadies, but he has a huge heart.

Mark said it best: This concert is [his] Christmas wish come true.

Santa shared that Brian Hopkins [someone correct me if I 've got the name wrong!] the little boy that Dee visited in the hospital so many years ago was in the audience tonight-adding to the list of wishes that came true.
And we all know what Dee wants for the holidays, "I Wanna Rock" just took the place to eleven.

We had two encores this evening--the first was quite special--local news station Channel 12 provided footage from the storm response on two screens behind the stage as the band played "Heroes Are Hard to Find" Dee reminded us all that "heroes are regular people who step and do the right thing"--I was struck by one of the photographs of a house that had a sign outside, "have power--feel free to charge your cells phone here." Heroes come in all sizes.

The people of Strong Island (and Staten, and NYC, and Jersey) demonstrated their tremendous spirit and willingness to help their neighbors. Props as well to Animal, who also serves a role with the New York State Police, and worked tirelessly during the storm to help his fellow New Yorkers.

We had some quick band intros--the most important item of note--we still enjoy all five original members, as opposed to say.....Foreigner...who is not touring with ANY original band members. (WTF?) They closed with "Heavy Metal Christmas"--sans props or cue cards--which clearly were needed as Jay Jay frantically tried to remember what exactly his true love gave to him on the sixth day of Christmas.

To recap"
It was a tremendous night--Twisted Sister played favorites from old school to old yule--a fantastic crowd who gave their energy to the band and their wallets to the cause. The Twisted Christmas Benefit for the Hurricane Sandy survivors was full of festive moments along with a few of thoughtful reflection. A true showcase of the best live heavy metal band in the world who cared enough to donate their time to help their fellow New Yorkers.

Special thanks to everyone in the band, Danny Stanton of Coallier Entertainment (management) and all of the crew and staff who donated their time and to the Long Island Emporium. Thank you to all of my fellow fans and all the slamboard SMFs who braved the rainy, foggy weather and another special thanks to SMF Mark from Australia for his generosity to the people of Staten Island.

Happy holidays to all of our SMF brothers and sisters--wishing you all a healthy, happy and very Twisted new year ahead!

This is Armadillo, trotting off to dream of sugar plums...
See you on the road, my babies!
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SETLIST Twisted Christmas Benefit, Emporium 12/16/12 
Monday, December 17, 2012, 01:52 AM
Posted by Administrator
Here's your seasonal setlist:

1. What You Don't Know
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
4. White Christmas
5. You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
6. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
7. We're Not Gonna Take It
8. The Price
9. Under The Blade
10. I'll Be Home For Christmas
11. Burn In Hell
Drum Solo
12. Silver Bells (bass solo)
13. I Wanna Rock
Encores:
14. Heroes Are Hard to Find
15. Heavy Metal Christmas (12 Days...)

It's 2 am...I've got a just a few hours to sleep then it's off to LaGuardia Airport followed by a 5 hour drive home (if I'm lucky)

Sleep tight and stay tuned for the Full Road Report once I get home tomorrow....
til then my babies..
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Clearfield County Fair, Clearfield PA 08/04/12 
Sunday, August 5, 2012, 11:30 PM
Posted by Administrator
Knowing that many of you A.D.D. folks only have the attention span to read the first paragraph and the setlist, I want to be sure to give you the real meat and potatoes first, and so for you, here it is:

In spite of wretched heat and humidity, torrential rains and high winds that wreaked havoc with some of the technical equipment, Twisted Sister last night did what very few bands anywhere are capable of doing: played 90 incredible minutes of high energy, pure adrenalin heavy metal. Kudos to the thousands of fans who endured miserable conditions--they were rewarded with top notch performances by four bands. Our boys in black and pink proved that they are not only the Kings of Metal in Europe--but they can still dominate in the good ol'
U. S. of A as well.

Alrighty, then. That said....it's time to get down to business.

Here now....for your reading enjoyment....the blog you love to hate and hate to admit that you love....the rock blog with more hype than the iPhone5 (oh, just you wait)....the only concert review that gives you so much information you'll be able to convince your friends you went....keeping you in the loop, giving the inside scoop with all the poop...the blog that makes the other bands jealous because THEY don't have some insane leprechaun that travels around the world them...here with all the concert details you're dying to know...and plenty ya don't...

yes, my babies, it's The Official Armadillo Road Report for the Clearfield County Fair, Pennsylvania, August 4, 2012. The last road report of the summer!

The drive from Baltimore was about five hours due to construction but the scenery of the Pennsylvania countryside was simply lovely. I enjoyed whizzing past the lush rolling hills, dotted with red farmhouses and the occasional fragrance a la livestock. Although I've spent the majority of my life living in various major cities, the country is always a place that relaxes me. Well...sort of. I took a quick fuel & restroom break at a Tom's Gas Stop, and I swear to you--I stepped out of my truck and heard...banjos playing. Wanna make a city boy's cornhole pucker up fast? Play banjos. Fastest pitstop I've ever made....I left skidmarks in the parking lot before they could say, "Y'all come back, now, y'hear?"

By the time I rolled into town, the road crew had already loaded into the fair and was beginning the sound check. Extra special shout out to Rob Star from Adrenalin Mob--Rob is also a part of the Twisted road crew and I somehow forgot to mention him on the Europe reports--but that should not diminish the huge contributions he makes to the band. Love ya, brother!

Speaking of the crew, they were decked out in snazzy new vintage-looking official Twisted road crew shirts courtesy of Sweden lighting engineer Johnny. Very sharp! I was able to catch the drum check, exchange a few bro hugs and pleasantries and headed back to the hotel to do my pre-concert rituals to get ready for the show. There were numerous Twisted sightings about town--Clearfield is not a very large place, but they do like their guns & ammo shops! I counted at least four driving into town...along with churches and fireworks stands. Hmmmm....Clearfield...a place to pray....and blow things up. That's strangely works. Regretfully, I didn't get to stop at the BBQ place just outside of town but I think the fair gave me a pretty interesting slice of life in rural Pennsylvania.

I would not be performing my Road Report duties if I did not give you an accurate description of the grounds--the Clearfield County Fair is the oldest running fair in the United States--152 years to be exact. Dry (alcohol free) for the first 151 years...then along comes Twisted Sister! The fair itself was in a large paved lot and provided many of the things you'd expect at a County Fair: carnival rides, ferris wheel, carneys barking at passer-bys trying to entice them to play various games to win giant stuffed bears and big inflatable hammers. (Don't ask me why, but every fair I've been to, you can win these giant inflatable hammers. Obviously, someone doesn't believe in form follows function) And what County fair wouldn't be without the critters--we had pigs, cows, miniature horses, goats...and here's a new one: Camel rides!

I was particularly drawn to the U.S. Army's displayed armored vehicle, where I overheard the phrase, "will you please let the other children have a turn working the anti-aircraft missile controls?" Only to observe there was a 50-something guy at the wheel. And, no, for the record, it wasn't Animal. Although I didn't get a chance to see the Zerbini Family Circus perform, I did manage to catch a glimpse of Buffo: The World's Strongest Clown. He's a clown. With biceps. In a sleeveless shirt. The kids looked terrified and started screaming. Then I heard banjos...and got the fuck out of there. I'm with you, kids. Clowns and banjos. Nightmares for days ahead. Thanks Buffo. oh, you think I'm kidding? This one's for you, Sick Mutha's. www.buffo.com

Alright, alright. I digress.

The concert (yes, there was a concert last night) was held at the racetrack. Through a gated entrance, there was a moderately large, covered grandstand of aluminum bleachers that I'm guessing could hold a couple thousand people, along with a section of uncovered seating below. From there, there was about 30 feet or so of dirt & gravel racetrack, and then on the grassy infield, a small but thankfully sturdy scaffold stage was erected. Behind it, a large parking lot and complex of trailers and portables for band and crew accommodations.

I went on a quest for food--it was late afternoon and I hadn't eaten all day--the fair offered what you'd expect: fried dough, fried pickles, french fries, fried hot dogs on a stick, fried twinkies...and my personal favorite: A fried stick of butter. If I ever decide it's time to check out of this world, that's how I'm going to go. Fried butter. Dayum! I settled for a vegetable crepe (not terrible) but before I could chow it down, the heavens let loose.

I'm convinced that Twisted Sister must put something in the band rider: "Must have severe weather including but not limited to: heavy downpours, high winds, hail, lighting, thunder with the option for tornadoes and flash flooding." It was UGLINESS out there for a good 20 minutes. Fast and furious, the storm came with minimal warning and while most of the crew wisely sought shelter away from the scaffolding, our faithful Twisted sound engineer, George, sheltered-in-place, protecting the sound board under a giant blue tarp and lots and lots of bungee cords.

Severe weather brings severe headaches, and I'm not going to dwell on any of it but as so many outdoor rural concerts (Wichita comes to mind!) the weather did a number on some of technical equipment and made for a challenging show for our crew and band. I'll say it right now--loud and clear--so many other bands out there would have just said, "Screw this! We'll play a short set, get our paycheck and get the hell outta here!" But not our bad boys of rock and roll. Twisted just soldiered on--they managed to overcome every single obstacle thrown their way (and there were many) and still put on a fantastic show. And if you don't believe me, ask the other slamboarders who were there--they'll vouch for me. More on that later.

Once the rain cleared and the crew began pushing vast amounts of water off the stage, I ventured out onto the track which was now a soft, muddy swathe covered in gravel. It was like standing in a kitty litter box. The soggy fans began pouring into the front stage area and it was obvious that many of them were just plain soaked to the core. Gotta love TS fans--true grit!

The opening act was not on the original bill--Curbside Hustle, from NYC. I kept thinking to myself....where have I heard of them before? I scribbled down that they were "perfect hot weather music" (the mugginess and humidity about now was murderous!) Curbside Hustle had a young, beautiful and quite talented lead female vocalist who sang duet with their other lead-- a bit Joe Cocker-esque sounding--together they had a nice, bluesy feel with good, strong hard rocking roots. They were just how I like an opening act--tightly played, strong stage presence without seeming artificial, well-rehearsed and no frills--and just good music. It wasn't until I saw the lovely lead singer back at the sound board wearing original TS colors that I remembered where I had heard of Curbside Hustle before-- this was Eddie Ojeda's daughter, Michelle! Obviously, the talent gene has been passed down to her, and I'm certain she has a long, solid career in music ahead of her. An added treat to see Curbside Hustle--check them out at www.curbsidehustle.com where you can download some of their music.

As the band changeover quickly occurred, the whirring of farm equipment being test-driven drowned out the moo-ing of cows. And occasionally...the screaming of small children. I'm not sure if that was from the carnival rides....or Buffo....

Next up we were once again treated to the vocal talents of Jaclyn Quatela. This is my third or fourth time now hearing this set, and I was quite pleased to see the crowd giving Jaclyn and her band some well deserved love--with all of the cookie-monster metal opener bands out there, it's really nice when a crowd appreciates good vocals. Women rockers have it tough! When you have an audience that has never seen the act before but they sing along--that's a really good sign! The crowd definitely enjoyed the Foo Fighters cover "Best of You" and I've decided that the original song "This is Me Without You" should become a post-divorce theme song. A few lucky fans got some free swag tossed their way, and we were now two for two: two opening acts that demonstrated that girls rock just as hard as the boys!

Right on schedule at 8:00 P.M. was Great White. I've seen Great White at a number of festivals before--last night was one of the best performances I've seen them bring! They drew a really nice crowd and delivered all of the familiar hits that folks were waiting to hear: "House of Broken Love" played soulful and bluesy along with a really tight "Save Your Love." The band looked really relaxed on stage--clearly having a good time which is so nice to see! I absolutely hate it when big name bands "phone it in"--I'm not going to name which bands, but I've seen it happen with top-bill draws--so to see a band as successful as Great White playing hard, sounding well and enjoying themselves with some onstage and audience chemistry--it's a good thing!

Great White played a new single, "I've Got Something For You" along with the heavier crowd pleaser "Rock Me." There was a bit of silliness in which band members starting capturing video of the crowd from the stage...then of each other...then of each other capturing video of...each other... but hey, it's a County Fair. Silliness encouraged. They closed with "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" to a very soggy but appreciative crowd who had now filled up most of the litter box, er...race track...uhh, I mean, General Admission area and the grandstands were also rapidly filling up in spite of the weather. Great White...Great job!

The Twisted Colors were then raised behind the drum riser--maybe I'm watching too much Olympic coverage, but it reminded me of Old Glory being raised during the Gold Medal ceremonies. Instead of the national anthem, I think we need to petition for some Twisted "banner" raising music. I'll salute.

At 9:35 PM, the signal was given and off we go...the LAST Twisted Sister show of the Summer Tour 2012! I always get an intense surge of adrenalin when I hear the opening chords of "Long Way to the Top" and my heart was beating a mile a minute when Twisted's own Mr. Gerber introduced the boys onstage .... "..from New York City...." [I'm waiting for "let's get ready to rrrrrrrrumble!"]

You've seen the setlist (posted last night), "What You Don't Know" is the standard opener and it really is a dramatic way for the band to enter! Eddie delivered an excellent solo--I just love that moment in WYDK when all three guitarists are lined up and just pumping away, their arms furiously working in unison, Animal just pounding away. If I may use a carnival metaphor here...AND I MAY...BECAUSE....WE'RE AT A FRICKIN' CARNIVAL......the opening bars of WYDK are like the first few seconds of the roller coaster when it's climbing to the top of the incline...then HIT IT! and you're accelerating down the first hill and by the peak of the coaster, you've built up so much speed and momentum that your stomach is in your throat, your heart is going a hundred miles and hour and when the ride comes to a stop, you realize that you're sweating vigorously, breathing hard and think you're going have a heart attack! You turn to the guy next to you and say, "HOLY SHIT! that was AWESOME! Let's do it again!"

And again we went... "The Kids Are BacK" is an old school fave. I was a bit disappointed in the crowd response where I was--I'm trying to be a little forgiving because for almost everyone I met there, it was their first time seeing Twisted and knew only a few songs. A few exceptions to the rule however--a big Road Report shout out to all of the Slamboarders in attendance who I could always spot because they're the ones going nuts with their fists in the air and screaming out the lyrics! Shout out to Josh from Pittsburgh and his rockin' Mom (and a happy 17th birthday to him as well! Go Mom--job well done!), Corey from Canada, John & his family (sorry I missed you but I know you were there rockin'...and literally just texted me as I was typing his name...oooh...spooky!), SMF Cyndi, Brian (MetalNY) and our very own Heavy Metal royalty, Da' Mayor, Donna from CT. (hopefully I haven't missed anyone this time!)

Dee worked the crowd magic as he always does--thanking everyone for coming, because "if [they] paid attention to the weather channel..and only losers do..." [Uhhh, Dee? Some of us weather geeks rock...just sayin'... ] He quoted the forecast: "Heavy rain...thunder...high winds...hail..." But gave props to all of the fans who braved the rain and weather and didn't mind getting a little bit wet (okay, well...a lot wet) to see Twisted Sister!

There were so many Dee-isms that you'll just have to youtube the damn show to get them all, because it was dark and humid, and there's just so much I can capture in shorthand--but Dee acknowledged, "the largest handicapped section!" Also known as the "grandstand." I don't know--maybe they ate too much fried dough and were physically weighed down--but I saw WAY too many butts in the seats. I honestly think Twisted should put in the next rider: "Must remove all ability for people to ass plant!"

I left the first few rows of the crowd to get a better sound experience so I went back to the Sound Board--I was pleased to see that there was a really decent turnout in both the grandstand and the general admission--albeit a sitting one--and Dee informed the crowd that he is, in fact, an ordained minister: "I am...I did it online....just had to sign my name after I took the course..." and announced that he would be performing some miracles on the handicapped section!

Dee: "STAND UP! STAND UP! HALLELUYAH!"
I heard laughter behind me...but still butts in the seats. Hmmmmm....not to take away from Dee's ministry, but I think we needed some serious faith healing in that stand. And it came in the form of "Wake Up The Sleeping Giant". I know that I've been a vocal critic of the "Love Is For Suckers" album, but this is my favorite track and it is one of the most earth-thumping, gravel-stirring, boot-stomping tracks ever.

Another unexpected treat--one of the songs that often gets a last minute switcheroo off the setlist was "I Believe in Rock N' Roll" off of "Come Out and Play." Although not their best cut off that album, it plays SO much better live than it does on vinyl. It's a very patriotic, almost god-loving song, and it got a really interested response from the crowd when Dee sang the lines "I pledge allegiance, to the Unites States of Rock" and "Even God loves rock and roll..." Perfect Twisted track for the Clearfield County Fair.

Afterwards, Dee surveyed his work thus far....and as our official ordained minister (he says he's done at least two ceremonies) he welcomed us all to the "Church of Rock...the Church of Twisted Sister!" prompting some of the better Dee-isms of the night: "I don't know what church you belong to, but if that's how you respond in church...your church must suck! In our church we SCREAM!" And that got the crowd going a lot louder, and I saw a few more fans standing on the pews....er...grandstand bleachers...whatever.

They launched into "You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll" with Eddie getting the crowd fired up during the opening riff. Finally I saw the type of crowd that we've come to expect at a Twisted Sister show--there were a lot of fists flying (for the record...fists thrown in the air...not at each other) and in spite of a few more technical challenges, the band remained ever professional and it was full steam ahead!

Jay Jay announced what many of us knew--this was the last show of the summer tour--and that 2012 was the "best year of our lives!" I couldn't agree more--the European summer shows were some of the most incredible Twisted Sister moments I've ever had. (and hell, for that matter, best moments of my life too!) He gave the crowd a quick history of the Twisted Sister reunion tour--the 9/11 Widows' benefit, the USO Korea show for the troops and the tour that has thrilled and fulfilled so many of us. He thanked the troops, and reminded everyone that our armed forces "put their asses on the line" protecting our freedoms, and encouraged all in attendance to exercise that right to vote (regardless of party lines!) Here, here.

Our own Mr. French delivered one of his now famous "American Idol" rants--reminding folks that while they may text in a vote to support their "Idol" for their 15-weeks of "struggling" to the top, he gave props by name to many of the bands who have been sticking together and rocking hard for more than 35 years...earning an appreciative roar from those in attendance. And with that, he announced, "this is why we do what we do...." and launched into a very hot version of "The Fire Still Burns." Absolutely fantastic guitarwork--heavy and pounding!

"Shoot 'em Down" is one of those songs that you absolutely must see live in order to fully capture the essence of the man...the beast...the Animal....Mark Mendoza! I know that every single report I write accolades upon accolades about what Mark does to his bass, but until you are right there (especially up front) and feeling the intense wave of sound that moves your shirt, rattles your teeth and affects your insides (don't say I didn't warn you!), you can't imagine how powerful his bass is. If you are lucky enough (or in some cases, unlucky enough) to be really close, you can actually hear the impact on the bass strings. It's just incredible, and if nothing else, you've got to find a way to see them live to really appreciate what this man does with his instrument. 'Nuff said!

"We're Not Gonna Take It" is always a crowd pleaser, and I finally saw plenty of signs of life when A.J. gave us some opening cowbell. Eddie delivered another great solo--and a nice moment of guitar synchonicity between him and Jay Jay--A.J. gave us some flourish to close out the song, and it almost had everyone on their feet. Well...almost. Damn that "handicapped section." [FYI--there were a number of folks there in wheelchairs--they were all upfront and I could see them rockin' out hard! Dee gave them due props as well]

Dee mentioned how Twisted has traveled the world--and many of these huge European festivals were so caught up in the fury of WNGTI that they couldn't...and wouldn't...stop singing the "chorii" [Dee-ism for plural of choruses] In appreciation, Twisted played the refrain twice. But he announced, "We're disappointed! This is U.S. of A! Pennsylvania...where America began..." and the response they got to WNGTI?!!! In Dee's words... "meh."
He chastised the crowd--"Stand UP for America! STAND UP for Twisted Sister!" and finally....Dee does what he does so remarkably well--he won over an entire crowd of hot, tired, wet, post-consumed fried-dough fair goers and the entire place was on their feet and cheering!

In another comical moment, Dee shared with us that he was originally told it was okay to curse, even though it was a family fair. So Dee does what he does...and before long, concert promoters were frantically running to management asking him to stop cursing! In his words, he is a "professional curser..having been arrested for it!" Dee gave an apology to the parents--and addressing the many youngsters in the audience, "it's not like you haven't heard it before! Your parents say it all the time..." and although the band probably never heard it, there was a ten-year old standing on the bleachers behind me shouting his approval and agreement! Hilarious.

Some hardcore S.M.F.'s in the front were screaming for "The Price," and Dee took a moment to ask a couple in the front, "Someone out there is requesting 'The Price'....was it you? Well, this is for you...and your girlfriend...because she has a great rack..." Hey, a dedication is a dedication. It must have been one inspiring set of ta-tas because I'm gonna tell ya, Dee sounded INCREDIBLE on the opening lines of "The Price." He belted it out--gave me goosebumps, especially when the sunrise of butane lighters came up. Very nice, Clearfield!

"Burn In Hell" treated us all to the now standard red-lit spooky-voice Dee, who sounded extra scary tonight. (Gave Buffo a run for his money! Sleep tight, kids!) Props to Marty on the lighting board---cuz, yep--I DID notice that little extra sumpin' sumpin' you gave with the side lighting during the refrain. And FINALLY--a drum solo! I really missed A.J.'s drum solo the last few times when it was cut from the set. Maybe he had some pent up energy too, because it was mind-blowing! He beat those drums so hard there were parts flying off the set (it's true. I think a cymbal almost took out his son!) I love seeing the reaction on the faces of first-time Twisted concert goers when they see and hear A.J.'s solo--Fantastic!

Dee segued into "I Wanna Rock..." with a quirky hushed moment of...
"Hmmm....let's see..what was it I wanted to ? I wanna eat....wanna sleep...wanna have sex... oh wait...I know what it was I wanna do....."
we all know what that is... "I Wanna Rock!" Whether you're an old schooler or just you know two songs, "I Wanna Rock" is always delivered with a tremendous burst of energy--honestly--it's explosive! (without the C4) Dee suddenly asked for the lights to be turned on...and had to just take a moment to pause.
and admonish.
yep. that "handicapped section" again.
Dee: "Okay, Class....You're really harshing my mellow..." [I didn't think Dee HAD a mellow...]
He acknowledged the folks at the top of the bleachers who were rocking hard--"I see you in the back....you're too good for them up there! You belong down here!" He even gave a "Shame on you!" to those fans still sitting. And finally.... maybe that's what it took...every fan rose to their feet. "I Wanna Rock!" ended the set with thousands of screaming, jumping fist-throwing fans, just as it should be.

I truly don't understand why people attend a show like Twisted Sister, and think they can sit down...or worse sneak off to the parking lot for a fast getaway before they deliver the encores! Dee called them out--especially a couple who made a bee-line for the exit, with Dee shouting after them, "Going home to masturbate?...Cuz' I can tell she ain't doing it for ya.... just sayin'...." I'd like to point out, that a good number of folks headed for the exit spun on their heels and stuck around for the encores. I did hear a couple to my left exclaim, "Quick....let's get to the car...but don't let him see us..."

Twisted Sister golden rules: Always stand up. Don't be a douche. Don't leave before the show is over.

For the encores, another excellent rendition of "Come Out and Play." I always like the little pause between "Don't be afraid....of...the...." Dee does the quarterback head swivel to make sure everyone is at their mic...prompting a little "hello boys!" from Dee... followed by his primal scream into the song! Great solo by Jay Jay on COAP--another song that you really must hear live to fully appreciate how fast it is! One fan held up the COAP album cover--which Dee acknowledged while singing the refrain.

One S.M.F. was holding up an "I Am, I'm Me" sign throughout the show, and even though I knew it wasn't on the setlist, even I was secretly wishing....so Dee pointed out the sign, and said, "Well, I've never done this before, but here..." and he sang just the opening line of "I Am, I'm Me" and said, "that's just for you." Bonus!

Dee asked the crowd, "Do you want some more!?!" [of course, we do! But remember the other Twisted Golden Rule...when Dee asks if you want something, always say yes!]
Dee: "You hestitated....some of you hesitated.... so this last song...is not for you!"

He gave us some of the funniest raps of the night (definitely worth staying for!) Dee acknowleged all five original members on stage as A.J. counted them off for good measure--yep...there's five! As Dee oftened reminds audiences, there are plenty of 80's bands on reunion tours these days, but very few of them have all of their original lineup.

Per Dee, "When you're dead, you have a good excuse not to attend the reunion...." Other bands whine to him about how hard it is to get THEIR bands together...they're busy...they fight... This is TWISTED SISTER, though! There are NO excuses.
Mark "Animal" Mendoza actually brought a gun to the first reunion rehearsal. (true story!) Dee then tells us (whispering) "I bought a gun too....but shhhh....don't tell him...." But all is good now, per Dee "We shoot together...we ride together...we ride and shoot together..." Prompting a high-five between Mark and Dee--for many of us who read and watched the stories of the bad blood that happened many years ago, to see the comaraderie onstage is just fantastic.

The gun comment seemed to be a popular one with this fair going crowd---Dee observed what I had noted earlier--Clearfield has a lot of places to buy guns...and trucks...including a local truckstop, where he saw "lots of magazines about guns and trucks...but no GQ...not that I needed one..."

After introducing the Sound of Thunder, A.J. Pero...he intro'd the "man with the gun collection" Mark "Animal" Mendoza....and then gave props to Eddie's daughter, Michelle--and to Eddie, who was about to celebrate a birthday in less than 2 hours, so the entire audience sang "Happy Birthday" to Eddie! You know, Rock N' Roll and Father Time aren't kind to many in the business, but damn these guys have aged well! Jay Jay (who we know, just turned 60) and Eddie look so remarkably young. We should all be so lucky.

Jay Jay, introduced to us as "Revolution on Guitar", gave the introduction to the man, who he admitted, has had many things said about him (and most from Jay Jay's own lips) as Dee danced behind him, giving him the double bird....."The man who writes the soundcheck of our lives....Lady Gaga's illegitimate dad...Dee Fuckin' Snider!"
And with that, Dee closed out the show with the song that has made the band a "lethal fucking weapon...S.M.F.!"

My undying love and respect to all of the Twisted Sister road crew--the hardest working men in rock and roll--you know I love you guys! Marty, George, Duane, Rikk, Junior, Rob (and extra props to Rob, once more, along with Mike, who had to tell me his name about fifteen times) and anyone I've accidentally forgotten! A shout out and a wave to the lovely first ladies of rock--the wives, girlfriends and daughters of the band and road crew who came out to the show this time around.

And of course, my undying gratitude to Danny and Joe, who allow me the opportunity to live the dream, time and time again, and to all of the boys in the band. There just aren't enough words to express my appreciation.

A special shout out to Andy May, the young drummer from a local band called "Speedtrap" with umlauts over the "a"....It's really heartwarming to see young people who have a strong passion for 80's heavy metal, and are willing to keep the torch alive. Check them out at their facebook page, and give 'em a "like" to show them you support young folks playing the songs us old folks love! www.facebook.com/speedtraprocks

Wishing safe travels to all of the S.M.F.s on their journeys home--my road trip back was a bit dicey with stormy weather, and for the second time, I lost power while typing the road report once home!

An so, let's take a moment to review our evening, shall we?
It rained....it poured...from the front row to the fried dough, it rocked. Twisted Sister delivered the goods once more, playing to an appreciative throng of thousands at the 152nd Clearfield County Fair. Whether you came to hear old school Twisted at their best, or the radio hits that made them famous, no one left disappointed. Twisted Sister is not simply an 80's band reunited--Twisted Sister is a rock and roll experience that leaves everyone hungry for more! But sadly, it's the end of the summer road--Clearfield, PA, thanks for closing out the summer with boys in black and pink!

I hope you've all enjoyed the 2012 tour reports--it's my honor to deliver them to you, and I hope that I could bring a little bit of the concert to your corner of the world, so that if you couldn't make the show, you felt like you were right there with me.

This is Armadillo, your faith road reporter, signing off for the summer.
Until the next tour, my babies!


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Setlist for Clearfield County Fair, PA, 08/04/12 
Sunday, August 5, 2012, 12:52 AM
Posted by Administrator
Ladies and Gentlemen--
Your somewhat soggy end-of-summer setlist:

1. What You Don't Know
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
4. Wake Up The Sleeping Giant
5. I Believe in Rock N' Roll
6. You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
7. The Fire Still Burns
8. Shoot 'em Down
9. We're Not Gonna Take It
10. The Price
11. Burn In Hell
Drum Solo
12. I Wanna Rock
Encores:
13. Come Out and Play
Band Introductions
14. S.M.F.
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