Detective John Falcone Memorial Concert, Poughkeepsie NY, March 3, 2012 
Tuesday, March 6, 2012, 12:04 AM
Posted by Administrator
I apologize for the lateness of my report, but I had to tend to some serious personal matters upon my return.Please forgive all the typos--I'm not going to be able to proof it carefully so I'm posting the raw report and I'll clean it up tomorrow. But fear not--I would not default on my duties. Settle in, my babies, for the posts now are directly and inversely proportionate to the length of the reunion "tour"...that is to say, show dates are now few and far between and so I must make the most of each and every opportunity to blog. Get yourself a burrito and an extra large root beer, because this one's gonna be a DOOZY! that's right...it's time...

here now..... for your reading enjoyment... the only place where you can get all of the concert details you want to know, and plenty of useless, trivial crap that you don't! Yes, my babies. You know you want it. You need it. You sometimes hate to admit that you read it:
It's the Official Armadillo Road Report for the Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, New York, March 3, 2012
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Let us first not forget the reason why we were all there. This benefit was a fundraiser in celebration of the life of Detective John Falcone, the brave Poughkeepsie Police Officer who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the life of a small child. Proceeds from this concert went to the surviving family and to Fallen Blue, the charity chaired by our own Mr. A.J. Pero. The band members, the road crew, the manager--all donated their time in order to support this important and very personal cause.

My journey began as it always does---an early morning drive at O' dark early hours--this time to the train station where I rode the rails into Penn Station NYC to meet up with slamboard poster "Capatain Howdy", a.k.a. SMF Chris. We barely had a moment to find our way to the gate, and in no time, we were off a train bound for the Poughkeepsie. It was scenic but gray ride--I kept expecting to see the Loch Ness monster rear out of the Hudson fog. Chris and I were so engaged in our lively conversation about how underated Y &T is, that we nearly missed our stop.

With bags in tow, Chris on two legs and me on three (until the MRI, the diagnosis is tendonitis of the hip), we hiked up a quiet Main street, past the Poughkeepsie sculpture park, and found ourselves at the Hudson Civic Center a short time later. The Civic Center was the hub of activity. Young hockey players streamed in and out all day of the adjacent rink, and the box office saw a steady flow of patrons--Chicago is due to play there in the upcoming months...as is the Picadilly Circus. There's a Spinal Tap joke in there somewhere. Chris and I saw at least two uniformed deputies drive up to buy tickets--we need not wonder which show. We saw Animal out and about, and even had the chance to welcome the members of Y & T as they made their way into town.

Poughkeepsie is a funny little place--it has a strong undercurrent of music, art and theatre....there's a world class culinary school and lots of small, cute bistros. Our hotel was chocked full of Dale Chihuly glassworks--extremely exquisite and lovely. Yet Poughkeepsie's Main Street seems to have suffered the challenges of today's economy, with empty storefront after storefront. We clamored to find an eatery open at 5:30 PM on a Saturday night--we found a Pizzaria that proudly advertised dining for 60. I chastised the boss of very cute waitress' for not letting her get off work to go to the show.

As we lined up in the cold outside, we were treated to young hocky players jogging laps who yelled "I Wanna Rock" as they sprinted past us--and we saw a father with his very young daughter who was sporting an adoreable tiny leather jacket and a Twisted Sister original tour shirt from...I'm guessing 1981. Nice to see parents raising their children with good, heavy metal values! The line was chock full of slamboarders--too many to list and I don't want to accidentally leave anyone out. It was great to meet so many of you--thanks for stopping by and saying hello! Traveling can be a lonely business (the cats are very appreciative when I come home but I swear, the moment they figure out the can opener, I'm going to come home and the locks will be changed on me!) and it really means the world to me to meet more of my Twisted family.

Once inside, we raced to the front row. Chris stopped at the merch table where he was able to snag some of the incredibly cool "TS/Y&T/3 Up 3 Down John Falcone memorial shirts." They sold out in minutes--and I can GUARANTEE that any of you that get stopped for a moving violation in the next few weeks--that cop has got a TS shirt on underneath! The Hudson Civic Center is surprisingly small for a civic center, but very large compared to "The Chance," the historic Poughkeepsie rock club down the street. It is a large, open general admission floor, with a very steep seated area about forty or so rows in the back. All bars and concessions are in the foyer, and so with the exception of the Sound Board, the entire place can be packed with fans, front to back.

Although I'm a fan of older, art deco theatres, the Hudson Civic Center proved to be the perfect place for this benefit, providing top notch acoustics and an impressive light board to boot. Certainly no frills--unless you count hte banner fo "Giggles", a local erotic goods boutique, and I would have preferred that the bathroom be placed at the BOTTOM of the enormously treacherous flight of stairs...but other than that, I would definitely return to the Civic Center for a concert. Very polite and attentive staff, although they weren't needed much Saturday night.

Our adjoining hotel was hosting two fire department banquets at the same hour--which means that there was nary a firefighter mor police officer in the Hudson area who wasn't living it up! The NYPD Detective behind me commented that she hoped her car would be safe because every cop she knew was at the show--and based on the number of big arms and buzz cuts, a good percentage of that crowd consisted of our fineest men and women of law enforcement. Local photographer Frank White was in the house-- check out his photos at www.powerlinemag.com He told us that he has been photographing Twisted Sister for thirty plus years! Check out his site--he has a great shot of TS backstage with Poughkeepsie's finest.

The show began promptly at 8 PM on the nose--a Poughkeepsie Police Department Honor Guard, in full dress uniform, presented the colors onstage, accompanied on the floor by the Poughkeepsie Police Department Fife and Drum Corps. (For those of you unfamiliar--it's drums and bagpipes.) It has often been said, that the tradition of having bagpipes playing at police and fire funerals is to allow men to cry, as even the most stoic and bravest will succumb at the sound of the pipes. Personally, I've had to stand at attention at enough police and fire funerals--the opening notes and I'm already welling up with tears. The emotions were shared by all of the friends, co-workers, family members and strangers around me, including heavy metal fans Jennie and Tammy, who less than a year ago, lost her brother, Terry Melsen, a firefighter killed in the line of duty, in Bryan County, Georgia. Following several songs by the corps, we were treated to a wonderful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, sung by a uniformed Poughkeepsie Police Officer. It was one of those Twisted Sister concert moments that SMFs will talk about for years to come.

We were welcomed by the President of the Poughkeepsie Police Officer's Association, joined onstage by Frank Palett, from WPDH--the first station in the country to add Twisted Sister to their playlist--Frank is the owner of "The Chance," a bar well known to SMFs and many heavy metal bands, big and small. Frank also happens to be the lead singer of "3 Up 3 Down," the opening act of the evening.

And that finally brings us to....THE MUSIC!

Oh the glorious music we heard that night! My theme of the evening---I was reminded of that horribly cliche thing they do at bridal showers--"Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue" Oh just, wait...you'll see.... watch how I pull this all together...

3 UP 3 Down took the stage and they did EXACTLY what a warm up act should do--they absolutely rocked out and made sure that the entire place was fired up and having a great time. I've seen a LOT of opening acts for Twisted Sister, some are hits...some misses. 3 UP 3 DOWN was an absolute hit! They are an all-cover band--and even though I did not recognize the first two songs (maybe they were trying an old Twisted trick of playing originals disguised as rare covers) the rest of their set was a true delight. They played some Priest "You Got Another Thing Comin'"...and some Dio "Holy Diver", a VERY tough cover song to do justice...followed by a smoking rendition of "Bad Company".

They were like a heavy metal jukebox-- I noticed our own Mr. Mendoza watching from the wings--and when they closed with "Balls to the Wall", those in attendance gave them the appreciation that all openers should receive. This crowd was ready to get heavy! Kudos 3 UP 3 DOWN-- you opened for two outstanding acts and held your own! Listen to them for yourself at: http://www.myspace.com/6249570
An opening act of cover tunes--we have......"Something Borrowed"

Y & T-- Yesterday and Today--took the stage shortly after. If was the first time I would hear them without Phil Kennemore playing bass. My previous concert experiences with Y & T were always consistently good, and I wasn't sure what to expect out of Brad Lang. To the delight of everyone, Y &T delivered the type of show that fans everywhere know good and well-- passionate vocals, tightly played guitar lines, strong and rich harmonies and a fantastic rhythm section. Brad's bass had some big shoes to fill--and he did a fantastic job. Phil was looking down from the heavy metal heavens and throwing the horns. (I know, I know--a bit of an odd juxtoposition--just go with it, will ya?)

Dave Meniketti is a rock icon--his vocal abilities are just amazing--he sings with such passion, energy and raw emotion. John Nymann on lead guitar poured out some riffs that just made my heart beat faster (and man, that guy really looks like he's having a great time--I swear to you, he smiled the entire set!)--and Mike Vanderhule is a drummer's drummer. Y & T is just one of the most underrated, under appreciated bands and to hear them on vinyl does not do them proper. You've really got to hear them live--they deliver consistently raw, explosive rock and roll--heavy metal at its finest. I regret that I do not know their entire reportoire--but from those I recognized, they played "Open Fire," "Summertime Girls," "Lipstick and Leather," and holy crap--"Mean Streets" was the best I've heard it.

They played a few tracks from their new "Facemelter" album--I haven't listened to it yet, but the songs they played were delightfully complex, heavy and solidly laid down. They dedicated the very moving "I'm Coming Home" to their late bassist, Phil--followed by the slow and transcending "I Believe In You." Meniketti played a tobacco-burst Les Paul that looked like it's been through about fifty hard road tours and a few battles--it was soulfully soundful. I spied Eddie Ojeda rocking in the wings--and when they launched into "Rescue Me," the song took on an entirely new and special meaning. The crowd rocked appreciatively and SMF Chris. SMF Cyndi and I have the heavy metal whiplash to prove it. Y&T are long time tour mates and friends of Twisted Sister--it was an honor to share the experience of celebrating a fallen hero with them.

Once Y & T left the stage, we saw the raising of the Twisted Colors--a cheer sounded as the Ruff Cuts logo backdrop was hoisted high. We caught an early glimpse of something new and something blue--Eddie stand was sporting some new irridescent red picks that matched his red jewled guitar strap--I notice these things, you know. You've heard of a "metrosexual?" Consider me a "Metal-sexual" I just made that up, by the way. I'm not sure it's a good thing but maybe it will catch on. We also took note of a beautiful glittering teal drum set on the risers. (Don't worry....we had more "New and Blue"....) A few special, lucky fans won some autographed guitars in the raffle during intermission--mormally it seems like we have to wait forever, but our own Mr. Danny Stanton kept this show moving quickly and on time, and it wasn't long before "Long Way to the Top" cranked out.

I've posted the setlist under separate cover--it was thrills and chills for the SMFs Saturday night. The boys took the stage with their old standard "What You Don't Know"--it's a fantastic and dramatic opening number. Dee growling "Good Evening!" as the rest of the band stands in the shadows with their backs to the audience--when Dee yells "Hit It!" the lights explode and we get the full sound, head on. Eddie ended WYDK with a little extra florish--think of it like putting a bit of English on a pool ball--gave that bit of extra something on that last note. Brilliant! His solo during "The Kids Are Back" was fantastic--beautifullly played--I love watching his facial expressions when he plays--you can just read his love for guitars as he closes his eyes--his mouth moves with every note, and sometimes it's almost as if that beautiful sound of the strings is coming from his mouth.

Jay Jay was in the spirit of sporting something new as well--he came onstage in some new duds--a stylish black shirt that looked almost southern-rock inspired--he gave us not only a new look, but the powerful guitars and blistering fret dancing that we've come to expect. He played a strikingly beautiful smoke colored (Smoke-burst?) Les Paul on "Destroyer" that looked as good as it sounded. I cannot pretend that I know enough about guitars to explain the different nuances--those talented folks who can...are musicians. Those without talent....become rock critics. (Those who aren't talented enough to become rock critics... become road reporters...)

I digress.

Back to "Destroyer"...there is no way to talk about this song without mentioned Mark "Animal" Mendoza. Have you SEEN what this man does to a bass? Have you HEARD what he can do to a bass? I learned not to stand near his monitor, because I swear to you, that damn bass will throw me into a cardiac arrythmia one day. Just extraordinary.
Jay Jay took a moment to remind us all, once again, the reason why we were there that evening. He paid homage to all of the men and women in uniform, and commented, "Are there any police on the streets tonight? " It certainly seemed like they were all in attendance--Twisted did something a bit out of the ordinary--they allowed the local police in attendance to enjoy the show from the front photographer pit and the wings of the stage.

"You Can't Stop Rock and Roll" was full throttle Twisted Sister at it's finest--Mark sporting one of his custom bases, complete with YCSRNR logo and chrome flames....Jay Jay with his charcoal Les Paul...and Eddie with his custom black Hall edition Gibson--the trio played tightly and cohesively--as many times as I've heard it, it was an ear-shattering delight. At one point, Mark snuck across the stage and grabbed at Eddie's guitar, who somehow always manages to continue to play unphased by it.

Jay Jay took the mic once more, reminding us that it was the tragedy of 9/11 that brought Twisted Sister back together to play for NY Steel, and he dedicate the next song to police officers everywhere, in appreciation for their putting their lives on the line everyday to keep us and our families safe. They launched into "The Fire Still Burns," and I truly felt Jay Jay's passion as he laid down some of those riffs. While "Come Out and Play" was certainly not Twisted's heaviest album, this is a strong, powerful track and seemed an appropriate choice.

And then... "Something Old"... they launched into "Sin After Sin" and it was absolute ear-bleeding, arm pumping, guitar thrashing heavy metal bliss. Screaming guitars from both Eddie and Jay Jay--and that bass line just shakes me to the core. I was so pleased to hear this oldie but goodie on the setlist. The songs of "Under The Bladfe" are always raw and fast, and the only way to fully appreciate them is to hear them live.

Dee had plenty of Dee-isms, including a re-telling of the now famous "handicapped section" story, which is still funny every damn time he tells it. He told it, of course, because he noticed a large section of the crowd that was seated, and wahted to "thank so many" people with disabilities for coming to the show. And then... a Twisted mircale! He healed a few.....as two newly "cured" fans stood up. A surpcised Dee remarked: "What? They're not tthe handicapped section?" I think you can guess the barrage that exploded from Dee after that revelation.

For "We're Not Gonna Take It," Dee invited members of the Fife & Drum Corps onstage to sing with him. I commented to SMF Chris that it was the first time I''ve seen so many men in "skirts" onstage with Twisted that weren't band members! (oh, please. spare me the hate mail. I know, I know. They aren't skirts..they're kilts. sheesh.) Dee commented: "You guys make me feel good about what I wear onstage...." By the way, there is one disadvantage of being in the front row--I now know the answer to the question of what men wear under their kilts. I ain't tellin' either.

"The Price" was dedicated to the memory of the late Detective John Falcone--the song holds a special meaning to so many of us, but those lyrics took on a deeper meaning that night. One of Poughkeepsie's finest paid the price with his own life--I saw many in the pit and around me, his fellow officers were very moved. Eddie's solo was soulful and poetic--there were a few moments where I just closed my eyes and could feel the notes.

Dee reminded the audience that the bands and crew were working for free--and he thanked the members of 3 UP 3 Down, especially Frank, who made the benefit possible--as well asWPDH and of course, old friends, Y&T. Dee voiced what SMF Chris and I had discussed all morning--just how underrated and immensely talented a band Y & T is. Dee claims he even tweeted how amazing Dave Maniketti is...I haven't checked his Twitter account yet to verify that...but he's certainly speaking the truth!

'Burn In Hell" is always a crowd pleaser--we did have a thunderous A.J. solo, but he did opt to cut it short tonight. I'm not sure the reason--whether it was a time constraint, a physical injury (that man plays through the pain like an NFL professional!) or a personal choice--but a good solo nonethe less, and it gave us room for a little something extra later--an additional song on the setlist. A.J. Pero is the spokesperson for Fallen Blue, and this event, I'm sure, was near and dear to his heart. Thank you A.J. for the work that do with this organization!

And then...we had "Something New"..... a song that Twisted has never played live before. Even though he claims they only rehearsed it one day.... "so if it sucks, be kind"--the best Dee-ism of the night--we were treated to the completely appropriate, fan-approved "Heroes Are Hard to Find" OH HELL YEAH. This completely and proverbiallly kicked my scrawny white butt! It was played with such heart and earnestness--and it was PERFECT! I saw Jay Jay looking at me scrawling, and I mouthed to him "It was perfect! Perfect!" He looked quite pleased, too-- really. The band played that song so well, you would have thought it was a setlist regular. I loved every single strong note, including a beautiful duet between Eddie and Jay Jay. Dee's vocals were right on the mark--it was a spectacular highlight of the show for us.

For "I Wanna Rock," Dee invited the cops in the pit, the cops in the wingsand backstage, to join them in singing the anthem we all know and love. We spied one officer wearing a Twisted Christmas shirt under his uniform shirt {insert your own Neidermeyer joke here} Speaking of which, since this was NOT a New York Christmas show, Dee finally felt liberated from the profanity constraints, and polled the audience as he did around the world those past few shows: Do you wanna rock? or fuck? He was pleased to report that it is now unanimous--no intentional reference to Celebrity Apprentice there-- he has polled around the globe, and people want to fuck more than they want to rock! And then promptly apologized to the kids in the front row

As we rocked to the refrain, Dee pointed out that there was a guy in the front with an oxygen tank--and he was rocking out as hard as the other SMFs. So he challenged those still sitting--if a guy with a tank can rock out, "You can do better!" I looked around, and by the last verse, the entire Hudson Civic Center was on it's feet, clapping, stomping and screaming.

We were treated to three encores this time around--our Twisted lighting technician Marty aka
Soulites, treated us to a nice "Come Out and Play" homage and bathed the stage in green light--very nice touch! Dee coaxed Eddie to not be afraid of the dark... C'mon out, Eddie! And we're glad he did--because Eddie and Jay Jay laid down some fierce guitars on that encore. With each pounding of "join our cavalcade" , I felt Animal's bass notes hitting me square in the chest.

Before the next encore, the crowd expressed their appreciation to Dee, prompting Dee to reply "ah, the beauty of a one syllable name!" Dee gave a quick plug for Celebrity Apprentice, and showed us his hand, which still can't close into a fist, so he may be due for more surgery--I know we all wish him a full and speedy recovery. He then, in turn, expressed his appreciation to those who made the benefit possible, tipping his hat to Poughkeepsie's fans, and commented that many years ago they played "the Chance" with Jefferson Starship! Did I hear that right? True? Wow.

Dee introduced the band, manager and road crew--encouraging the audience to applaud because since they weren't getting paid, "all you give us is all we get tonight...especially from our wives....because it's late, you know..." Classic Dee. The band intros--I hope it's on YouTube--they just get funnier and funnier each time. Last night, we had Mark "he's got a gun" Mendoza...and as Dee introduced Jay Jay, Mark and Jay mimicked playing little tiny violins behind Dee's back--just hilarious. I love to see the boys having fun!

Both Jay Jay and Dee thanked all of the members of law enforcement in the audence--Jay Jay remarked, "I hope our dressing room wasn't robbed while we've been playing"--seriously-the place was a wonderful show of the brother and sisterhood in the police community. Dee commented that almost the whole audience was packing heat!
They closed the show with "Under the Blade" and "S.M.F." --I thought the rafters were gonna come down on us. Outstanding!

Saturday's show was nearly flawless--the sound was outstanding--even in the tempermental front row, where we often have to sacrifice grood sound for a great view. In spite of a few ghosts in the machine---the sound was just brillaint. George, our Twisted soundman, is the just best in the biz--I never truly understood or appreciated just how critical a talented and experienced soundman is until I had the privilege of watching him work. Great balance--just the right amount of vocals and bass/drums --clean guitars-- I didn't need my ear plugs to filter out any distortion--we had heavy metal with no distractions.

A tragic event, but it demonstrated the amazing solidarity and support that the people of Poughkeepsie have for one of their fallen heroes. And for those of us who were just visiting Poughkeepsie, we had an evening that many of us will be talking about for a long, long, time.

So just in case I haven't used enough tired cliches....
Something Old.... Sin After Sin, Under The Blade...some classic Y & T
Something New....Heroes Are Hard to Find
Something Borrowed.... 3 Up 3 Down's great covers
Something Blue....A.J.'s drum kit....and for the less literal blue.... an audience full of police...which is probably why we had the most well behaved crowd I've ever seen in New York!

A fantastic tribue and Twisted show, sadly had to come to an end. After some post-show munchies at a local diner (don't ask how, but MetalNY SMF Brian managed to fit all of us in that car of his) we made it back to the hotel room around 3:00 am. The next morning, as we were shaking off a bad case of concert drop and heavy metal hangover, we crossed over "Detective John Falcone Way" to get to the train station. Poughkeepsie is forever changed by the events on that tragic day, and I hope that the concert and the funds raised will help bring some comfort and closure to the family, friends and fellow officers.

I salute you all.
Your faithful road reporter..
EMT/Firefighter Terry "The Armadillo"

Rest in Peace, Detective Falcone. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten by the People of Poughkeepsie...and now S.M.F.s everywhere.
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Pre-show tidbits 
Saturday, March 3, 2012, 02:33 PM
Posted by Administrator
Greetings from beautiful downtown Poughkeepsie!

SMF Chris aka Captain Howdy shared the train ride with the spectacular albeit foggy Hudson scenery whizzing by and we have landed in Poughkeepsie. One Twisted sighting already on the books...and Y&T just strolled into town. We gave the gents a tip of the hat!

The rain has cleared up--the fans are starting to stream into town--you can feel the vibe brewing. I'll check back in after midnight with your Twisted setlist and all the concert details you just gotta have....along with lots you wish you didn't.

see you tonight,babies!
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Benefit concert in memory of Detective John Falcone 
Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 09:53 PM
Posted by Administrator
I want to personally encourage every single SMF out there to buy a ticket to the upcoming Twisted Sister show on March 3rd in Poughkeepsie NY, at the Hudson Civic Center. It's for a very important cause--and ticket prices are low enough for GA to accommodate almost anyone.

Police Officers place their lives on the line every single day, protecting those in the communities they serve. Poughkeepsie Police Department Detective Falcone made the ultimate sacrifice almost a year ago--a true hero who saved the life of a three year old child and lost his own in the ensuing struggle to subdue the gunman. Our thoughts, prayers and comfort go to the family, friends, colleagues and fellow officers who will continue to honor his memory and cope with the loss.
You can read about his last call here:
http://www.odmp.org/officer/20752-detec ... hn-falcone

Proceeds from the March 3rd concert will go to the The John Falcone FBA Fund, National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, and Fallen Blue.

For those of you who don't know the personal connection Twisted Sister has to law enforcement, A.J. Pero is the National Spokesperson for Fallen Blue, an organization that has been established to help the families of active police officers who die outside the line of duty.

If there is one Twisted Sister show that you were planning to get to this year, let this be the one! If you can't attend, please consider making a donation to one of the charities to help those who serve to protect us:
http://www.nleomf.com/
http://fallenblue.org/

Hope to see you all there, my babies! Poughkeepsie is just one month away!


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Happy New Year to SMF's everywhere! 
Saturday, December 31, 2011, 01:59 PM
Posted by Administrator
Just taking a moment to reflect on the incredible year 2011 was for Twisted Sister fans. While all of the local news broadcasts are calling 2011 a year that many wish to forget, for so many SMFs, 2011 was a year we will remember forever.

This time last year, we were still flying high from the winter twisted trip to South America--a land where Heavy Metal still reigns supreme, and the people's passion for music is surpassed only by their warmth, kindness and love. I arrived as a scared fan, but departed as a part of a heavy metal family.

The Spring of 2011 gave us one of the best US shows (and setlists) to date--a spectacular charity concert for Ocular Immunology & Uveitis Research in New York City, coupled with the extraordinary Pinkburst Project auction in Boston, the following afternoon.

Nothing could have prepared us for the summer of 2011--a Twisted tour of Europe that would stretch across the UK, Spain, Hungary, Canada,Czech Republic, Greece, Finland and remarkably, Russia! (Still kicking myself for not getting the visa lined up in time!) Nothing could have been greater proof that while cultures, dialects and customs may vary, rock and roll is a universal language of the heart and soul.

For this fan, it was a dream come to true to travel to Greece, where the Twisted Sister fans proved to our Twisted five that Greece was well worthy of the two shows they received that year. Finland was a land full of hospitality and beauty, with a passion for Twisted Sister and heavy metal that was unsurpassed. Quebec City was magical, whimsical and dream-like. SMFs everywhere share that one common bond-- a love for Twisted Sister and glorious rock and roll!

If I leave this Earth with any regrets, it is only that I could not join the Twisted fans in the other counties that they visited---every single country that Twisted visited gave them a warm welcome, energetic crowds and allowed Twisted Sister to do what they do best--put on the best live heavy metal concert anywhere!

And so my babies, not knowing what 2012 will bring us, I can only wish all of you--the S.M.F. friends of Twisted Sister--all over the world, a year of good health, prosperity, personal growth, love and most of all, peace. May the year ahead bring us all together once more-- my deepest heartfelt thanks to everyone in the band, the road crew, the management and of course, the fans!

Happy New Year....and I hope to see you on the road in 2012

Armadillo


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Best Buy Theater, Times Suuare, New York City, December 17, 2011 
Sunday, December 18, 2011, 07:30 PM
Posted by Administrator
You’d think that after the dozen or so Twisted Christmas shows that I’ve been fortunate enough to attend…that I would have a lack of things upon which to comment. Not so, my Twisted siblings! A chilled soda and stack of chocolate bars sits next to the notepad now filled with pages upon pages of incoherent shorthand, and that can only mean one thing: that’s right… it is time….here now, for your reading enjoyment…. Your noel of notepads, yuletide yammering, holiday holier-than-thou, festivus for-the-SMF-in-us….

Oh my babies…it’s the Official Armadillo Road Report from Times Square in the glorious City of New York, Best Buy Theatre, December 17, 2011. Bringing you all the concert details you’re dying to know….and plenty ya don’t. In a nutshell--Best Buy kicked serious ass! Funny raps...beautiful solos...great drums....excellent, tight guitars..just fantastic.

As you may recall, we skipped a year at the Best Buy Theatre. Last year’s holiday adventures brought us to Brazil, Argentina and other parts south of the Equator, leaving many in New York to wonder if Dee was sincere in his promise that the “last Christmas show in New York City” really was, in fact..the last. Fortunately for all of us, the Twisted ones were back on stage again and it was a delightful déjà vu to start putting on the heavy layers of clothing for the long cold wait outside. I knew I’d be meeting up with many from the Slamboard outside, and so finally I think I’ve got the cold weather formula down: Heater packets, one in each shoe and one in each pocket, a warm touque and four layers underneath. It was definitely nippy outside but I didn’t mind the almost two hour wait outside.

The Best Buy Theater has always been prompt, and we were all very politely greeted and brought inside by an attentive security force at 7:00 PM on the nose. Inside, it was the confusing layout and air-conditioning that I had remembered from years past, but it is still a wonderful venue with loads of amenities and a very well-trained and professional staff. Waiting for hours in the cold was still worth the pain as the large group of SlamBoard folks took their places near the front. Included but not limited to: SMFCyndi, Metal NY (Brian), Captain Howdy (Chris) and his lovely co-worker who took in her very first Twisted Sister show…we also met up with Amuz2Deth (Rob), Toronto SMF Corey and another fellow Canadian Anthony (also from Toronto).

Special shout out to a very special visitor—SMF Mark, who flew here all the way from Australia! Holy shite! That is ONE LONG PLANE TRIP to rock and roll! Hope it all worked out for you, mate, and you met the boys in the band. Wish I could have stayed with you a little longer. Let us know how things went at the Meet n’ Greet! (those NYC meet and greats are always very crowded—lots of friends, family, music folks!)

As we all gathered anxiously awaiting the start of the show, we had a strange dichotomy of DJ music—the usual suspects—Bon Jovi, Ozzy, Van Halen—but “My Sharona?” Really? The Knack? And now for something completely different…. A very jovial and likely intoxicated Santa’s helpers runs up onstage and gets the crowd cheering and fired up for Twisted Sister. After a good two or three minutes of cheerleading, it dawns on us—and the security team—that this elf was NOT with the show. He quickly escorted himself offstage and we were quite amused by the baffled and annoyed looking security guard—who I admit, I agree with those around me, did have a striking resemblance to Uncle Fester.

The photographer who dressed up as Dee at the last Christmas show was there—you can check out his photography at www.rockdivanews.com I don’t see the Twisted photos up yet but here’s hoping they’ll be up soon.

Jac & Jill was our only warmup act of the evening—and they sounded even better than they did the week before! Again, I have to give them some props due—they are by far, the best dressed band I have ever seen. Ironic, of course that you have Twisted, who made Blackwell’s worst dressed list—and then the highly stylish Jac & Jill. Bridgid rocked that Viper Violin, complete with a pink bow-and the horsehair was flying! (that’s the bow, I’m talking about….they’re made of horsehair) They again played the Foo Fighter’s “Best of You” and it was a very solid, tight rendition—definitely a crowd favorite.

[The gentleman next to me was excited to catch a J&J guitar pick—I could have sworn I saw it sail into his jacket—he couldn’t find it however, so I recommend checking your lint filter on laundry day..the damndest things come out in the wash.]

They dedicated their Christmas song to those still overseas, and the roadies dragged out a baby grand piano (boy, I hope they got a Christmas bonus for that—my back hurt just watching!) Beautiful song—and a nice heavy bass line. They really rocked the house last night, and seemed to get a much warmer welcome than they did at The Paramount, where the crowd was much smaller. Kudos again to Jac & Jill….and by the way, they looked absolutely radiant…..and …..I must have missed their call last time….ya know…still single here….how can you resist short, bald and nerdy?

Twisted Sister’s friend, fan and supporter, Rabbi Darby Leigh was there right in front. Unfortunately, the only thing worse than my massacring of spoken languages….is my ASL which is limited to just a few words, but fortunately Rabbi Leigh reads lips. It dawned on me—just as there are Catholics called “Easter and Christmas Catholics”—there are really only three times of the year that’s I identify as a Jew—Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur, Passover…..and Twisted Sister shows. At least now Jay Jay can take to heart that there are at least THREE Jews celebrating Twisted Sister Christmas with him.

When the lights came down and the opening riffs of “Long Way to the Top” began playing….we were clapping along, until we realized something was amiss. It was that feeling you get when you order a Coke and get Pepsi instead….something wasn’t quite as it should be….No vocals! It was sort of like a karaoke version of “Long Way,…” we don’t know. Were the roadies playing the opening riff to buy them more time? A soundboard issue with the opener CD? One may never know…. But the original AC/DC did finally come over the speakers, order was restored in the universe, and we were off for another Twisted Sister Christmas Extravaganza!

Unlike previous Christmas shows, Santa-Dee still had plenty of treats and such for those in the front, who were showered with candy canes, condoms and little bags of coal. You’ve by now seen the setlist—it was identical to The Paramount Show—“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” really is an excellent opener. The guitar lines are fast, furious and for a Christmas song that was introduced to the world by Judy Garland in “Meet Me in St. Louis,” it really kicks some ass. And your little dog’s, too.

Eddie sported his “Christmas present” guitar—and upon closer inspection, I noticed that the Head Stock (the part with the machine heads/tuning pegs…thank you, Chris and Wikipedia!) of his guitar has not only a small Santa on it, but the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, which made me realize that this guitar was probably commissioned for the Twisted Christmas in Vegas shows.

Then of course, to mix a little old school with Christmas Yule, they rolled right into “The Kids Are Back.” Do you know how you can tell the new SMFs from the old ones? The old ones know all the words to the songs off “Under The Blade” but can’t remember the words to a single Christmas Carol….and the new SMFs…well, you get the picture.

“White Christmas” was next—and although the forecast in the front row was for heavy blizzard conditions, a malfunction of the snow machine gave us only light flurries. “White Christmas” absolutely gallops along and every time Mark pounded on his bass, you could little soap flakes from his side of the stage go flying off the stage by the speakers.
Dee was again decked out in full regalia, and commented that he “scared the crap out of his granddaughter” tonight with “Snider Claus is coming to get you!” Seriously—Dee jokes that his grandkids are going to be really messed up but I cannot imagine a more wonderful set of grandparents than the Sniders! Periodically, throughout the show, Dee would give a little wave to his granddaughter who was rocking out in the wings. It was priceless!

Jay Jay seemed a bit underdressed compared to the Paramount—he still looked quite dashing in his tuxedo—however no black tie! Was it casual night? Tie at the cleaners? Couldn’t figure out how to make the bow? Sheesh…no initial vocals on Long Way, no snow, no tie….I was getting worried..what else were we missing? [more on that later!]

Then.. “Destroyer”. When Animal pounds on that bass combined with Eddie and Jay Jay’s guitars, it’s impossible to stand still. At one point, all I could see around me were fists and hair flying—it was a glorious timewarp back to the 80’s. The massive sound of “Destroyer” always makes for an interesting juxtaposition to the light-hearted “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”….who of course, in Twisted Christmas, is performing fellatio on Santa and tickling him under his balls so snowy white. And seriously, Dee’s right on the money here—if your kids understand the word fellatio, well, they’re probably old enough to handle “Twisted Christmas.”

Jay Jay said a few words of welcome: “This is not a Kenny G Christmas….not a Justin Bieber Christmas… if you were expecting the Trans-Siberian orchestra…you’ve got the transvestite Siberian orchestra…” and then went on to explain that being a New York Jew….well.. you’re a Jew… …ish….” [well, at least two of us understood that joke….almost as good as his late parents “sleeping with the kanishes”]

Jay Jay and Dee together introduce what is now known as the “Christmas drinking song” –one of those spots in the show where there is no excuse for anyone not to sing along. Jay Jay yells out: “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?” The audience obligingly responded: “Spongebob Squarepants!” A tangent..true…but it warmed the crowd up to demonstrate their ability to “fa-la-la-la” with the best of them. “Deck the Halls” absolutely rocked, and one my favorite parts—Mark’s “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” bass solo, was absolutely fantastic Only upstaged by Dee’s roxette-style kick.

Next up was “The Price.” One of the things I love the most about this song is that every fan brings a little something self-reflective to it. So many of us have been touched and inspired by the lyrics and the beautiful guitarwork, that if you ask any SMF about “The Price,” they can put their own personal spin to it. For SMF Cyndi, “The Price” was the song dedicated to her in Italy, as a thank you for her travels. For me, the song was dedicated to me twice—once in Vegas when I proposed to she-who-must-not-be named- [which, admittedly, made it painful to hear the song for the longest time after the divorce..] and then a second time in Greece, when Dee thanked me for my almost thirty years of faithful devotion.

When I looked over and saw Rabbi Leigh signing along, I remember just how deeply this song touches the hearts of SMFs all over the world. I can certainly tell you long I have wanted this dream to come true—and I have to pinch myself time and time again to believe it’s really happening.

Eddie’s solo was fantastic—Dee was hanging off of Mark’s back as they all swayed—it was just a moment of perfection. The band swaying band and forth, the crowd swaying back and forth—lighters and cell phones in the air. Just perfect.

“Oh Come O’ Ye Faithful” (or as I call it, the WNGTI crowd teaser) was fantastic and tightly played—Jay Jay sounded especially good on this tonight, and Dee welcomed us all to “Come to the Church of Twisted Sister!” He then went onto one of his many incredibly hilarious raps of the evening, commenting that the handicapped section gets bigger and bigger every year…which prompted a fan to stand up…making Dee realize this was the opposite of his faux pas many years ago—they weren’t the HC section—they were just sitting down! (Oh! The humanity!)

For the second time in a row, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” treated us to Eddie and A.J. vocal solos—it was quite special that this year, many of the troops were finally home for the holidays. I’ll editorialize here that there are still many abroad, away from their loved ones—so please continue to remember those serving their homelands. Eddie’s guitar solo was quite lovely—I was mesmerized between watching his nimble fingers on the frets…and his facial expressions. He has such tremendous passion and concentration when he plays—it’s really quite special to watch up close.

“Burn In Hell” gave us that incredible trio of dueling guitars as Eddie, Jay Jay and Mark lined up. If you have never perused any of the youtube or photo albums of Dee performing this song in a red glow—it’s quite dramatic. It leads into A.J.’s mammoth drum solo-song medley…we had the red and green laser sticks and lots and lots of cowbell.

“Silver Bells” gives us another Mendoza bass solo—we had some sound issues in the front row all night—I heard from those standing a few rows back that the sound was fantastic. This is the issue that I’ve had in the front row at Best Buy three times in a row—right up against the stage, you get too much monitor and miss the vocals. Most of Mark’s bass solo was lost because of where we were standing, but those behind me were absolutely wow’ed. As
Dee said, “He would have gone on longer but he ran out of bass!”

And then….my babies….we heard a growly “ho….HO….HO….” and out came Santa Claus…sans pants. Yes, it’s was the return of the notorious Pantless Claus, who I might add, has had a rising hemline each year he does this bit. Next year, there will be nothing left to the imagination. I did spy Mark peeking under the back of pantless Claus’ coat….let’s just say that it was one of the moments when I wish I wasn’t standing so close….(if anyone needs to get Santa a present, a leg waxing gift certificate would be greatly appreciated!) Dee exclaimed, “Santa! Where’s your sack!” Mark could answer that… oh, wait, his sack of TOYS. Never mind. Apparently Santa was mugged in Central Park but he did manage to bring the boys a few gifts this year.

Dee commented that” all [he] wanted for Christmas was his two front teeth, but [he] already got those a few years back….” And then had to get them capped. Tough crowd tonight….prompting Dee to admonish the audience with “you older guys know what I’m talking about…the rest of you…try to keep up!”

A.J. again explained his deer accident and he gave his new Deer taxidermy bike a big hug. Mark (who insisted that Santa give him a little personal space now that he knew what was under his Santa coat) received his “pocket gun”—Animal, after all, said he likes “things that go boom!” He was so excited to carry off his big gun that he actually dropped his bass!

Eddie, who normally does not insist very specific in his holiday requests—lamented the loss of Off-track betting, and was thrilled when Santa wheeled out the giant roadie-sporting hobby horse, prompting him to remark: “Finally, a horse that can make me money…” With A.J. quipping, “It’s a horse of a different color….” And Dee remarking on the size of the horse’s….oh never mind.

Jay Jay had a very specific request for Pantless Claus (I agree with Dee—it just never gets old!) He wanted something that will remind him of his ex-wives divorce lawyers. [Christ, Jay Jay…as if alimony isn’t enough of a reminder? Hell, I think of my divorce lawyer every time I look at my empty bank account…] In any case, Santa had one his elves (Samantha French) deliver a spectacular shark guitar! Prompting Jay Jay to remark: “How subtle is that?” and Dee’s comment: “That’s Jay Jay’s daughter…so that makes TWO things that remind him of his ex-wife…”

Which led us into another one of Dee’s notoriously funny raps….and he motioned for Santa to come closer so that could tell him what he wanted for Christmas…the audience screaming out “I Wanna Rock” as Dee turned to us and admonished, “Will you let ME do it???!!” We had a blistering version of “I Wanna Rock”…and then came to the portion where Dee wants to see the audience in the light.

And yep. That so-called Handicapped Section that wasn’t the actual handicapped section was still seated. He launched into a brilliant and hilarious rap about audience laziness, culminating with: ‘Unless you are wearing a colostomy bag or an adult diaper….stand up!” The crowd began to chant it, and then Dee started a new chant: “THE POWER OF DEE COMPELS YOU! THE POWER OF DEE COMPELS YOU!” Wow. A Christmas show and exorcism all in one. That’s Twisted Christmas, folks.

He then addressed a fan in the back row of the balcony, who was waving frantically with both arms, “I see you in the back….signaling for help…. What? I didn’t pick your seat! You could have been down here with all these crazy bastards …” And then…as he was about to deliver the big finish, he saunters over to Eddie and casually asks::
“What’s the toughest thing about a colostomy bag? Finding shoes to match.”
And he wasn’t done.
“Hey…I’ve been wearing an adult diaper for years…not because I’m old…but just sheer laziness…” and then went on a brief tangent about how hard it was to hide the panty lines….

This.

This folks.

THIS…. is why I bring a notepad! To bring you such gems of brilliance and comic delights.
{please no hatemail from those of you with Colostomy bags. All the men in my family have Crohn’s. Believe me, I’m sensitive to it, but it was still a damn funny one liner!}

The closer of the night—we had two encores again, including “Heavy Metal Christmas”—I swore I saw elves dragging their manager onstage during the frivolities—and as we got to the dramatic pause of the last refrain when the band re-dons their instruments—Dee yelled: “Wait! NO premature insingulation…think of garbage!”

The insanity wasn’t over yet—and this is truly why the Christmas shows are so much more fun than the standard Twisted Sister show (not that any TS show is average…..they are ALL special!) But there’s just so much fun and silliness—it’s really infectious! As Dee introduced the band…Jay Jay whispered something into Dee’s ear, prompting Dee to whisper back, “Yes, Satan?” Jay Jay disappears….

Dee thanked the old school fans who have supported the band all of these years….he then introduced A.J. Pero—the “new guy who has only been with them for thirty” as Eddie did arm curls with the pink mic stand…
...and then Jay Jay reappears., wearing a white Dee wig, announcing that he wondered what it would be like to be Dee…and if this is what Dee would look like without hair dye. [Dee said to give it 3 or so years]
I missed the next one-liners because when I looked up, Dee was looking down at me going, “Do you have to write it down every time I scratch my balls?”

Now, wait a second…I don’t do that….oh. wait. There was one road report where I think I did… aw shit.

But see? If I didn’t capture the best Dee-isms of the night, you’d miss them—most of the YouTube videos have the music but not the raps. Maybe the Rabbi will appreciate the “closed captioning” that I provide to you all. It’s worth the ridicule…it’s worth the pucker fear factor….I do it all for you, my babies. ( I don’t know if Dee reads these reports—he knows I write them!) It really does mean a lot to me when folks tell me they read the reports—I love bringing them to you and hope that 2012 will afford me the opportunity to bring you many, many more.

The boys closed with a house-shaking rendition of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” that had the whole place on their feet—stomping, clapping and singing. I hated for Twisted Christmas to end!

But something was missing tonight! Best Buy was a Douche-Bag free zone! that's right! I couldn't believe it either--the crowd was happy, polite...no fights, no spilled beer, no broken ribs--it was the most well-behaved New York show I've ever seen! Wow--the Power of Dee compelled us!

So I’ll take this opportunity to wish a happy holidays to everyone in the band, Danny Stanton and the entire road and set crew for doing all that they do so that we can rock out! A special holiday wish to all the slamboard peeps and SMFs all of the world! Special thank you to the staff at the Best Buy Theatre, and all of the promoters, club owners, staff and fans from all over the world.

Let us all hope that 2012 brings us health, peace and happiness….and I hope to see you all on the road next year!
This is your faithful road reporter, trotting off to find more candy bars to battle the post-concert blues….
Terry a.k.a. Armadillo

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