SETLIST from Fox & Friends American Concert Series 
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 07:29 PM
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SETLIST From Fox & Friends, American Concert Series
7 a.m. July 25, 2014 Downtown Manhattan

Your eye-opener, Wake the F*ck up, NYC! Set list:

1. I Wanna Rock
2. The Kids Are Back
2.5 (I'll explain later) Shoot 'em Down
3. The Price
4. You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
5. We're Not Gonna Take It
6. Stay Hungry

Seven songs! FOX asked for 2…the band gave the fans 7, just for showing up so early.

And in tribute, I give you my special road crew version of the oh-dark-early setlist:

1. I Wanna Sleep
2. The Kids Are Back (in bed)
3. Fallin' Down
4. The Price (of coffee. my god. who can afford to live here?)
5. You Can't Stop for Coffee n' Rolls
6. We're Not Gonna Wake Yet
7. I'm SO Hungry
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Official Road Report: BANG YOUR HEAD Festival, Balingen German 12-July, 2014 
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 07:28 PM
Posted by Administrator
Bang Your Head Festival, Balingen German, 12-July, 2014. Very Simple. 4th Record Breaking SOLD OUT Performance. 45,000 Fans can't be wrong.

Oh babies, I’m not sure what to say about this edition of the Road Report. It was quite the experience. The primary fact is that Twisted Sister headlined the SOLD OUT Bang Your Head festival in Balingen, Germany. It is undisputed that 45,000 European metalheads got their asses kicked by the greatest live heavy metal band of all time, our boys in black and pink.

I got my ass kicked working for the greatest live heavy metal band of all time. All’s fair in love and war, as they say.

Let’s begin, shall we?

THE PRE-SHOW
When I last left you, Twisted Sister had just demolished Sweden at a strange but well-attended music festival in which none of the bands proved themselves as a worthy opponent for the fierceness of Twisted Sister—not even some odd act with the word “doggy” in their title. Twisted Sister dominated the festival with flames, explosions, fireworks and a full kick-ass set of heavy metal faves.

Bang Your Head Festival 2014 in Balingen, Germany was going to be a much more challenging task. It was a full lineup of 80’s metal bands, including Warrant (although they had to bail due to a drummer’s tendonitis), Stryper, Anthrax, and co-headliner, Europe.

The band was “returned” straight from the stage in Sweden back to the Copenhagen hotel where they likely went off to bed and had the luxury of being able to sleep in a for a few hours. They were on a later morning flight into Germany—still not an easy feat to fly the day of the show—but they at least had the opportunity to get close to a full night’s rest. Your faithful road crew, however, were not as fortunate.

If you recall, we had an early start to the day in Sweden—a stellar performance—but then a late night/early a.m. load out which returned us back to the hotel with just enough time to shower, zip the luggage shut and come back downstairs to load out to the airport. We had a very early a.m. international flight with the guitars and gear, and so it was a bit surreal at 4:00 a.m. to be standing in the airport on our way to the next show, still wearing our sweaty crew uniforms from the same day. The plane itself was what we refer to as a “puddle jumper”—small turbo-prop planes that had a few of us wondering if we were going to have to step outside, give the propellers a proper turn, all while yelling, “Contact!” [younger readers, ask your grandfather to explain that!]

The flight from Denmark to Germany was relatively a short one—I truly cannot say if I dozed off or not—only that the brown-colored hot water the flight attendant assured me was coffee did not seem to have much effect. We hit the ground running, gathered all of the guitars and equipment, and did the dance I’ve come to know and love—baggage carousel to cart, cart to curb, curb to transport, transport to stage! I desperately wanted to nap in the transport—I think it’s possible I did nod off once, but I definitely recall the sounds of snoring all around me as my fellow crew members breezed in and out of consciousness. This was definitely going to be one of those days in which we were going to have to dig deep. We arrived in the absolutely adorable and picturesque town of Balingen. I wished we could have stayed longer so that I could have explored this lovely and quaint place, complete with medieval castle atop the hill. Alas—no such luck. The hotel we pulled into was simply providing a “day room”—essentially, a location for us to deposit our baggage, splash some water on our faces, change socks and freshen up—all within 5 minutes time—and meet back downstairs and climb into the vans. So take note, my fellow S.M.F.s—those of you who dream of one day working crew for bands. The glamour and creature comforts belong to those making the music. For those behind the scenes, it is a reality of bad smells, long hours, dirty socks and extreme fatigue. And yes, my babies, I enjoyed it. (Well, maybe not all the smells.)

We pulled into the Balingen festival grounds at “Bang Your Head” and the music was already well underway. This always presents a special challenge for the road crew, because it means that we won’t be able to do a proper sound check, merely a “line check” right before we go on. Even harder, the changeover time allotted to us was a mere 20 minutes—truly, what we refer to as a “throw-and-go.” It was just before eleven in the morning now—it was hard to believe that 8 hours prior we were loading out of the Copenhagen lobby—and that for most of us, our last time in the horizontal position was well more than 24 hours ago. The mind can begin to play tricks on you when sleep deprivation sets in, and those of us in the crew kept a watchful eye on one another to ensure that we were remaining lucid. To our delight, what we first thought was a hallucinatory mirage turned out to be real: the catering tent had a coffee machine/espresso/cappuccino maker that was available to all bands and crews without limits.

To give you the flavor of how tough this show was for us: The dressing room areas were an encampment of trailers—about half the length of a single-wide—one for the crew, and a second, larger one for the band, located inside a fixed structure. The crew quarters—which doubled as our production office—had a card table with two small chairs, a mini-fridge and a small window that opened a crack. It was stifling hot –and it didn’t take long before the floor was wet with mud. By the time I returned with a fan and towels, one of our crew was asleep in a chair….another sprawled out on the dirty floor…and in the band room, one clever crew member curled up onto the window ledge and another was asleep on the band’s couch. I availed myself of one of the Red Cross cots they brought us—but like the others, our window of opportunity to sleep was short-lived. In total, most of us slept for 15 minutes to 30 minutes tops, in rotations of sometimes 5 to 10 minutes. After 10 to 15 minutes of shut-eye, we found ourselves awakened by another member of the crew to assist with something, and so the vicious cycle went all day. It was actually a pretty remarkable show of teamwork—think of it like a “rest relay”—I’d run an errand to let a tech get 10 minutes of rest—and when I returned, the favor was returned to me. In particular, we needed to keep tabs on the gear and instruments. I would estimate, that in total, I maybe acquired less than 20 minutes of actual sleep all day. After a certain point, sleep was just pointless, and coffee became the drug du jour.

I took a stroll around the rain soaked grounds to look for a few friends—shout out to Australian SMF’s Mark and Karen who made the long journey to rock--sorry I missed meeting up with you--the festival grounds were humid and muddy from a recent downpour, but that clearly did not dampen anyone’s spirits. The German fans—and many other fans from all over Europe—were decked out in some of the most impressive battle jackets I’ve ever seen this side of the 80’s. There was plenty of merch tents all around—I desperately was craving some schnitzel but could not find any.

My “leisure time” was again short-lived, and I was sent on an errand back to the day room to retrieve some items for the band. This turned out to be a bright moment of the day, as I was driven by a lovely transporter, Katerina (I hoped that’s spelled correctly) a strikingly beautiful cardiologist who was volunteering for the festival. We had an interesting chat about defibrillators on the ride back. Oh be still my own heart was a flutter with atrial tachycardia---(a little cardiac humor for you). Beautiful, intelligent and loves heavy metal. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation but I think at some point I thought, Hmmmmm…..a future MRS. Armadillo, perhaps? Definitely the lack of sleep. But she was indeed lovely, and for the record, I’d make a fantastic house-husband. No, really. I clean. wash and fold. cook. Think about it, Doctor. Call me.

I digress.

Now here’s where it gets really fuzzy. I jot down notes for the road report in my own shorthand that I’m able to transcribe a day or two later. Gotta tell ya, my babies. I can barely read a single word of what I wrote. We really were the walking dead at this point. I staggered back to the catering tent for what I think was my 14th cappuccino, and suddenly, a marching band stomps into the tent, and begins playing “We’re Not Gonna Take It” on the tubas. I had to share this lack of reality…so I ran back to the production office, and told the crew: “There’s a marching band playing Twisted Sister!” This one they had to investigate to ensure that my brain had not totally shit the bed. No, it was true. Ooom-pah-pah tubas blasting TS in the catering tent. It’s these special moments that make the tour pain so worthwhile.

Europe was the co-headliner and was on right before Twisted—this makes at least 3 times now that I’ve heard Europe play right before TS, and I really enjoy it. They play a good set and the crowd loves them, so they are ready and warmed up. I believe they closed with “Final Countdown,” and the split second they left the stage, we began the sprint to get everything set up. I’ve always been one for checklists, and now I needed my checklist more than ever to make sure that in my tired state, I didn’t forget anything.

I had made the long sprint from the stage to the dressing room numerous times already, and as we get closer to show time, the back-and-forth gets more frequent. The band was due to arrive in minutes, so I did a quick sweep of the band dressing room to make sure that it was cleaned up, fresh and presentable. Towels, water and sports drink grabbed to put on stage…posters requested from hospitality….band transport arranged for post-show…setlists updated….band credentials in hand…I quickly raced the towels and water to the stage for placement, dropped off the setlists, and then met the arriving band transport literally within seconds so that I could escort them and their handler back to the dressing area.

Then…a sprint back to the stage to help with changeover. Because we didn’t get a proper soundcheck, the monitors and stage chalking wasn’t done, so I had to best guess where to tape down the setlists—fortunately Mehtis, our Finnish guitar technician, was there to point me in the right direction to be sure they were exactly where they needed to be. Setlists taped. Beverage and towels…check! Carpet and runners taped down….check! Backdrop centered and raised….check!

I then took my place at the foot of the stage stairs to light the pathway as the “Long Way to the Top” began to play. There was a momentary pucker factor this time around. Just as the band was fired up and about to hit the stage, the Long Way tape cut off. German fans didn’t miss a beat—they kept singing “Long Way” to fill the silence, and before long, the tape rolled again, I could exhale and our boys in black and pink stormed the stage.

THE SHOW
The setlist was exactly the same as Sweden’s from the night before. (Hey, when you have a winner…why change it?) “Stay Hungry” opened up and this crowd was loving it from the first note. German fans, like so many other countries in Europe, take their metal very seriously! I was looking out onto a sea of battle vest clad lads and ladies, leather, demin and spikes as far as the eye could see! There was one woman sporting a pink and black corset with a pink tutu. You know, at any other concert, a pink tutu would NOT be metal, but this is Twisted Sister. Pink and black tutu…METAL!

A quick race back to the dressing rooms to load the band bags and support materials into the transport—I’ve finally got a rhythm to this now, and assuming my transport shows up when I ask (which, of course, in Germany, they were RIGHT ON TIME!) and I can pretty much load everything into the van into the time it takes to play half of Stay Hungry and Shoot ‘Em Down. By the time they blast into “You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll,” I’ve got the van locked and loaded, and I’m back onstage.

The live tempo is always faster than studio tempo, and they barreled through a monster version of “You Can’t Stop….”, Jay Jay playing his solo from the front section of stage that extended out into the audience like an inverted “T.” He came back to swap guitars, and yelled to me, “Got ‘em one more time! That rocked!” Truth. It did.

Dee mentioned that he appreciated all of the fans rocking out, “especially since the weather earlier was pretty fucked up!” The weather was perfectly beautiful now, prompting Dee to look upwards and exclaim, “Mother Nature, you taunting whore! Please don’t shit on me!” For those unfamiliar, Twisted Sister has a terrible record of being a “weather maker.” But believe me, I’m not complaining—we had great, clear skies when Twisted took the stage.

For what may have been the first time played live in Germany, Twisted played the Horrorteria: Captain Howdy followed by Street Justice, back to back. Street Justice was nicely lit with yellow and red lights, giving it that “danger” look—strong work, Johnny from Sweden! (our Euro lighting engineer). Johnny gets a lot of good-natured ribbing from the band, but he really did a fantastic job in Germany—he gave us some really cool strobes on “We’re Not Gonna Take It” that were perfectly synchronized with the guitar rhythm line.

True to European festivals, there were inflatables about. This time, pink inflatable guitars that were flying through the air. Actually, they weren’t flying much. More like pink semi-inflated guitar projectiles that battered the first five rows over and over again. Good times. And of course, we had some serious throwing the horns. Oh, wait. Those are ACTUAL horns. Balingen placed a giant cow skull sculpture in the middle of the merch area….so yeah. Big cow skull horns. Metal! Rock!

Dee ran over stage right and gave the Festival Producer and his young daughter a high five. She looked a little terrified but her Dad was thrilled. Long after the song was over, the band continued to sing. Dee agreed….they needed to sing one more time, with Dee serving as the official “lyrics teleprompter” for the crowd.

He gave respect to the crowd and to this special German Festival—twelve years ago, Twisted Sister headlined “Bang Your Head” and it truly kickstarted Twisted Sister’s reunion tour success in Europe—so the band gave this appreciative crowd their appreciation—thank you Germany for all the support!

Jay Jay spoke to the crowd for a bit—again, mentioning how social media has changed the industry of music as much as downloads has. (this is pretty heady, stuff, by the way.) Years ago, if your band sucked at playing live shows, it could take months to years for the word to get out, as news traveled slow cross countries and oceans. Now, it takes seconds! On the positive side, when a band just tears it up onstage, fans everywhere, across the country, can find out the hottest ticket. By the way, babies…the hottest ticket? Oh yeah, Twisted Sister. C’mon. They are the greatest live heavy metal band playing today. Tweet it out loud, #twistedsister

They must have been tweeting up a storm, because let me tell you, my babies. While Europe had a decent size crowd, it was like the crowd expanded by four for Twisted Sister. I literally could not see where the crowd ended—we learned later that it was a sold out crowd—45,000 fans strong!

I missed a little bit of the next song as I had to do some quick band-related errands to and from the dressing room, but I could hear a rousing “Born To Raise Hell” being played and made it back in time to catch a fantastic Jay Jay solo. Crowd singing. Metalheads surfing. Tutu’s rocking. Good stuff here. Gave me chills.

Dee must have agreed. He let out a rather in tune belch, with the excuse, “Nothing like that German cooking!” Hmmph. Obviously SOMEONE found the schnitzel. As Dee walked out on the catwalk towards the audience, an object sailed past him. [Sidenote: we really discourage fans from throwing anything at Dee or the band because with those bright lights, they cannot seeing anything coming at them!] In this case, the object in question safely landed a few feet away. Dee stopped and asked, “Whoa. Dude. Were those your PANTS?”

He then went over and picked up the object—my babies, it was something just beautiful to behold. It was the most INCREDIBLE Twisted Sister battle vest I have ever laid eyes upon. A leather vest, covered in metal studs and spikes, his name spelled out in studs “S.M.F.” and forgive me, I forget the first name…and the entire vest was embroidered and screened TS patches, many of which I have never, ever seen before. Absolutely amazing.

Dee stopped to admire it—he held it up to the crowd—and said, “Wow. This looks good. You might not get it back!” He then, of course, tried to get the crowd to point out the original owner so that he could hand it back to him via security guards. To my surprise (and Dee’s), they couldn’t seem to locate the owner! I mean, he tried. He really tried. And when no owner came forward, Dee put the vest on (it fit great! A little snug…) and he performed half of the next song while wearing it…the thunderous “The Fire Still Burns.” A.J. really bringing his A-game—just a ripping drum line, and great guitar work by Eddie, Jay Jay and Mark. Another props to the lighting—red and yellow “fiery” lights that were well synchronized with the guitars really added something to it. I don’t know what happened to the battle vest, by the way—I truly do hope it found its way home to the rightful owner. (and it’s now infused with Dee sweat, which makes it even better)

“The Price” is always an emotional moment for every S.M.F. It’s a song that means so much to many of us, and each of us brings to it our own personal meaning, and we basically have our own little private moment—sometimes, it feels like it’s just you and the band, sharing a special memory. In this case, there were 45,000 private shared moments, but regardless, the audience filled with lights, lighters and such, and swayed to “The Price.” An absolutely cosmic serenade—Carl Sagan would have been proud. It looked like billions and billions of stars out there.

The true stars, of course, were onstage. They tore through “Burn In Hell,” which….well…..hate to say this, but I missed most of that too. Crapola for me. You know, you’d be amazed how much running goes on behind the scenes. 8 Miles of running to be specific. My trusty pedometer clocked more than 16,000 steps at the Germany show. Anyhow, I was able to catch A.J.s fantastic drum solo. Interestingly little Twisted tidbit for those of you who appreciate drummers: many drummers rehearse their drum solos, and what you often hear is a planned, carefully rehearsed solo. A.J. does not. He improvises and makes up each and every drum solo, catering it to the energy of the crowd and show, and truly, this is a testament to the tremendous talent that he possesses. Each of his drum solos are different, and they are all brimming with spirit and heart. So next time, take a good listen to A.J.’s drum solo—and let yourself feel it! He had his laser sticks which bounced a beam off a disco ball that was hung stage left. And, no. I have NO IDEA what the hell a disco ball was doing at Bang Your Head. Kinda glad Dee didn’t see that! Nice lighting again on the solo—first bathed in pink light, then green, then blue—A.J. asking the crowd at one point to “give him some!” The crowd responded with an enthusiastic cheer, and he treated them to a perfect toss n’ catch finale.

Dee spoke to the crowd a bit more—he explained to them the strange festival Twisted played in Sweden less than 24 hours ago, giving us some classic Deeisms:
“We played after Katie and her Doggy!....that’s not metal….that’s CHILDCARE!” But he say that it rocked in Sweden, and he was happy that they set the bar high, but it was time now for Bang Your Head in Balingen Germany to “Show up Katie and her doggie!” What else? A rousing and ear-splitting rendition of “I Wanna Rock!”

At one point, Dee had the rest of the band join him on the catwalk, front of stage, to sing the refrain, motioning to the drum riser, “A.J….bring your drums over here…” It was a pretty tight fit on that catwalk…and the guys in TS are NOT slight-of-stature fellows, with Dee commenting, “Okay…nobody push anyone off…we might break a hip…” They proceeded to bring the house down—45,000 fans, 9 crew and 5 band members all screaming “ROCK!” It was poetry, I tell ya, fucking poetic.

We had the same two encores—“Come Out and Play”—complete with creepy COAP-inspired green lighting—Jay Jay played a fantastically fast solo, front of stage—hope someone got some good photos of that—and Mark just plain killed it on “S.M.F.” Perfect show closer that leaves the fans panting (not unlike Katie’s Doggy), sweating, and wanting more! They left the stage, the fans still chanting “TWISTED! TWISTED! TWISTED!” Another fantastic show to a sold out festival audience. That’s how it’s done, ladies and gentlemen. Special little Armadillo shout out to SMF J.P. and to Cat from the band Vain. And a 'so sorry' to the nice German chap who wanted so badly to watch from the stage--I looked for you many times. Next time--I'll specify stage RIGHT or stage LEFT. sorry mate.)

And so….we packed up the guitars and gear, as we have so many times. The transport arrived, and we loaded it in, beyond weary at this point. Most of the crew fell asleep as soon as the door closed on the vans. We arrived at the hotel close to 2:30 a.m. I think it was—we dragged ourselves up to the room—I was so tired, I couldn’t actually figure out how to turn the shower on, so that was my clue to just sleep. Which I did. Except that I had to get up at 5:30 a.m. to run a quick 6:00 a.m. errand for Dee. I grabbed breakfast at the hotel—I don’t recall actually eating it but the plate was empty when I left—and then assisted our faithful Tour Manager, Danny Stanton, as we got the rest of the crew over to the airport and checked the gear on to the flight.

I felt bruised, battered, weary and still slightly disoriented from lack of sleep—but my babies, I could not have been happier. I said goodbye to my Twisted family—band and crew at the airport in New York, and had a feeling of satisfaction that I did my part in serving the Twisted mission: delivering the best fucking live heavy metal show on the planet.

It took my body a full week to recover from the shock of this past run. My feet healed in a few days, and I was so exhausted mentally and physically, that my apologies, my babies, but a Road Reporter first—not only did it take me over a week to do this report, but for the first time, I missed going to a show. Dee’s solo concert in Pennsylvania was a few days after we returned home, and I just could not physically make the drive.

But fear not! I rested up that weekend and soon, you will have all the details of the very special Twisted Takes Manhattan, Fox & Friends morning concert on July 25th!

Until then, auf weidersehen, babies!

This is Armadillo….trotting off…to enjoy the simple pleasures of clean socks, hot showers and comfy pillows!




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SETLIST Bang Your Head: Balingen, Germany 12-July, 2014 
Sunday, July 20, 2014, 07:19 PM
Posted by Administrator
Same setlist as Sweden, but for the record....
Bang Your Head Balingen Germany, 12-July, 2014
1. Stay Hungry
2. Shoot 'Em Down
3. You Can't Stop Rock n' Roll
4. Captain Howdy
5. Street Justice
6. We're Not Gonna Take It
7. The Kids Are Back
8. I Believe In Rock n' Roll
9. Born To Raise Hell
10. The Fire Still Burns
11. The Price
12. Burn In Hell
Drum Solo
13. I Wanna Rock
Encores
14. Come Out and Play
15. S.M.F.
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Official Road Report Sommarfest, Svedala Sweden 11-July, 2014 
Sunday, July 20, 2014, 06:40 PM
Posted by Administrator
Spoiler alert: If you’re one of those who prefers the cliff notes to the bound edition, here ya’ go: Sweden was absolutely mind-blowing! The quality that only comes from a show in Scandanavia—we’re talking boss sound and enough pyro to blow up a small city—everything about this show was flawless. A perfect show through and through. Twisted Sister: Kings of Sweden rock festivals!

Alright then. For the rest of you who want to suffer along with me….here is the full, unadulterated version of the only tour blog brave enough to bring you the inside scoop: without further ado (and late datelines), I hereby bring you the latest edition of the Armadillo Road Report: Sommarfest in Svedela, Sweden, 11-July, 2014. Sorry it's so damn late…I needed a lot of recovery time because these shows kicked my ass!

THE PRE-SHOW
My dear babies, when I last left you, I was leaving Barcelona, bound for Copenhagen for a day of glorious shut-eye. Also known as rest. Slumber. Sleep. Sawing wood. Zzzzzzzzzz. The amazing part of doing so many shows so close together is that not only does one lose all track of date and time, but honestly, after a few days—it’s impossible to put anything into chronological order. So I can honestly say that I have no idea whatsoever what time we left for Copenhagen out of Spain.

I do vaguely recall some hallucination in which I went to a biker festival in Barcelona with some of the band and crew—a nice band/crew dinner with the festival folks at the Hard Rock in Barcelona, and then the last memory I have was having a non-alcoholic brew at a very red-lit bar that had the uncanny smell of a sewer drain followed by a bleary-eyed trip back on the last metro out of town, and somehow, I landed in a hotel room only to awake a few short hours later, grab a much needed shower and head to the airport.

Copenhagen was a delightful change from what we had been through in Spain. The airport was open and airy—and while bustling—it had a sense of security, freshness and happiness. Relatives waited near the arrival gate waiving Danish and Swedish flags, and unlike our previous experience, a representative from Sommerfest was not only on time, he was easily identifiable and came bearing the most beautiful thing I’ve seen: an electric pallet jack with luggage trolley. This delightful young man not only volunteered for the festival, but he also worked for the airport, which meant he had access to the baggage areas and all the material handling equipment. Why beautiful, you ask? Because within minutes, all of our baggage, guitars and road cases were not only loaded on this wonderful contraption, but he “drove” it across the street, into the Copenhagen airport hotel where we all had rooms for the night. The band and crew don’t always stay at the same accommodations—and staying at the airport was a first for us. Not only were we by the airport—but we weren’t even staying in the country where the band would be playing!

Skeptical at first, I was immediately won over by the convenience. Each time another member of the crew or band arrived, I merely had to stroll across the street, grab a baggage trolley, and within minutes, I was walking them back across to their room. (This was significantly more enjoyable than spending hours camped out at the airport waiting for arrivals, hunting down their gear and transports, and then heading back for hours more!) The Copenhagen airport was quiet, clean and relaxing, and I suspect that before I had finished my first trip back to the arrival gates, most of the crew was asleep in their beds. The only negative I could think of was the lack of dining options nearby. I rarely visit the golden arches in the United States, so I wasn’t thrilled about such culinary horrors, however the absolutely beautiful young cashier with her two blonde braids made up for the $12 barely edible salad. (Social butterfly as I may be, I get terribly shy around beautiful women.)

Finally, with 4/5 of the band arrived (Jay Jay was still on holiday in Spain) and now a truly full ensemble of crew, we rested, ate, showered and had merriment. Within 24 hours, the residual crankiness of the previous gig was a distant memory, and clearly everyone felt physically and mentally better. The surgical skin I purchased at the Apotek/Pharmacia in Barcelona really did the trick—I felt like I was walking on my own two feet again, instead of a pair of bloody stumps. Normally, I love to go into town but even I decided to simply sink back into a lounge chair, enjoy a cold beverage and enjoy the absence of amplifier ringing. Domestic gnome that I am, I did some more hotel sink laundry and then joined some of the band and crew who opted to venture into Copenhagen proper for a dinner stroll—after which we headed back to the hotel where the crew was properly informed that this was possibly our last opportunity to sleep and shower for about 3 days.

Our marching orders were as follows: pack our bags tonight, shower, and be downstairs for an early breakfast and lobby call. [“Lobby Call” for my newer readers, is when the road crew reports to the hotel lobby to load the equipment into the cargo vans and then board a transport to the show/airport. There is no such thing as being late for lobby call. “Late” means you missed the transport and you’re on your own. So…. Lateness is never an option. A 6:00 A.M. lobby call means my skinny butt is downstairs by 5:30 A.M. and all hands need to be on the guitar cases no later than 5:45 A.M.] I’m sure some opted for the extra 30 minutes of sleep in lieu of a shower, but I’m big on hygiene, so packed my bags and hit the pillow for six long uninterrupted hours and then took a long, hot shower.

Our transports were right on time, and we did the dance we have done so many times before—load the vans, grab a cup of coffee and pile into the transports. Usually these rides are jovial and animated, but clearly not everyone was as caffeinated as I, and the sounds of snoring filled our bus. We drove across the world’s longest bridge, over the border into Sweden, and I instantly felt a wave of contentment. There are not enough ways to say it: I LOVE SWEDEN. Unlike the humidity and dreary drizzle we left behind, Svedala was warm, sunny and had a refreshing breeze.

The grounds of the Sommerfest were small by comparison to many of the other European shows, but the main stage was a decent size and to my delight, the dressing rooms, catering and hospitality were housed inside an adjacent school. I happily overlooked the fact that I would be climbing the 2 flights of stairs at least 20-30 times because the accommodations were climate controlled, light-filled, clean, quiet and beautifully arranged. Festival posters covered the walls and hallway windows to give the band maximum privacy, an exercise mat for the Snide One—three well-stocked fridges with water, sports drinks and soda—and for the crew….candy. Lots and lots of candy. Including one that looked exactly like a cat turd. Not sure what that was all about but it’s Sweden, so I even ate the cat turd candy. (boy, I really HOPE it was candy. I didn’t see any cats around.) Even the Twisted toilets were decadent. The catering hall was tastefully decorated with red, pink and white tablecloths—and hosted an attentive staff that fed us a delicious lunch fit for kings. Oh, Sweden, how I love thee.

Unlike the chaos we’ve seen at other festivals over the past decade (not naming names here), the crew at Sweden was the epitome of order. Hundreds of cheerful staff, all easily labeled and identified via color-coded tee-shirt—it was an OCD dream come true. I took a stroll around the grounds and spied the third stage sporting the logo of the local charity for which the festival was supporting: FUCK CANCER, the logo, of course, being the middle finger salute. That’s right. FUCK CANCER! It’s okay, you can say it with me: FUCK CANCER! I’ve lost enough beautiful friends and family to this horrible disease, I gladly saluted my own finger in the air—I hope they raise a ton of money.

Across from the hospitality building was a stage covered by a half-dome, leading out to a large field and a beer garden full of picnic tables. It fed into a stretch of port-a-potties and then led the crowd into another open field where the main stage was located. Onstage was the largest assortment of recycling bins I’ve ever seen: Plastic, Paper, Metal Cans, Batteries, Miscellaneous Junk/Drummer Vomit…..wait. Really? They recycle drummer vomit? Remind me NOT to buy any recycled clothing in Sweden. To the flank and rear, the aforementioned FUCK CANCER tent and don’t ask me why, but there was an inflatable bouncy house back there too. I took a gander at the day’s lineup: I didn’t know a single band: let’s see…we had…”Bad Barber”….hmmm…if that’s a hair metal band….well, insert your own joke here….the DiamantOrkestern which, in my best guess, meant “Diamond Orchestra”…and then…there was Vici och Doggy. Ummm. What? Doggy? Did I miss a dog act? Now I was getting nervous—this did not look like a metal crowd—how were they going to react to Twisted Sister?

THE SHOW
By 9:00 P.M. the place was absolutely packed solid. The sun barely starting to set, we did our preparations to move everything into place. The Swedish crew, moving like a precision team, ensured earlier that we had plenty of time for a proper sound check (and, OH, did it sound good!) and more than an hour for the changeover of sets, allowing your faithful road crew to ensure that everything was in it’s place. There was even a special meet and greet for a local family who donated to the Twisted Sister film and won a photo shoot, one-on-one time with the entire band and lots of other extras.

The opening riff of “Stay Hungry” began with a boom—no literally. A BOOM. I damn forgot about the pyrotechnics and almost crapped my pants when that thing went off. With the show underway, I quickly hoofed back to the dressing rooms and loaded up the band transport with baggage, water and other necessities. I could hear them playing a perfect rendition of “Shoot ‘em Down” as I hauled everything down the stairs, and made it back to the stage to enjoy a sea of appreciative fans, banging their heads to “You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll” under a spectacular full moon. As Jay Jay ripped off the final chord, he turned to me as he passed his guitar to his technician and said, “Now THAT’S how it’s done!”

Dee stopped at this point to address the crowd, expressing how happy Twisted Sister was to be playing to Sweden on this night—under a beautiful moon—acknowledging that Twisted Sister is “different from the other bands at the festival….but not as pretty….” He also stressed that all five original band members were playing—and one of many Dee-isms of the night—“Nobody died. Yet. So….catch us while you can.”

They launched into Captain Howdy/Street Justice, with Dee sprawled across the monitor wedge like a pinup model. A demented psychopathic pinup model, that is. But the sound was fantastic—perfectly balanced onstage and off—and Eddie delivered one of several incredible solos. A.J.’s drumming during Street Justice was spot on—I don’t know if it was the kit or he was just extra-on his game, but I could really feel the “kick” in the kick drum. Street Justice is about vigilantism, and he really gave the impression of a street fight—it was a pounding, punching sound. Really brought the song to life as did a blisteringly fast solo by Jay Jay. There was just so much energy on stage—all five artists going full throttle—Eddie even leaned in gave a little English on the pick as he tossed it into the crowd.

The familiar cowbell could only mean one song: “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” And the crowd went dead…..Nah, I’m kidding….of course, not. The place went absolutely insane. I couldn’t believe this was the same crowd that had been listening to folk music and Elvis tributes all day. More fantastic solos, thunderous drums and the crowd just loved it. At one point, Eddie played his solo, flanked by Jay Jay and Mark—it was tight, cohesive and flawless. (and damn good photo op!) The crowd sang it loud and proud, prompting a “NICE!” from Dee, followed by, “And LOUD. That was fucking loud!” (true.) Dee took a look out at the crowd, and commented that he was particularly glad to see so many original TS fans out there, but also noticed that many of them brought their children who are “as fucked up as you are!...and my god, GRANDKIDS TOO!” {don’t worry, that’s a compliment.} “So, “Dee continued, “to continue the old school heavy metal education and since we’re next to a school…” The crowd found this particularly amusing—even Dee commented—“Don’t know why that’s funny…but oh well…” “We’re gonna sing it again with the spotlight on you…the audience!” And sing they did, my babies, Sweden loud! Dee finished it with a “Now drop and give me 20!” [You know, every time he says that, I feel the urge to do just that!]

Jay Jay took a photo of the audience (see the Twisted Sister main page) and commented how it can take bands years to finally make it—and Sweden has always been a huge supporter of Twisted Sister—he gave one of his now famous American Idol rants. I’m not sure if young fans truly understand the many years and thousands of shows that Twisted Sister (and other bands of their generation) played in small clubs in order to build a following of loyal fans before getting a record deal. It exposes these hideous American Idol and The Voice contests as the vapid, bubble-gum pre-packaged industry made-for-television nonsense that they are. 15 Weeks doesn’t make loyal fans…20…30….40 years of playing—that’s what makes fans loyal. Jay Jay encouraged fans to tweet out #TSLive #twistedsister and threw in a few special hashtags for the American Idol contestants #successfulfor15weeks and #I’llbeworkinginMcDonaldswhenthisisover

More music? Hell, yeah we had more music. The band rolled into “The Kids Are Back” and Dee Snider was about to be back, and prepared to slide into his front stage dive where he sings the verse while lying on his back, head hanging backwards over the edge of the stage…. But as he ran past his cue, he realized that he forgot to take the mic out of its stand. The look on his face was priceless! Can’t blame this one on the crew….Dee gave a sheepish smile, sort of a, “whoops! My bad!” and without missing a single beat, he quickly snatched the microphone and delivered the lyrics right on the mark.

“The Kids Are Back” launched directly into “I Believe in Rock n’ Roll.” Animal delivered an incredible bass line that I could feel right down to the core. When the song ended, Dee announced, “Welcome to the Church of Twisted Sister! We only worship one thing…Rock and Fucking Roll!” A slight pause….and then the Dee-ism, “And tonight, your kids will learn to curse in English, too!” Dee merely had to point at the crowd, who screamed the refrain, “I Believe in Rock n’ Roll!” Dee stopped to appreciate this, “That’s a fucking beautiful thing.” What? It was. It was beautiful. Just fucking beautiful.

But Dee, never satisfied, observed, that there were some in the crowd who were not singing along. He pointed them out, “If you don’t believe in rock and roll, you’re in the wrong place. I’m sure there’s some place with an accordion playing……GO THERE. This place is for rockers!” Continuing in the tradition they’ve had this summer, they played a rousing rendition of Motorhead’s “Born To Raise Hell” in honor of Lemmy—if that doesn’t get Lemmy back up on his feet, I don’t know what will! Eddie and Jay Jay delivered some outstanding guitar work and Dee gave us the best Dee-ism of the night, in reference to the way the lighting technician had the yellow/orange spotlights on the crowd; “Turn the lights off these people….they aren’t french fries!”

Next on the docket was “The Fire Still Burns.” And we had fire. LOTS of fire. Lots and lots of fire. You know how I always say that Twisted Sister doesn’t need fancy pyro to put on a good show? Well, they don’t. But hot damn if fire doesn’t make a good show great. FIRE…. GOOOOOOOD. Each time Dee and the boys sang the word “Fire!” we had a wall of flames shoot up from the front. Our own Johnny the Swedish Lighting Technician really outdid himself on this one too—the audience was bathed in red, orange and yellow lights, fluctuating and strobing—giving the effect of flames out into the audience. Very nice touch.

It was also a treat to hear “The Price”—a song that had been unfortunately cut from the setlist in Spain but here, delivered sweet and slow, the fans donning lighters, cell phone lights, and cell phone lighter apps. A thousand points of light, swaying to The Price under a dark blue sky, filled with stars and a full moon. Absolute metal magic, I tell you.

But the pace picked back up—and they barreled into “Burn in Hell”—with A.J. delivering a drum solo that was harder, louder and faster than I’ve heard him play in a while. More amazingly, was that he never missed a single beat as he puked into the “Drummer’s Vomit” recycling bin. [Apparently, he gave himself some nasal spray to clear the passages before playing, and the post-nasal drip started going down his throat] Local stagehands asked me: “Does he always vomit when he plays?” I responded “No, but he’s playing so exceptional tonight….maybe he should!” Hey, at least he used the proper receptacle. “Burn In Hell” ended with a sonic boom of pyro that nearly caused me to empty my bowels. I’m serious…when you’re standing up there and those cannons go off when you aren’t expecting it—you’d better clench it up!

Before the next song, Dee admitted to the audience what I had been wondering myself. He said, “I gotta be honest….when I saw the opener was Katie and her Dog—and then saw some guy in a plaid jacket…..I thought, ‘oh dude, this is gonna suck…’ Nothing against the other bands….” But then as Twisted Sister started playing, and he saw and heard the audience reaction, he said, “This doesn’t suck….THIS IS AMAZING!” And with that, he delivered a perfect “I Wanna Rock!” that had the entire place on their feet, fists in the air, screaming every word.

We had a brief pause for band introductions and even a rousing “Happy Birthday” sung to Animal, who had a birthday on July 13th. He celebrated by chasing and attempting to bite one of the road crew. There were two wonderful encores—“Come Out and Play,” which personally, I think would make a great OPENER, but I’m just the blogger, so hey, encore it is. They finished up with S.M.F. as I prepared the transport to roll out. I snapped a quick photo as a giant flaming TS logo was raised up above the drum riser, with the band in the front of stage, taking their bows.

As I safely loaded our bad boys of rock and roll into their transport and helped A.J. back to the dressing room, we were treated to a fireworks display. A.J. and I stood on the hill by the dressing room, watching the colorful explosions—we missed out on July 4th fireworks since we were stuck in the Newark Airport due to the storms—so this display was extra sweet.

Now after midnight, we packed up the equipment, put away the guitars and loaded up the transports just after 1:00 a.m. to head back to the Copenhagen hotel. We arrived at the hotel just after 2:00 a.m.—lobby call was just 90 minutes away. So I opted for a shower, laid out a pair of fresh unmentionables—and set my alarm clock for 1 hour.

The Sweden show was one of those shows that just left you feeling good inside. The lighting, sound, monitors, guitars, drums, vocal, audience—everything was just perfect! As a crew, it felt like we finally found our “battle rhythm”—a term used by the military and in government work to mean, that you’ve achieved a daily routine in which all tactical operations are smoothly synchronized and all “actors” are performing at the peak of efficiency.

We needed this. Thank you, Sweden. Tack tack!

With that, my babies, to be continued….as we headed directly to the airport for the flight to Germany….and then directly to the stage for the next show…On to Bang Your Head!

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Home at last! 
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 09:45 AM
Posted by Administrator
Road Reports coming very soon for Sweden and Germany--took me a few days to recover--that was some awesome, kick ass hard rocking!

stay tuned babies...
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