Alcatraz Festival, Kortruk, Belgium 9-August, 2014 
Friday, August 15, 2014, 10:40 PM
Posted by Administrator
Belgium, babies. Hard to believe but it was just a few hours before that the band, road crew and your faithful road reporter left the stage in the Faroe Islands, packed our gear just two hours later, and found ourselves in the airport on our way to Brussels.

I’ve covered Twisted shows in Belgium twice before as Graspop, but this was my first time at the Alcatraz Festival in Kortruk, Belgium. In spite of some last minute technical difficulties, Twisted Sister delivered an incredible performance that delighted the fans, and gave even the road crew some special surprises!

Let’s begin.

THE PRE-SHOW
We began with an early load-in at the festival site—I first thought we were in the wrong place—we turned into a large industrial park, next to a school complex, but the large scaffolding of a stage and the tents in the distance told me this was the place. A very kind and friendly (but clearly tired) local road crew greeted us, wearing tee shirts that read: “49% badass. 51% insane. 100% dedicated.” Outstanding. I think my personal ratio is closer to 25/75/100 but that’s alright. What’s a little insanity between friends.

It had poured the night before, so the first order of business was to squeegee all of the water off of the stage, as well as sweep the mounds of debris left from the previous acts. Then time to chalk the stage and set all of the marks for the Twisted Sister set before doors open.

Instead of sitting back and grabbing a few precious and much needed hours of sleep, the Twisted road crew instead jumped in early to help out the first act of the day, Four By Fate (F X F). Four-by-Fate consists of Tod Howarth (Frehley’s Comet/Cheap Trick/Ted Nugent), John Regan (Frehley’s Comet/Peter Frampton/John Waite & many other big names!), Sean Kelly (Nelly Furtado/Crash Kelly) and Stet Howland (W.A.S.P.). Truly a nice bunch of guys, very laid back and they made the trek across the pond to open up the Alcatraz Festival.

Do you know how you can tell a good band? When you start with an empty grassy field….play one minute into your opening song….and see fans come literally running to the front of the stage. Within minutes, a very nice throng of fans filled the area in front to hear this hard-rocking quartet blow them away first thing in the morning.

We had a little bit of everything….W.A.S.P….Cheap Trick…Frehley’s Comet…even some Beatles! And you know what? This crowd was really digging it! I counted at least 30 rows of bobbin’ heads…ya know, rocking out. They even had a little pyro, and a drum solo in which the drummer plays BARE HANDED—no sticks! He also does a pretty nifty trick with empty beer bottles, but one of the crew who shall remain nameless (NOT ME!) removed the bottles from the riser, thinking they were trash. Alas. Cleanliness 1. Drum Solo. 0.
Anyhow, I strongly recommend if you’re lucky enough to have these guys play a gig near you to check them out. Good, solid rock n’ roll!

I ventured into the crowd briefly to chat with Slamboard S.M.F.s Funtazia Dave and S.M.F. Kristhof Two good chaps who made the trek—happy to see familiar faces in the crowd! On my way back, I passed one fan dressed in a panda suit and two dressed in full power rangers body suits. Gotta love Europe. Spent some down time backstage watching photographer Tim Tronckoe work—be sure to check out his handiwork on facebook and his website: http://timtronckoe.com Armadillo shout out to Lexje and Vero who were a pleasure to hang out and dine with pre-show.

THE SHOW
Let me just say this. In my very limited experience thus far, many times when technical difficulties arise, they occur because of local equipment failures or local crew issues. The Twisted crew worked mercilessly to get this show rolling on time, and while I won’t go into the causes (way over my technical head!) I can tell you that the sound engineer & production manager George earned his wings in Belgium. I think I lost a few years off my life in stress—and put a few extra miles on the boots that evening—but honestly, it’s all worth it when I hear the opening notes.

I’ll put the setlist up under separate cover—I again must confess to missing the first three songs. The dressing rooms, while a moderate distance away, were located down the stairs and a hallway, but I’ve gotten a good system down now and within three to four trips, I had the van loaded and ready, and had a driver named Uncle Mario, staging at the foot of the stairs.

I rejoined Twisted onstage about halfway into “Captain Howdy,” and was astonished to see the intense and tightly packed crowd that filled the field and stretched all the way back. The onstage sound was quite good, and judging from what I heard off-stage, the sound in the crowd areas was nicely balanced as well. By the time “Street Justice” rumbled in (with very nice purple lighting), the crowd was surging, pulsing and moving. Bodies started coming towards the barricade, and it seemed like an endless stream of surfing rockers. Eddie and Jay Jay really hit this one out of the park.

“Is it that time already?” Yes, it was. “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, the most opening drummer riff of all time, sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy. Dee hurdled over the monitors like an Olympic athlete-- this crowd never stopped once.
Dee actually admitted, “I’m trying to be all metal…..then you make me so happy…I’m smiling like a dick up here….” Oh, can I relate to that! It’s hard to be metal when you’re filled with elation. What a great crowd, complete with foam finger horns. [where do you guys get this shit?]

Jay Jay spoke briefly to the crowd, explaining that Twisted Sister and the crew had just flown in from the stage at the Faroe Islands and came straight to the stage in Belgium, and that we would then leave the stage tonight and fly directly to the stage in Montreal. He challenged those younger bands to try doing that….and put on the same caliber of show that Twisted Sister does! Note to other bands: don’t try this. You’ll be sorry. Verrrrry sorry. Twisted Sister is known as the best live band for a reason!

After a brief visit to the “Church of Twisted Sister” with “I Believe In Rock n’ Roll”….Dee polled the audience to confirm his suspicions that no one in attendance actually goes to church, but the Church of Twisted Sister requires that everyone rise….and remain standing….and rock hard!

A little addition to the setlist from the previous night—“Under The Blade,” which for some reason, prompted someone in the audience to light a sparkler. I’m not sure if that was metal…or not. It was a little weird, and I think I saw it taken out by a body flying by. We had a lot of bodies flying during this song, and maybe it was my imagination, but A.J. gave us a little more cowbell than usual. You can’t have too much cowbell.

We were supposed to have more pyro during “The Fire Still Burns”—do you know how metal TS is? Yeah, they’re so metal…they used up all the fire!

“The Price” gave us some beautiful pink mood lighting—and the crowd responded with a beautiful sway in unison that was truly a sight to behold. (foam fingers included) and a brought us into a rousing red rendition of “Burn In Hell” complete with monster drum solo by A.J.

Our last song of the nice (before encores) was of course, “I Wanna Rock,” and like every city, the place went absolutely bezerk. Dee fired up the audience further—admonishing them for screaming “rock” like girls, saying, “This is metal…put some grrrrrrrr….into it! RrrrrrrrrrROCK!” Dee then introduced what he called, the band’s new single, “I Wanna FUCK!” The audience happily obliged in singing the refrain, prompting Dee to say, “I’m telling ya, it’s a fuckin’ hit! The whole world will be singing the new single, ‘I Wanna Fuck’” At one point, he had the whole band laughing, as he told Eddie, “turn on the tape recorder, I want a sample…” He then caught himself laughing, saying “Okay…no smiling in metal…”

He stopped to acknowledge an Australian flag in the front—saying, “Is that an Australia flag?’ followed by a barrage of “that’s not a knife and crikey” jokes. Apparently, the road crew weren’t the only ones punchy from lack of sleep! Crikey.
And then, a special treat. As the band members were introduced to the audience, road crew member Rikk, the Twisted Sister Security and Risk Management Specialist , was called out to the stage, where 35,000+ fans sang Happy Birthday to him. Happy Birthday Rikk—he always does a fantastic job keeping the band and crew safe!

But the surprises weren’t over, babies. Twisted Sister brought all of the road crew out on stage to say thank you, and if that wasn’t enough, they invited us to sing an encore of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” onstage with them. That was never on my bucket list, but damn, I’m gonna add it now just to cross it off. What an absolute honor and a thrill.

The closed the show with a rousing version of S.M.F. a metal TS logo raised up behind the drum riser and concluded the show with a hail of explosions, sparks showering down on the stage below as the logo then burst into flames.

An absolutely fantastic show for a wonderful, energetic and appreciative crowd!

But no time, no time, my babies. We loaded out as fast as possible, my pizza in one hand and gear case in the other, and before long, we were en route to the hotel to shower, pack and head directly to the stage in Montreal!

More to come, my babies, more to come….

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SETLIST for Alcatraz, Belgium, 9-August, 2014 
Friday, August 15, 2014, 10:38 PM
Posted by Administrator
Your Alcatraz Festival SETLIST: 9-August, 2014

1. Stay Hungry
2. The Kids Are Back
3. You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
4. Captain Howdy
5. Street Justice
6. We're Not Gonna Take It
7. Shoot 'em Down
8. I Believe in Rock N' Roll
9. Under The Blade
10. The Fire Still Burns
11. The Price
12. Burn In Hell w/drum solo
13. I Wanna Rock
Encore
14. S.M.F.
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WATCH THIS SPACE...Alcatraz Festival in Belgium and Heavy Montreal reviews coming soon! 
Thursday, August 14, 2014, 09:32 PM
Posted by Administrator
Watch this space, babies.... road reports and setlists coming soon from the Alcatraz Festival in Belgium and Heavy Montreal in Canada
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Official KLAKSVIK FAROE ISLAND ROAD REPORT: PART TWO 7-August, 2014 
Thursday, August 14, 2014, 09:18 PM
Posted by Administrator
I'm loopy as hell from no sleep, but one thing is for sure:

Twisted Sister DESTROYED Sommerfest in the Faroe Islands. After this summer, no other band will even come close to delivering what the crowd experienced this past weekend. It was raw energy that set the bar so high, the inhabitants of the Faroe Islands told us they don't know if they will ever see another show come close.
We heard it from every attendee we spoke with--best show ever!

So let's get right to it, shall we? After four incredible days of relaxation, it was now time to rock, which actually proved a little bit challenging at first--the crew was feeling so refreshed for a change, that it was hard to recognize that it was "show day." We took the foggy but beautiful drive into the 2nd biggest town on the island--Klaksvik--and settled into our new digs for the day.

The festival grounds were unlike anything any of us had ever seen. Nestled deep in one of Faroe's lush green valleys, the relatively small stage was still under construction, which gave us time to breathe in the surroundings. We had mountainous views on three sides. The town's businesses were located in the bottom of the valley, homes dotted the winding streets on the sides, and then nothing but sheep everywhere higher. The stage teetered in the edge of a hilly grass knoll, with an enormous Front-of-House booth for the lighting and sound engineers. It had the most bizarre downstage I've ever seen...two huge slick metal ramps that lead to a T platform in front. A second smaller stage was built a short distance away, and concession stands lined the walk. Keeping with the character of the Faroe Islands, our amazing host Simun opened his home to the band to provide a quiet, comfortable place to get ready, with one of the most incredible food spreads I've ever seen.

And for another first--Simun's neighbors gave Dee their house as a private dressing room. Yes. The whole house. What's more amazing is that they had to look for a key--not a spare key, mind you, a key. Living in a place with almost no crime at all, most islanders do not lock their doors. Remarkable. Special thank you to the entire family who opened their home to us--there was something really sweet about a little welcome message written on the entryway chalkboard--as if we were now a part of the family. It was also one of the more challenging security details--on a small island, word gets out fast, and the folks at Faroe are so accustomed to just walking into each other's houses, we were posted outside the house to gently explain to curious neighbors that the band needed privacy--and that meant no one could visit. They were puzzled...but as always, kind, polite and understanding.

The crew settled inside a telecommunications building as a production office while our talented Twisted technicians prepared the guitars and built the drum kit inside the garage of the police station. We enjoyed more Faroe Island hospitality with mounds and mounds of candy--an absolute must for those of us on the crew--and had absolutely LUXURIOUS hours to get the stage prepared. The sound check was very clean sounding--Danny Stanton (The TM) and road crew members Mehtis (From Finland), Duane (NY) joined A.J. on the skins to play a solid "Shoot 'em Down" to an early bird audience who applauded the sound check with gusto....and the rushed over to the crew to get autographs. Oh. And there was a clown in the pit. Yeah. A Clown. Not a guy in a wig...or a guy wearing a nose...it was a dude decked out in full clown makeup....complete with wig, nose, pom pom buttons and big shoes, and he was throwing the horns and moshing around with a group of kids. Okay. I ate a bunch of things I don't normally eat...I went to a 1000 year old house full of ghosts...flew in a chopper but THIS CLOWN is freaking me out, man.

I came inside the secondary staging area to listen to Jay Jay French's interview on a local radio station, talking about Twisted Sister's reunion and the rise to the top. Jay Jay never has a problem finding things to say--he gave a fun interview which was followed by the station's playing of "Leader of the Pack" a song which I mst confess, I have not played since, um, 1986. Rest of Europe ain't got nuthin' on Faroe. Special Road Report shout out to slamboard S.M.F. Patrick from Austria who made the trek to the island--good to see other S.M.F.s willing to seek a little adventure! (and brave the clowns)

This empty grassy field suddenly filled quickly with more than 10,000 people of all ages, and judging by the looks on their faces, this was truly the HAPPIEST crowd I have ever seen. They were loving every single minute, and I saw smiles as far as the eyes could see. "Stay Hungry" and "Kids Are Back" opened us up, and gave me a little background music as I loaded up the transport. It sounded perfectly balanced, loud as hell and 100% pure Twisted. Even the sheep were singing..."The Kids are Baaaaaa-aaaaaaack!" (oh please, like you weren't expecting sheep references)

"You Can't Stop Rock n' Roll" was a solid performance--some absolutely great guitar playing happening tonight--maybe it was the sushi...or the Black Sheep Ale....or the jumping salmon....or four days of rest...OR...maybe it's because no one can play live the way Twisted Sister can. This was rock and roll all the way, babies.

Here is what amazed me the most at this show--it is safe to say that a pretty large number of those in attendance had never heard of Twisted Sister prior to the festival. Many who had, did not know Twisted Sister beyond radio hits. But regardless, they were cheering, screaming and rocking out to every single song from the opening note. The crowd was absolutely electric, and now I can see why the locals told us that this concert was the most important day of the summer.
The islands experience a long, cold, dark and stormy winter--this concert will get the town through it all--they knew TS was giving it all they had, and the crowd gave it right back. Pure energy.

I knew that "We're Not Gonna Take It" was gonna set the place on fire. It was an absolute spectacle. Everybody was singing. And I do mean everybody, I spied the crowd singing all the way in the back, on the hills...local sittng on their roof tops were throwing the horns....and the sheep. They were throwing the hooves. Dee was clearly enjoying himself as well--he thanked the original fans in the audience--hear that? We're not old...we're original...and told the parents of all the small children in attendance that they were raising their kids right!

The next three songs were strong and well-played, with a rendition of "The Price" that this crowd will never forget. "Burn in Hell" then began with a hazer filling the stage with fog--wait, really? We've had crazy fog for 5 days...did we really need a machine? The stage lit with green light...wait a minute...green? Well, it IS the Faroe Islands. Everything here is green. Oh wait, there we go. Creepy red lights. Much better. A.J. delivered a drum solo that literally echoed off the mountains--the sound was truly THUNDEROUS, THe Sound of Thunder did not let us down--absolutely incredible.

We had another Dee-ism-- Dee acknowledged all of the fans, including those standing all the way in the back. "It's easy to rock in the front...it's hard to rock out in the back by the toilets going...'hey, it smells like shit here...' " He also complimented the crowd on their enthusiasm. "Sometimes we do the show where we have to show the audience what to do...and then coax them into having a good time. BUT NOT TONIGHT!" This audience needed no coaxing or instructions--Faroe Islands, you know how to rock!

It was time for the audience favorite--"I Wanna Rock"--I have never seen a crowd so happy, so excited and so loud. Dee decided that they were ready for the real test--not only were they told to throw their fist in the air, but jump when yelling rock. I felt the earth move beneath me--more than ten thousand fans simultaneously jumping, it made me wonder if the seismic activity across the world was the butterfly effect.

They closed it out with a hard rocking rendition of "It's Only Rock n' Roll" and that crowd was so pumped up, they could have gone all night. And truth be told, there wasn't a lot of night left. We packed up the gear, stopped at Simun's house for another remarkable spread of sushi and other delicacies, and then back to the hotel. It was about 3:00 a.m. I think...and we had lobby call just two hours away.

Five a.m. rolled around and we packed our luggage into the cargo trailer attached to the van. Just five miles or so down the road, our driver pulls over to check the rear doors on the trailer. He re-locks them and is about to pull away when I look in the distance, and comment that the sheep are looking at "something in the road." Danny and Mark go to check it out, and sure enough, three sheep are investigating Mark's luggage, which had fallen into the middle of the road. He told the locals to be on the lookout for any sheep wearing stolen Harley tee shirts. We double backed to the hotel to retrieve Jay Jay's bag, which had also fallen out somewhere along the way. With the gear now fully secured, we made our way to the airport for the next show--the whole time, we just could not stop talking about the experience that was the Faroe Islands.

No time for rest, as we then all boarded the plane together to head to Belgium for the Alcatraz rock festival.

And that, my babies, is how you rock. Thank you to Ronnva, our favorite flight attendant, her hard rocking mother and the countless kind relatives we met. And of course, there are no words to express our appreciation to Simun and Jastrid, for the most incredible hospitality we have ever experienced. Special thanks to all of the relatives we met, and the kind neighbors who opened their homes, factories, cars, fisheries, museums, restaurants and helicopters to us. Faroe Islands, your physical beauty was only outdone by the beauty of the people.

With that, this is Armadillo, trotting off to the zombie walk through another airport....stay tuned, my babies. Belgium is just right around the corner...
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SETLIST for Klaksvik, Faroe Islands 7-August, 2014 
Thursday, August 14, 2014, 08:51 PM
Posted by Administrator
Your official Faroe Island Setlist, 7-August, 2014

1. Stay Hungry
2. The Kids Are Back
3. You Can't Stop Rock n Roll
4. Captain Howdy
5. Street Justice
6. We're Not Gonna Take It
7. I Believe in Rock n' Roll
8. Shoot 'em Down
9. The Price
10. Burn In Hell
11. I Wanna Rock
encore
12. It's Only Rock n Roll

UNOFFICIAL Faroe Island Setlist with a shout out to all our Sheepish friends

1. Staaaaaaaay Hungry
2. The Kids Are Baaaaaaa-aaaaack
3. Ewe Can't Crop Rams n' Wool
4. Captain Husbandry
5. Sheep Justice
6. We're Not Gonna Taaaaake It (grasping at straws here...)
7. I bleet in Rock n' Roll
8. Shorn 'em Down
9. The Fleece
10. Bleet in Hell
11. I Wanna Flock
12. It's Only Flocks to Shoal
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