NYC, The Fillmore/Irving Plaze, 12/21/2007 
Friday, December 21, 2007, 09:56 AM
Posted by Administrator
Howdy Ho Folks!
Or should I say, Ho Ho HO....Folks...
Time once again, for Armadillo's road report of all the details you wanted to know and plenty of details you didn't.

Courtesy of a fellow slamboarder (I won't say who to protect the innocent) I was given a TS pink package for Christmas which allowed me a chance to experience something that I’ve dreamed about for over 25 years--the chance to sit in on the TS sound check. We braved the extreme cold and freezing rain with flurries for that moment to hear what most fans never get to hear from the inside. It was worth every minute of standing in the cold--they played "The Kids Are Back" and "You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll"--an absolute treat and a chance to get an insider's look at this "secret" part of the show. Dee shared how he previously would not permit anyone to wander through the soundcheck—not friends or even other bands, so having a small audience of about 20-30 or so was uncharted waters for the band. One lucky fan was given the chance to play onstage during the sound check—and he sounded like a pro! Well done! I also want to mention here that even though they were on a tight time frame, and they needed to get ready for the show, the band stayed and signed autographs for every single fan there. Now I ask you....What other band would do that for their fans?

I think last year's Christmas Show spoiled me a bit because it was in my home town of Baltimore, at a very nice venue. This year, it was a truly lousy concert site, albeit in the greatest city in the country. But more about that later.
The show definitely made up for the other shortcomings..
Both warm up bands were absolutely great--a real delight. I've posted it here before--Baptised By Fire is the next wave of kick ass rock and rollers. I'm not just saying that as lip service to Jesse Blaze-Snider....the boy CAN rock! I can fully see him in the next generation of hard rocking bad boys of rock n' roll. While he may have a completely singing voice from his father, and his own look and sound, if you close your eyes when he speaks, it's absolutely uncanny how much he sounds like Dee. He really works the crowd--obviously, his father's influence is apparent. He completed his show with Juggernaut (my personal favorite) and the now mandatory Merry Christmas Anyway singalong. Really, if you weren't having fun, then you need to buy tickets to a Celine Dion concert or go somewhere else where the wet blankets go.

Bella Donna (Joey from Anthrax!) played second, and treated us not only to Bella Donna tracks but played some old Anthrax...efilnikcufecin (nice fuckin' life), Indians
and Caught in a Mosh. I hadn't seen Anthrax since 1990, so it was great to hear those tunes live and in such a small venue. Joey was a really nice guy, too--very approachable, kind and spent a lot of time chatting with the fans. A true gentleman.

Once again, the boys proved that even Christmas music can kick ass. I must apologize here--I always write down the set list and this time I was just too excited and forgot to do it. The show opened with Dee arriving as Santa, complete with foil-packaged party favors which later took the form of balloons being tossed amongst the crowd. In addition to the usual anthem crowd favorites ("Can't Stop Rock n' Roll"...."I Wanna Rock"...."We're Not Gonna Take It") we got an unexpected surprise--a cut off of the Love is for Suckers album. Now I know some of you out there are old school purists and didn't like that album, but their live rendition of "Wake Up the Sleeping Giant" absolutely knocked my socks off. And what would the TS christmas show be without snow? Yes, we had a white christmas INSIDE the club once again....complete with Christmas lights on the amps, Candy Cane decked monitors, and a few roadies in elf-ware. SMF Cyndi and I must have been coughing up soap snowflakes for at least an hour afterwards--Oh, it was good clean fun!!

There were acoustic challenges but the boys played beautifully. Mark destroyed his microphone in ways that were almost unnatural. It gives me chills every time he does that—turning that mic stand into a work of modern art! By the way, he had a beautiful new bass with the TS bone logo in chrome. And it sounded as good as it looked—rich, deep bass sound! AJ did another MAMMOTH drum solo following a rousing rendition of "Burn in Hell" (everyone's Christmas favorite)--I'm amazed the Christmas lights managed to stay attached the set.

Jay Jay addressed the crowd as he often does--what stuck with me were his remarks about American Idol. Those kids work for 15 weeks, and poof! They get a record deal and instant fan base. No sweat. No blood. No hundreds (thousands) of gigs in stinky dirty clubs away from their loved ones. No harsh rejection after rejection by record labels executives who won't take a risk because it isn't something mainstream. They win a singing contest, and then thank their "fans" for "sticking by them." Sticking by them? For 15 weeks? How many Clay Aiken fans will be around in 30 years? How many people will remember Taylor Hicks (I had to go on the website to find their names) in 5 years? I've been an SMF for 25 years now...and we've got some old schoolers like DCT, the real Joe Rock and Marty who have been around for even longer. And we'll continue to be SMF's for many years even after TS has ended the tour.

There were fans a plenty...mucho slamboarders and lots of friends and family. I especially love to see the little ones getting educated in the ways of TS. It was a real treat to see the actual "kids" of Twisted Sister who helped hand out treats ahead of the show--although they aren't kids anymore...I should say "young adults". Gawd, I remember when Jesse was only six! And as usual, there just had to be one fool who just didn't know how to show his appreciation to the band. I've seen Dee humiliate unappreciative attendees before, but Friday night was absolutely one of the most brutal and personal offensives yet. It was so rough, I’m not even going to type it here. It would have made a trucker blush. Yes, he deserved it. Folks, if you plan on standing like a bump on a log at a Twisted Sister show, just stay home! That show was sold out, and there were lots of people who would have given their right arm to go.... don't waste a ticket on yourself if you're too cool to rock out. The band gives us 200% of their blood, sweat and energy....we are OBLIGATED to do the same!! I consider every TS show I go to a special privilege--I owe it to the band to give them my fullest energy every single time.

So I must mention again, the lovely Fillmore itself. Dee made his viewpoint pretty clear--the Fillmore is about as conducive to hosting concerts as a cactus is to an armchair. It's small.....with a crappy stage....mediocre at best acoustics....and absolutely FILTHY. (Don't get me started on the bathrooms). The box office told us (the package holders) that the sound check opened at five, and we should be there absolutely no later than five if we wanted to get in. Being the good SMFs we are, we showed up early and proceeded to freeze our asses off for over two hours. There was no special treatment for the package holders, who shelled out hundreds of dollars. I put the blame squarely on the venue--no one minds if the band is running late--but to make us wait outside in the cold after asking us to be there early was just poor. Then, to add insult to injury, they let us in (90 min late) to the sound check, then kicked us BACK out into the cold until doors opened. Why we couldn't wait inside in the downstairs waiting area was beyond me....but it will be a much colder day in hell before I return to the Fillmore. The only positive I can think of was that the staff were very courteous, and they did an excellent job of protecting the crowd.

A wonderful show....a great time had by all....many, many thank you's to Danny Stanton, Dee, Jay Jay, Mark, Eddie, AJ, Joey for your generosity and kindness towards the fans. You really made my Christmas--what a great way to end 2007 and begin 2008.

Peace and many blessings to SMF's worldwide

Trotting off to see what’s left of the fruitcake,
your faithful road reporter…

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Baltimore, Maryland Ramshead Live 12/21/2006 
Thursday, December 21, 2006, 09:54 AM
Posted by Administrator
Well howdy my fine SMF Friends--
Settle in by the fire and get ready for a nice long post....the full story on the Baltimore show last night in graphic detail to give the full flavor for those who couldn't join us. Yes, that can only mean one thing…the Armadillo Road Report!

I moved back home to Baltimore after spending 2 years out west, so this was a homecoming for me as well--it's the first TS show in 20 years where I got to sleep in my own bed after the show. Of course, I didn't get to sleep…. but that's another story...

The Ramshead Tavern is a nice place down at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. Connected to the live stage is a bar and restaurant where they even had Twisted Sister menu specials--"Day of the Rocker" stir fry and "We're Not Gonna Make It" meatloaf. (not sure who makes the meatloaf, but I certainly didn't stay hungry.... (OOOOoooo, sorry. no more TS puns. I promise. For now.) The acoustics were surprisingly good which isn’t always the case for a venue this size. (Some lead microphone issues for all 3 bands but they did resolve it finally) It’s a small to medium size club and the staff were friendly. Special props go out to the security folks who seated the several fans with disabilities a good 30 minutes early to give them the choice spots.
Firstly, let me just say that I was one of those who was nervous about the TS Christmas Album--I had faith it would rock, but I was scared it would be the Twisted Sister "Jump The Shark". How delightfully wrong I was! Not only does the Christmas Album rock, but it has generated MORE interest and buzz about TS than ever before. (thanks to Jay Leno and VH1 too!) I was truly shocked that a majority of the fans in the audience were younger than the TS tour shirt on my back--warms the heart, it does. And for I'd say more than half of that audience, this was their first TS show ever.

So you knew that this show was many times will you see a TS Christmas show, after all? The stage was complete with amps and drums decked out with Christmas lights, fake snow on the drum riser, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus dolls flanking it. The road crew were decked in full elf attire (it was somehow quite disturbing—roadies in tights.) and our own Joe Rock played "Santa's Little Helper" and distributed flashing Christmas LED pins and rings to the fans. Two very sexy scantily clad Santa's helpers tossed TS promo photos and other goodies out to the crowd (and flashed some thong & butt floss on their way out. Merry Christmas, gents!)

There were two opening acts: one local group called "Scarlet Angel/Kim's Krypt" we're not sure which....they had both banners on-stage--maybe they need to take a vote. Overall, a very, very good band--much better than anyone expected. They too jumped into the Christmas spirit with a rendition of "O Holy Night" Not very often we see a heavy metal band with 3 out of 4 band members women--go girls go! The second opening act was fronted by none other than Mr. Jesse Blaze Snider and his band "Baptized By Fire." Let me tell you folks--WATCH AND SUPPORT THIS BAND! Jesse is off to an incredible start--he doesn't sing like Dee—his voice is much more of a throaty vocal--closer to Sebastian Bach than Dee--but good range and lots of talent. I think he'll grow into one helluva band--he has excellent stage presence and knows how to work a crowd. (he learned from the best, eh?) When he speaks....we closed our eyes and were shocked that he sounds EXACTLY like dear ol' dad. UNCANNY. And judging from the reaction from the girls around me when he removed his shirt, he'll be popular with the ladies. (Quite a handsome fellow if I do say so myself) How can you not like a song called "Fuck You!"??? Jesse was also in the Christmas spirit...he sang a song called "Merry Christmas Anyway" whose refrain went something like "I’m gonna punch you in the face....Kick your ass all over the place....Just one thing left to say...Merry Christmas anyway" Like father, like son. It was a blast!

Now...on to Twisted! There were Christmas canes, snowflake bells and bows on the amps, and even Eddie donned a new guitar: a white/red candy cane striped target guitar. The show began like every other: Long Way to the Top, but it suddenly "changed" radio stations on the dial, and suddenly we had "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" (I can't recall...I think it was Anne Murray or some other) After the crowd had suffered enough, the vinyl was scratched and TS bounded onstage blasting: "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" Dee took the staged fully dressed as Santa, and hurled condoms out to the naughty and nice. (This was not a PG event!) The boys played a rousing rendition of "I Saw Mommy Blowing Santa Claus" that not even Dee could keep a straight face while singing it.

There were more wonderful surprises: we were treated to a blinding snowstorm inside the club during "White Christmas". We're still not sure what it was made of (I believe it was some suspension of soap suds) and we ingested enough from laughing to clean our colons out. This was one fun show....the band seemed to have a good time, the fans had a good was just one treat after the next. AJ played a great set despite being sick as a dog (and dislocating his thumb the previous show) What a professional through and through. Jay Jay and Eddie were just fucking fantastic....even though Dee seemed to forget that there is a really nice guitar solo during Stay Hungry and launched into the next verse. The "Heavy Metal Christmas Song" was an audience sing-a-long complete with cue cards. (though that didn't help Jay Jay much who was having so much fun he forgot which verse he was on.....don't worry, Jay Jay, after "5 Skull Earrings" I fucked up the rest too!) Mark played a bass solo during Silver Bells that knocked my socks off. was EXTRAORDINARY. I'm not sure words can describe shakes you to the core.

Here's the setlist for you TS junkies:
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Shoot 'em Down
Stay Hungry
I Saw Mommy [Blowing] Santa Claus
The Fire Still Burns
Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
White Christmas (complete with snowstorm!)
The Price
Oh Come O' Ye Faithful (ended with "heavy metal Hava Negilah" for our Jewish SMFs.)
Under the Blade
I'll be Home for Christmas (Dedicated to our military men and women overseas--and we were treated to an Eddie Ojeda vocal solo....more! more!)
Burn in Hell
AJ's killer drum solo
Silver Bells (with Mark's amazing Bass solo)
I Wanna Rock
Heavy Metal Christmas
We're Not Gonna Take It

There was one poignant moment when Dee confronted a front row attendee (this was not a fan, folks) who stood with his fist up his ass most of the show, and did not even applaud when Dee introduced the band. And I've never seen this before....Mark came over too and said "Clap!" (there may have been voiced a few choice descriptive words too) and he finally did clap. I also suspect he soiled his trousers. I don't care who you are, but if Mark the Animal Mendoza tells you to stand on your head and whistle better frickin' do it! Preaching to the choir here, but if you aren't willing to give this band 200% of your energy, then don't stand up front....hell, stay home if you're so cool that you can't applaud this band that just played their hearts out and are giving this gift to the fans.

By the way, part of the show proceeds go to "Cure Autism"--Baltimore is home to the Kennedy Kreiger Institute--world renown for helping Autistic children and kids with severe brain trauma and other cognitive disorders. [my brother’s son has a form of Autism, so this hit close to the heart] Thanks boys--this is a very important cause and the money you raised will really help a lot of families with this difficult and often misunderstood disease.

Last but not least, kudos to Jay Jay for stopping and chatting with the Slamboard folks--I always enjoy hearing Jay Jay's views on things and he is so patient and generous signing autographs for fans. Jay Jay--you are the best! Always a joy to see Marty, Donna da Mayor and all of the slamboard bunch. SMFCyndi: I ate a post-show sundae in your honor.

Many thanks to Twisted Sister and Danny Stanton (for bringing them to Baltimore! Please oh please come back again!) you gave me the best Christmas present ever! It was EXACTLY what I wished for and much, much more!!!! Please SMFs--go see them live if you haven't yet--Southwest flights are priced low and you won't ever regret it!!!!
Merry Christmas babies--have a healthy and blessed year to everyone!

Terry a.k.a. The Armadillo...trotting off.... to see what Santa left under the tree for me…..

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Silverton Casino, Las Vegas April 2006 
Friday, April 14, 2006, 09:50 AM
Posted by Administrator
Ladies & Gentlemen,
It’s time once again for the Armadillo Road Report, the Official UNOfficial Twisted Sister concert review containing all the details you wanted to know….and plenty ya don’t!
Well okay folks--
I've slept off most of the day and it's time for the first of what I'm sure will be many unofficial TS Vegas reviews. I will spare you the details of the adventures getting to the show—let’s just say that the next time I go to Vegas, I'm bringing a map, a compass and a GPS. And if I ever have to follow Joe Rock to a show, I'm putting on the hazard lights and tying a tow rope to his back fender. It seems a good portion of our trip consisting of trying to get to the Silverton after losing Joe Rock in rush hour traffic. Not his fault--Vegas traffic is a nightmare.

First things first--It was a true delight to meet many of the slamboarders, including our own Webbie--what a standup guy! He is the spirit of Twisted Sister, photographer extraordinaire, and a really nice fellow to boot. I owe him many more beers since he wouldn't let me buy him dinner. There were eight of us for the pre-show dinner, and we met up with Donna from Connecticut and her family entourage later--also a treat. What a fun family—Twisted Sister is obviously a family affair—now how cool is that?. We had the opportunity to sit and chat with Jay Jay in the lounge prior to the show. Our topics ranged from news and music to sports—what an incredibly rare moment, to just engage in casual conversation. Jay Jay, once again, is a true gentleman, a wonderful conversationalist and very generous to spend some time with us. Many thanks, Sir--you are the best.

Okay…on to the show. So let me paint you a picture here—the last time we were at the Silverton, 900 or so of us crammed into the Ballroom (which is now the new buffet, incidentally), so when we heard the venue was moved to their outside concert area, I was pleased as punch. I mean, really, it was a casino ballroom—I figured we could only go up from there. That is, until we saw the new location where TS was playing--yep. It was the pool area. Nothing less, nothing more. Ladies and Gentlemen—I give you: The Twisted Sister pool party. In anticipation of your next question, yes, there was more than one SMF in the pool before the evening was over. Aside from the long hair and spikes, you might have mistaken it for a Bar Mitzvah reception. Now let me just say--this is not Twisted's fault--Something tells me they were as surprised as we were. All we needed was a TS logo ice sculpture and some chicken satay and there would have been Mazel Tov's all around. We all made the best of it. A few of those little pigs in blankets might have been nice, but at least I didn’t have to deal with any creepy uncles or four foot aunts with beehives.

I digress. The concert.
In true Twisted Sister form, they went onstage exactly at 8:00 pm to a very motivated, fired up crowd. From the opening chord to the last, the sound was excellently balanced.. In fact, they sounded good from the get-go--however, the lighting crew must have been off at the buffet because they played in the dark for quite a few bars—now I’m not complaining, as no one really minded--we thought it was pool ambiance, minus the tiki torches. It was particularly amusing when Dee said: "May I have some scary lighting please?" during Burn in Hell. Dee’s vocals sounded great--and it was especially impressive in light of his recent medical adventures. He did have some trouble with the microphone sporadically, but again, it certainly did not detract.

Now, don't shoot me folks--but this concert was just not the best one they've ever done. I feel very blessed and fortunate to be able to go to so many shows that I can compare one to the other--and let's face it, TS on an off-day is better than other bands on their best day. It was still an EXCELLENT show, but there were, well, how shall I say this...musical mistakes? They just didn't play as tight as I've heard them. Don't get me wrong, I loved every single moment, but they just didn't sound as fantastic as I've heard them before---hey, when you play as great as they do, it's hard to top every performance. I love seeing them live no matter what--it always exhilarates me. I still left exhausted but recharged. Only two U.S. shows left in 2006--one at the raceway, and one to be announced in Wisconsin (I don't get it either, but I'll sure try to be there!) so PLEASE beg, borrow and steal if you haven't had a chance to see them live on the reunion tour. It is worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY. I promise.

We also got a chance to see Mark's beautiful new bass (See the photos!) and AJ's drum solo gave us some treats--he mixed some other sounds into the solo--such as a whistle--very interesting effect. Eddie and Jay Jay blew us away as usual, and I'm pleased to report that Mark did not destroy as many mic stands or roadies as he usually does. I really enjoyed the set list--Captain Howdy followed by Street Justice was a gem, and Come Out and Play sounded very clean, very good. Didn't get my UTB fill, but hey, there's always the hope for another Bent Brother show.

I'm not too thrilled with the staff of the Silverton--they were not very kind to our own Mayor or Webbie, and refused to honor their backstage passes, even after Danny told them it was okay. Danny, always the diplomat and gentleman, got things sorted out in the end. (many many thanks!) As if the pool obstacle wasn't enough, there was a lime green fabric strip (think: bank line or disneyland, whichever works for you) that was supposed to act as a barricade. I referred to it as the "Right Guard deodorant power stripe"--not to imply that we were odor--but TS fans once again proved that we are well behaved sick mutha fuckers if nothing else, and we did honor the rope and stayed behind it, until Dee finally invited us to cross it for the last song.

It was a real joy to see a lot of youngsters--there were two kids under 13 in the front row who were just elated--good to see! Lots of old and new fans alike. It made up for the row of unsuspecting comp ticketed senior citizens sitting poolside in the cabanas--fortunately no one had a cardiac event--Dee, in a way only he can, suggested a trip to the buffet instead and reminded them that "their bus was leaving!" Really, what was the casino thinking? There was an assortment of TS merch--the black, tastefully embroidered TS polo shirt was very amusing (but a bit pricey at $50)-- the fact that there now IS a TS polo shirt, or the fact that I would gleefully wear one--well, either way it says I'm getting old. I'm holding out for those elusive tour jackets!

Lastly, no night would be complete without the afterglow. Jay Jay, Eddie and AJ signed autographs afterwards and chatted with the fans. We were also very fortunate to visit the Rainbow Room after the show, where most of the band and crew enjoyed a late dinner/drink. The slamboard bunch was thrilled to watch AJ sign the drumhead they have on display--I believe the Rainbow Room website will have photos soon. AJ spilled some news of some possible future projects he's been thinking about--films. This TS show did not disappoint us--we had a great time filled with many special treats. I hope that I can see many of you again. Props to all the Boys, Danny and all the Slamboarders!

And with that, my sick friends, I'm trotting off to bed. This reunion tour is just the best!!! I will never forget this experience as long as I live!

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Placeholder for the missing road reports 
Saturday, July 5, 2003, 09:46 AM
Posted by Administrator
The first road report of the reunion tour was the Six Flags show, July 5, 2003. Unfortunately, due to the website conversion, all of the Road Reports from 2003 to 2006 were lost, and are in the process of being recovered from the old website archives.

Consider this a placeholder for these reports until Don the Webbie and I can retrieve them and re-post them. Until then, enjoy the rest of the reports!
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