Hilton Las Vegas, Part 3 12/17/09  
Thursday, December 17, 2009, 10:06 PM
Posted by Administrator
December 17, 2009 Hilton Las Vegas Part III

Hey. I'm on a budget here.
Don't worry....there will be more when I return to the land of free internet.

The Real Road Report Part III:
Despite true blizzard conditions, cable knocked out, two hungry Maine Coons and my Emergency Operations Center being activated, nothing, no, nothing could stop me from cranking out this final installment of the Las Vegas' Twisted Christmas Road Report! The only Twisted Sister concert review dubbed by Jay Jay French to be longer and harder to read than "War and Peace." Eat your heart out Leo Tolstoy! [actually, I'm more of a Dostoyevsky fan, myself....]

I ran into Jay Jay's significant other--she informed me that she had brought her mother to the first night's show. Her mother then saw Cher the following night. Her verdict? Twisted Sister was better than Cher! True story!

Now you'd think that with this being the third successive Christmas show in the same venue, that I wouldn't really have much to say about it other than a setlist and perhaps a notable quotable or two. What's more: they played the EXACT same setlist from Wednesday evening, so I suppose I could trim that off the top as well if I was looking to be frugal with the facts. And I was even inclined to let my 4-word review stand on its on. That is... until the nice Asian elderly family and the man in the red hat. [oh, just wait...this is gonna be great....I swear. You'll love it.]

So enter night three--your merry band of slamboarders chow down at the buffet once more--and take our places at the front velvet rope, stage right. Funtazia (Dave from the UK) was escorted to the best spot in the house up against the stage, where he was able to get a perfect, nose to nose serenade by the Dee-meister himself. (thank you Danny Stanton!) I rocked out with Denise (also from the UK), Canadian SMF Cindee, John from AZ and an assorted group that we actually RECRUITED from the first two shows, and hounded them such that they decided to buy another ticket for the third night. Job well done.
It is very challenging for a band in Vegas because you have hundreds of people there who have never even been to a rock concert--they have no idea what to do, what to expect, how to act etc. For mere entertainment purposes, Dave, Denise, Cindee and I decided to wager a round: we picked out a couple in the audience who obviously had NO idea where they were and what was coming soon: four elderly tourists that I believe were Chinese--three men (one wearing said red cap) and a woman we believe was his wife. They all looked to be in their 70's/80's. We each placed our bet: when would they get up and run for the exit? None of us bet they'd last past the third song.

The band took the stage just minutes after 8 pm. The man in the red hat's wife was fast asleep in the seat next to him--it looked like Cindee would be winning the round. Twisted took the stage and did indeed play the same setlist as the night before, but they played with tremendous intensity, it was absolutely electric! The house was almost completely full, including the entire balcony! “White Christmas” was just thunderous--and in a moment of holiday frivolity, Dee did a little spinning around dance in the snow--I was waiting for him to drop and make a snow angel! Over my shoulder, I look.....the wife is now awake...and her husband is singing along!

Some raps from Dee about Christmas...including one of my favorite quotes of the night, regarding the Twisted Christmas album: "They said we'd kill our careers. What careers??!?" And then they launched into "Shoot 'em Down". It was a bit odd that the majority of the audience knew all the words to the carols, and none of the words to the TS songs. In fairness, I've been to at least 10 TS Christmas shows and I still don't know the words to half the carols! We were again treated to the PG-13/borderline R-rated version of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" (Bad Mommy!) and when they launched into "You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll' I thought the bass line was going to knock me off the edge of the stage. Over my shoulder....the wife finally had to leave (poor thing, she looked exhausted) but the two remaining of our fearless foursome tourists are now clapping along!

As we heard the opening riff to "The Price"...they cued the fog. A lot of fog. And more fog. There was so much fog that I actually lost sight of Dave in the front row--except that he rigged his TS shirt as well as the undercarriage of his wheelchair with Christmas lights, so through the fog I see a glowing TS logo! Finally, with Dee barely coughing out the opening line, he yells "Okay! Enough with the fog already!" He launched into "Oh Come Oh Ye Faithful" and finished it with a resounding "Halleluyah!"
The sound was flawless--you could clearly hear every note of every solo, every drum hit, every pound on the bass. Dee's vocals just filled the theatre! No earplugs needed. Well, actually that's not true. I wished I HAD put them in--the couple standing next to me on this third night did NOT shut up the entire show! I mean, they frickin' talked the whole time! And about shit that wasn't even relevant to the show! I wanted to borrow that roll of duct tape that Animal got from Santa the night before. Speakin' of Animal...he came over to the wing and gave me hard slap on the back during this song. Holy crap! Don't need that chiropractic adjustment now. And I think that's as close as a kiss as anyone will ever get from the Animal! [oh relax, all in fun....]

Dee once again thanked all of the fans wishing him a Happy Hannukah....even though he claims that he's "only got a little bit of Jew in him...and you can see it when [he] wears tight pants..." Oh boy. It's Vegas, baby. He reassured those in attendance that unlike the early days, when he was prone to fits of violence when fans failed to "get into it" and stand up, he was far more patient these days. But beware... if the crowd didn't start getting into it soon, he was prone to have flashbacks of the 80's! Quick check of our tourists: all have left except for the man with the red cap. He's absolutely mesmerized watching Dee!

I knew that AJ was hurting from the night before, but didn't realize how badly hurt he was! my god, it's worse than the NFL....now two of our five on the disabled list! First Eddie's back, and then AJ's hamstring. Dee announced that AJ could barely walk that morning, and yet in spite of the pain, he played a solo that was second to none. It was really fascinating to me to hear the drum solo three nights in a row--I actually could feel the differences between nights. Last night was a little heavier on the snares but lots of crashing cymbals. Sort of a Ratta ratta tat tat dum tata dum bumma chuka BOOM BOOM BOOM
Okay. so words don't really translate drum. But it completely kicked ass, and when it was over...almost all of the crowd was on their feet!

Animals' bass solo during "Silver Bells" was equally special--last night, it had some real jazz fusion! I mean, it had a real improvisational feel to it, yet at the same time: call it controlled chaos. Amazing! I look over...and there is our elderly Chinese man in the red hat, on his feet, applauding the Animal!

Satan Claus returned once again. We learned that due to a bad experience in Tijuana, Satan Claus crapped his pants and hence....the return of pantless Claus. Eddie tried out his toy guitar: not only does it play chords..it OINKS. I would just like to state, for the record, that the ONLY thing that goes on tirelessly longer than my road reports: The Twisted Sister Santa Routine. Best Jay Jay quote of the night: [to Satan Claus] "You turn a three minute bit into an audition tape for The Young and the Restless!"

Jay Jay's Christmas wish for the night: Get Ozzy to be a guest on the "Are You Smarter Than a 5th grader?"

Dee, very demeurely tonight... said, "Satan Claus... I wanna rock."
And out pops Kid Rock! Now mind you, the night before, we actually had a long argument with another fan: we were convinced we saw Kid Rock mingling with the audience after the show, and this guy INSISTED that it was an impersonator from the rock show at a neighboring hotel. Nope! Real deal....it was Kid Rock! We were hoping he would join Dee onstage to sing "I Wanna Rock" but alas....no such luck...however... "I Wanna Rock" had the whole damn place on their feet, screaming at the top of their lungs. And yes...our star of the night: elderly man in the red cap is not only on his feet, he's throwing his fist in the air, yelling with the rest of us. Ladies and gentleman...I swear....it made a tear well up! A headbanger is born!

Heavy Metal Christmas encore: the theatre handed out 12-days cheat sheets as we entered the theatre--I guess folks couldn't follow the band's cue cards.
I got a big hug from AJ (poor guy was really limping! feel better soon brother!) and realized, as we headed into the final encore, that this was the last show of the Christmas run, AND the last time I'd see Dee in full makeup and costume. I tried very hard not to think about it, because I swear to ya, as I live and breathe, I had to hold back a few tears.

It was such a delight to spend the days with Dave (Funtazia), Denise from the UK, Canadian SMF Cindee, John from AZ, Josh, Mark, RJ--and so many others--not to mention a few little impromptu conversations in the hotel lobby with the band and crew. Many many thanks to all of the band members, Danny, Joe, the entire road/sound/light crew and the wonderful staff at the Las Vegas Hilton.
These were three of the best times I've ever had. I allude to it but don't discuss it on this board--I've experienced some truly horrific things in my life (I have PTSD as a result). I have good days and bad....and on those bad days, I work very hard to focus on a positive, happy memory to try to counterbalance the flashbacks that sometimes get overwhelming. Now I have three days of positive memories to store away for those moments when the sun gets eclipsed by my past. A gift that I will cherish the rest of my life--this was the best Christmas I've EVER had.

And so...with the snow now piling even higher....my pager going off incessantly....I close the last Christmas review of 2009. Many holiday blessings to all of you--a very healthy, happy and productive new year to all my SMF family!

Armadillo.... trotting off into the blinding storm...

Ahhhhh. The decadence of not having to pay by the minute!

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Hilton Las Vegas, Part 2: 12/16/09 
Wednesday, December 16, 2009, 10:05 PM
Posted by Administrator
December 16, 2009
Hilton Las Vegas, Part TWO

Oh my SMF friends....
Here I am, two buffet visits later, ready to bring another installment of the over-indulgent, occasionally delusional and self grandiose but never dull Official Armadillo Road Report, the Official UNOfficial Twisted Sister concert review with more and more details that you want to know (and plenty you don't)

Now I've had lot of coffee this morning just so that I can type even faster than usual. The last report cost me $47 at the hotel business center (Do you see the commitment? the dedication? the love? Oh I do it all for you!) This morning I'm banging the keyboard at an internet cafe I found two miles from the hotel....so I can type twice as much for half the cost.

The record store signing was absolutely a hoot!
We had the boys...we had Hooter girls...we had wings....and it was fantastic, casual and a lot of fun. We ended up getting interviewed on some cable access shows, one called 9th Island TV, another Backstage Pass. As soon as I get the links, I'll post them here for your enjoyment.

First things first: last night rocked the house! Night #1 was great, but Night #2 was EVEN BETTER! The crowd was much more into it, we had excellent energy, more folks on their feet from the start and the sound was truly excellent. Here's your setlist--a few differences from the night before:

1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
2. White Christmas
3. Shoot 'em Down
4. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
5. You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
6. Deck the Halls
7. The Price
8. Oh Come Oh Ye Faithful
9. Burn In Hell
drum solo
10. Silver Bells
11. I'll Be Home for Christmas
12. I Wanna Rock
13. Heavy Metal Christmas
14. We're Not Gonna Take It

So as you can see, the setlist was three songs shorter than the night before--the hotel wanted a little less rockin', and a little more money spendin' out of the fans, and we had a chatty Santa last night, but I'll get to that in a minute. (or .49 to be more specific) They took the stage again at 8:05pm with no opener, and played a good 90 minutes.

We again were treated to the Sin City Bad Girls pulling the sleigh, and I must confess it was very distracting to have four beautiful, nearly naked, gyrating lovelies right in front me. It was like: LOOK AT DEE! wait...wow.... NO! LOOK AT JAY JAY! wait...oh my god...NO! LOOK AT MARK! ...holy crap.... oh you get the picture. I'm starting to see the appeal of Vegas.

Dee retold the story of the Christmas album, especially how he took his youngest to the Radio City Music Hall spectacular, only to have him exclaim: "Daddy...this is making me HATE Christmas!" “Me too, son. Me too.” A brilliant concept by Jay Jay, some plagiarism courtesy of “We're Not Gonna Take It”....and a Christmas legend was born!

Jay Jay welcomed us all back-- "for those in attendance thinking they were seeing the Transiberian Orchestra... it isn't... instead this is the Transvestite Siberian Orchestra" Plenty of tourists last night--folks who really and truly had no idea what they were in for! Jay Jay and I discussed this briefly that afternoon....the crowd has a true Vegas mentality. They are there to be entertained--like all Vegas shows--they are not expecting or accustomed to being a PART of the show. Audience participation is usually limited to the hypnotists! Stare into the pink spinning guitar....you WILL rock out...You WILL stand up!

The sound was again fantastic--I heard from a good authority that the best sound was in the balcony, where it was also 20 decibels louder. Your slamboard crowd was happily in the front row, stage right, and I'm pleased to report that the hotel (and I'm sure Mr. Stanton had something to do with it as well) found a nice spot for Dave's wheelchair in the VIP section.

"The Price" was especially good, and we started the now infamous Price sway that proved infectious--soon the whole place was swaying to and fro. Gives me chills to see it sometimes.

“Burn In Hell”: many of you who have seen Dee perform this live--he drops to the floor, crawls forward bathed in evil red lights and delivers his opening lines. He gave his usual dramatic pause--teeth bared with cameras a' snapping... only this time, he looks right at the one photographer, and whispers into the mic to hurry up and take the picture.... not only did the audience crack up, but Dee completely lost it and had to regain his composure before delivering "YOU'RE GONNA BURN IN HELL!" It's hard to say that line when you're giggling hysterically. You know, this is why you need to come to all three shows....look at all the good stuff you're missing! Twisted Sister shows are like snowflakes...

The drum solo after this number was quite honestly, the best I've heard AJ do EVER. Don't ask me how he did it, but the Sounds of Thunder were twice as fast last night. He always delivers a mammoth solo, but I've never heard his solo sound like this. Just incredibly, afterwards, AJ told me that he was feeling the effects--bring on the anti-inflammatory meds!

The solos between Jay Jay and Eddie were fantastic--very tight, very clean and beautifully executed--there is something so magical when you have such brilliant musicians, all on one stage, who have been playing for so long together that it results in pure synchronicity. I would say it was effortless except they put so much of themselves into the music, that it's the opposite--the effort is herculean.

“Silver Bells”: Mark's bass solo gets better and better every time I hear it. Most folks are not accustomed to bass solos with the exception of Cliff Burton fans... we get treated to two or three bass solos each night, and they just reverberate down to the core.

“I'll Be Home for Christmas”: again we were treated to a delightful duet as were the night before. The resemblance between the Sin City Bad Girls lead singer and Dee is uncanny, prompting Dee to ask: "Where was your mother in 1985?" And I'll put in my Christmas thoughts and wishes for all of our armed forces and civilian contractors serving overseas--may we have them all home safe and sound soon.

Well, I asked for a Barry Manilow joke...and Dee didn't disappoint last night. He reminded us that we were sitting in Barry Manilow's seats... "so NO farting in the seats! ....otherwise...sit on them so that when you do get up, well, you know what happens..." Okay, okay, a fart joke. you had to be there. it was damn funny. in the world of men, fart = funny.

And then...Satan Claus came back on stage, and this time....he was carrying a big sack of toys...and NO pants. In case you were wondering if Satan wears boxes or briefs.... red boxers it is! He reached down into his sack with a large grunt: and out he pulled a huge pair of drumsticks for AJ....back to the sack UUUNNNNGH...6 months of anger management and a roll of duct tape for MAM (to fix all those broken mic stands, basses, roadies..)....then back to the sack...UUUNNNNNNNNGH (Satan has a hemorrhoid problem we learned) a little toy musical guitar for Eddie and a dreidel bear for Jay Jay.... Dee received ---at first, we couldn't tell what it was: a thermos? a king-size vibrator? No! It was a HUGE pink lipstick! Gotta love it. On the boys' Christmas lists:
AJ: wants Tiger Wood's Little Black Book
MAM: he wants the reindeer hotties (a man of taste, indeed)
Eddie: happy with his new guitar and Satan's ho, ho, hos
Jay Jay: he has a special Christmas wish for KISS: if you're gonna play, then PLAY. If you're gonna retire, RETIRE!

Dee, of course, just wants to rock! and rock we did....had the whole place on their feet at last, including Kris Kringle sitting in the audience about twenty rows back. This guy was the spitting image, by the way, I swear. I almost sat on his lap! (In case you were wondering, what's on Armadillo's Christmas list: another glorious year of Twisted Sister shows and a new notebook.... and another kiss from AJ. oh it was so special.) Also on my Christmas list: For Santa Satan to do a LOT less talking, so that Twisted can play another song! It was a very, very funny bit--I laughed my ass off, until I realized that his schtick went on for over 10 minutes, so we lost some of the set.

I'd like to add that there were NO giant bouncing ornament balls tonight. That's right. Break a camera? Smack the Armadillo in the kisser? Knock over small children? NO. Break a stage light! THEN we saw the deep six of the balls. I didn't miss them. Well, maybe a little.

The meet and greet was again very casual and relaxed--so great to see so many folks, meet a lot of new fans--the hotel staff did another wonderful job as did Danny Stanton, the road crew and all of the Twisted entourage.

Okay: I've got seven minutes, forty -five seconds left... enough time for me to print off my boarding pass.

Til tomorrow night my babies...
love from Las Vegas
Trotting Off

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Hilton, Las Vegas, 12/15/09 Vegas Part #1 
Tuesday, December 15, 2009, 11:02 PM
Posted by Administrator
Oh my babies...this will probably be the fastest and shortest report ever...not because there isn't enough to report... but the meter is running! I'm typing this at .79 a minute from the hotel business center. Yikes. But not even insane internet rates can prevent me from bringing this special three-part edition of the Armadillo Report Report, Hilton Las Vegas, December 15th complete with all the details you want to know...and plenty ya don't!

So let's get started with no delay:
Vegas is larger than life, so it was no surprise to see a huge TS billboard on Interstate-15 on my way in from the airport. First time I've ever seen a full size billboard, and let me tell ya, there's no WAY folks here don't know that the Bad Boys of Rock n' Roll are in town, because there are marquis, billboards, posters, video promotions everywhere you look! I'm surrounded by TS advertising and I LOVE IT!

I ran into our own Jay Jay French while I was checking into the hotel--he still had his shirt on so he couldn't have lost too much at the tables yet. There were plenty o' Twisted sightings throughout the afternoon--very nice hotel, by the way. Not as over the top as the theme hotels--a very good choice methinks. They did try to feverishly convince me to do one of those timeshare presentations to get a $100 voucher, and I ALMOST did it...but I had visions of being a prisoner at the timeshare session and missing the show while I chewed through the leather restraints... so opted to pass on that one and pay my own way at the buffet.

Now as you've heard, the Las Vegas Hilton has been home to Barry Manilow and is the original home of Elvis Himselvis. A new twisted first: the triple bill of Christmas shows: TWISTED SISTER....WYNONNNA JUDD...and....ANDY WILLIAMS. I can't even think of something clever because that's just TOO DAMN FUNNY ALL BY ITSELF. surreal....sublime and bizarre. I love it. I ran into AJ in the buffet line...it was about 6:30 pm...doors opened at 7pm... I asked him: shouldn't you be getting ready for the show? Then it occurred to me: as long as I get there before AJ....then I'm NOT late! I asked him how he liked the theatre so far-he informed me that the sound is EXCELLENT. I'd expect nothiing less for Mr. Manilow.

The theatre was surprisingly intimate. fairly small, holds under 2000 people....a large balcony in the rear, ample floor seating in three sections, and two VIP areas that literally ARE on the wings of the stage, with a mere velvet rope separating us from the boys. It was a bit odd, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. We were on EYE level with the band, well....I'm not on eye level with the band unless they get me a milk crate to stand on, but it was close.

The Hilton staff were exceptionally polite and professional. There was one small female bouncer that was the toughest security person I've ever meet. NO ONE GOT BY HER! She bounced out one guy who kept coming up front. He was wearing a tie--a prize for the best dressed unruly fan. My only beef with the theatre: get this: the bathrooms were outside the theatre--true casino fashion, they force you to leave the area, walk thru all the slots to get to the bathrooms. This explains why no one was drinking much at the show. The bathrooms did make up for the hike by one account--in the mens rooms, above the urinals, was wallpaper with life sized images of ladies, looking down at us....some looking impressed and others laughing..... wouldn't you know it? I had to stand under the one with a magnifying glass. No respect for the Armadillo, I tell ya.... (it was cold! cold! there was shrinkage....)

The crowd was old school....well.... actually not. They were just old. Very old. There were a lot of comp tickets there...folks that got free tix from the hotel, and they obviously had NO IDEA what they were in for. Many stopped me to ask: what's SMF stand for? And....what kind of show is this? Who are these Twisted Sisters? There were a few that headed for the exits almost immediately, but most stayed. However, I must confess. There was one big douche bag at the show: Yours truly. I couldn't take it--NO ONE STOOD UP! I was jumping up and down, yelling at my VIP section....get up! get up! get UP YOU SILLY FOOLS! They asked me to please sit down so they could see. Obviously I didn't, but there were some unhappy campers behind me. At least they said please. Another TS first: I've never seen so many ties. Honest guys, you can loosen the tie. It's Twisted Sister...they won't mind. there's no dress code.

There were no warmup acts by the way...TS came onstage at 8:15pm--a bit late but there were some initial PA issues. we blamed it on elf mischief.
My prediction came true: at each Christmas show this year, the Santa sleigh hotties have worn less and less... and last night, they were wearing next to nothing....these were the girls from the "Sin City Bad Girls" show, with the byline "ROCK ON TOPS OFF" and if they had worn any less or gotten any closer to me.....I would have had to pay for a lap dance! Uh...not that I know about such things. I've, uh...researched it. I saw it on Oprah. uh....yes. On with the review. The meter is running, afterall.

Here is your setlist:
1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
2. Stay Hungry
3. White Christmas
4. The Beast
5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
6. You Can't Stop Rock N Roll
7. Deck the Halls
8. The Price
9. Oh Come Oh Ye Faithful
10. Don't Let Me Down
11. Burn in Hell
drum solo
12. Silver Bells
13. I''ll Be Home for Christmas
14. "30" (the bathroom song)
15. I Wanna Rock
16. Heavy Metal Christmas
Band intros
17. We're Not Gonna Take it

We had a white Christmas onstage...I actually kinda missed inhaling the snow suds but it was equally as entertaining watching the elves scramble to mop up all of the snow after each number. Oh, the joys of watching from the wings. Dee said that it was the first time since 1896 (they've been rocking a long time) that he forgot his makeup bag and had to borrow some from the Sin City Bad Girls....he asked them: "Where do you guys buy this stuff?.....I get mine from Sluts R Us!" Jay Jay got a little bit nostalgic playing at the home of Elvis, and informed those NOT familiar with TS that the Associated Press hailed the TS album as the 2nd greatest Christmas album of all time...second only to the King himself. Now, that's impressive.

We had the obligatory sing-a-long with “Deck The Halls”—As Dee puts it: "the closest thing [we'll] get to a Christmas drinking song".... speakin' o which.....the crowd was so dead, I owe apologies to all the Philly SMFs. Philly was pandemonium in comparison. Wake up VEGAS! STAND UP VEGAS!

Eddie sounded great...and moved around with ease, so he's obviously feeling a little better. A great solo by MAM on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” When they played "The Price" Dee asked: “Can I have some mood lighting please? I was thinking something in amber?” They obliged....very nice. Kudos to my SMF friends from the slamboard-- Denise and Mark...Mark had an actual APP on his iPhone called "Zippo lighter” which he “held” up. Very cool. Oh, I'm getting old....

“Oh Come Oh Ye Faithful”: it was thunderous, especially the bass! In fact, the sound in the theatre was FANTASTIC. not incredibly loud, but excellent balance, no feedback....really really good. Some of the best sound I've heard all tour. All hail the roadcrew!

Dee had to inform those in attendance that despite their well wishes throughout the day, he's actually NOT Jewish. Just a tiny bit Jewish, on his grandfather's side. And he gave a little rap about the seats: he's glad we have seats, since it guarantees everyone a spot...but to quote: "WHO KNEW YOU'D PUT YOUR ASSES IN THEM???!!" How many times can the man say it? STAND UP! there's no crying in baseball...and no sitting at a Twisted Sister show! Jay Jay actually climbed over the Velvet Rope to get in the face of a few who wouldn't stand up. They finally did, which was wise: you do NOT want Animal coming over that rope! Hello? We need a mop for a cleanup stage right! Jay Jay, ever gracious, handed out picks to some lucky ladies in the front row...I really love seeing him do this. It's such a nice, personal touch.

AJ added a special Christmas touch to his drum solo: red and green laser tips last night--very festive! More fantastic solos throughout the night—“Silver Bells” just rocked the house.

For “I'll be Home For Christmas”, a special duet: Lorena Peril, lead from the Sin City Bad Girls sang onstage. She told me later that she found at 1 pm that day that she would be doing this, and had about 90 seconds to rehearse. Not only is she drop-dead beautiful and a very humble, sweet woman, but incredibly talented. Her duet was just wonderful--great harmony, excellent performance--looking forward to seeing and hearing her again tonight. Remember that name: she is bound for stardom. And sidenote: she and Dee have the same hair--it was like Sisters from the same momma!

Those giant balls/ornaments returned: and managed to actually BREAK some of the neon bulbs on the stage. HA! karma!

Dee performed "30" again, and this time...he yelled at those leaving to get a beer/burger: "HEY! YOU! I SEE YOU! GET BACK HERE....SIT BACK DOWN! This is a small theatre--I can see who's here and who's getting up to get a beer!" I just can't get enough of 30 played live...fastly becoming one of my favs to hear. Eddie played a brand new guitar: a special Christmas wrap guitar, yellow and green stripes with working Christmas lights. Oh, I'm filled with the yuletide spirit I am!

We didn't have Santa Claus...or Pantless Claus...we had SATAN CLAUS! He asked the boys what they wanted for Christmas this year:

AJ: “A tank. so [he] can give tanks every year.” oooohhhhhh. Says Satan: “with bad puns like that, maybe TS won't have a drummer next year!” Says Dee: “hey, that's my Christmas wish” (he's just kidding folks, relax)

MAM: he didn't seem to care for Satan Claus...he said "I want a REAL santa claus!" Says Satan: “maybe TS won't have a bass player, either.” Hey: SATAN vs. MAM My money is on Animal.

Eddie: Happy to see the ho ho hos! (hey...it's vegas....)

Jay Jay: still holding out for the Mets to not suck. And the trump/Simmons hairpiece exchange. keep wishing.

Then Satan Claus asked Dee.... actually, he called Dee an MMF..... MMF? Says Dee: “Oh, what's a letter? SMF...MMF....” and he coined the term: “S. M. Elfs” I resemble that remark. hmmmmm.

Lastly, we got to the encores. The poor attendees....they didn't realize that "good night" actually means....hold on for two encores… and they started heading for the exit. We kept screaming....no! no! wait! it's not over! By the time they played I wanna Rock, almost the whole place was on their feet. Finally!

I got a special Christmas present: AJ planted a big ol' kiss on my head during the encore.... Merry Christmas to me! My life is now complete--it was better than being blessed by da Pope! I think he did it for luck...I'll have to ask him tonight if it worked! The meet and greet was the BEST ever. well organized, well run and everyone had plenty of band time for photos and autographs. perfection. Kudos to Danny and the road crew for another great show. Looking forward to tonight! I'll be headed over with Dave, Cindee, and Denise to the record store appearance to take some photos.

Had a great chat with Joe Gerber--a gent from the earliest TS days--and I finally got my question answered: what does the RB stand for on the TS colors? Do YOU know? I DO! tease tease

Until then, your faithful road reporter is trotting off to the buffet line...

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NYC, Nokia Theatre, 12/6/2009 
Sunday, December 6, 2009, 11:01 PM
Posted by Administrator
It's a long way to the top....and it was a longer bus ride to the bottom, courtesy of an overturned tractor trailer that shut down the Lincoln Tunnel.... but neither rain, nor snow, nor dark of night could prevent me from bringing you the overindulgent, excessively worded and occasionally intellectually masturbatory effort that is what we call: The Armadillo Road Report: the Official Unofficial Twisted Sister concert Review, Nokia Theatre NYC, December 6, 2009: chock full of all of the details you want to know..... and plenty you don't.

I'm feeling a bit of pressure on this one, now that I know that there are many eyes reading. And, of course, New York City is the homecoming location of Twisted. I do feel obligated, however, to at least provide some small description for those overseas (or much worse, in Ft. Wayne) who may have never seen the Big Apple. I confess that it weren't for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, corned beef and Twisted Sister, I myself would have probably never ventured into the City That Never Sleeps. (not in order of importance--never underestimate a good corned beef sandwich on rye) For those of you who have never been to Times Square, it's like an architect with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder married an electrician with Obsessive-Compulsive. Lights, light, lights and more lights--complete sensory overload 24-hours a day. At two a.m., the sidewalks were still filled with people. (the delis however, all closed at 1:00am. Alas. no Junior's cheesecake this trip.)
The Nokia theatre is just off Broadway in Times Square--it boasts an enormous lit marquee out in front--you could see Twisted Sister in lights from halfway down the block. Once again, I was very impressed with the Nokia Staff-- they not only opened the doors on time (6 pm) but they repeatedly walked the line, letting us know not only the showtimes, but keeping us updated on how many minutes left until they opened the doors. Inside we had more good service-- from the bartenders to the security crew, all polite and professional through and through.

I know we had much discussion about seating this year so I took good notice: they had a large seated area in the rear (front and rear mezzanine), two balconies up top and two raised areas by the bars on the sides. The floor was general admission, of course, and a group of happy slamboarders made their way to the front row. I'm so glad I checked my report from last year--I opted not to check my coat this year--and so glad I didn't. Here's my latest Armadillo concert tip: for .99 cents, you can buy a 2-pack of Toasty Toes and Hot-Hands pocket warmers. I dropped one of those little babies in each boot....shoved a handwarmer in each pocket, and I was indeed toasty warm the entire hour I waited outside...and in. It was cold as hell in the Nokia theatre! In more ways than one...but I'll get to that in a minute.
There were two absolutely delightful ladies in the front row waving Norwegian flags--I chatted with them for a bit. (Velcome! Eetz COLD in zees Nokia theatre, yah?) The one woman missed the show in Oslo last time around, so she FLEW here to the States to see Twisted play. They obviously had no complaints about the temperature inside. Norway, folks, Norway. Now THAT is a lousy concert commute. The next time I hear ANYONE whine that they couldn't make a Twisted Sister show because it was ALL the way in Vegas.... one word for you: NORWAY.

Our own webbie was there....along with a throng of photographers! It looked like a paparazzi feeding frenzy at times--I've never seen such action in the pit. The photographer (Diane) from the Crazy Donkey show was snapping away...(I"ll repost the link if you folks need it--otherwise, search for the Crazy Donkey Report) and an interesting gent from www.piercingmetal.com an online heavy metal magazine featuring photos and concert reviews. (yeah--but will you get tips about Toasty Toes? I think not.) Someone took a shot of the slamboard crew--I do hope you'll post it here shortly.

Unlike the living morgue, also known as the Keswick theatre, the Nokia had background music playing. Unfortunately, it appears that the DJ must have dropped some bad acid--because sandwiched in between Van Halen and Black Sabbath, was Tears For Fears "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." I don't honestly know what troubled me more--the fact that they were playing Tears For Fears, or the group of audience members singing along. Both equally disturbing, really. Before we knew it, Q104.3 sponsors came onto the stage and introduced the openers for the evening: no surprises as we had already posted on the Slamboard, tonight we had comedians Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson from "That Metal Show."

Well. Hmmmmm.
Let me say this: after all the whining, bitching and complaining that I do about warm-up bands, I am probably the last person to have any right to complain about the lack thereof. So here are the positives: I didn't need earplugs (although at times I wish I *had* put them in), it went fairly quickly and they weren't too bad. Not to mention that laughter has been shown to lower blood pressure, raise serotonin and release dopamine. At 7:30 pm, I believe it was Jim Florentine who took the stage first. I enjoyed his routine-- the audience was COLD. I mean it was a chilly, chilly reception. You thought the crowd was chilly in Philly? I've been in warmer meat lockers.

The poor bastard barely made it to the mike when people were starting to scream "get off the stage!" As hard as it is for a local band to open for Twisted Sister, it is significantly more difficult when you aren't even playing something deafening. My personal favorite line of the night: "First time I saw Twisted Sister, I thought 'wow...those are either the ugliest women from NYC....or the prettiest girls from New Jersey' "
The second comedian I found particularly distasteful. His humor was mostly about how he enjoys drunk driving, dating underage girls....and rape. It was moments like those that I found myself asking: "wouldn't you rather be critiquing some awful warm-up band right now? I would have even preferred Dirty Pearls. That says a lot. So I take it all back: I can't promise I won't complain incessantly about terrible local warm-up acts, because well.... I am a Jew. I have a genetic disposition to complaining, and take great pleasure in it, but I promise that if you DON'T have comedians who think date rape is funny, I will write at least ONE positive thing about each opening act.

Twisted came on stage at 9:05 pm! I could NOT believe it!
Since there are many youtube videos now AND the behind the scenes photos on this website, I won't go into TOO great a detail but it was our favorite over-the-top, beautifully crafted Christmas set. Plenty more elves last night--Twisted young-uns I suspect--and they littered the stage with special toy guitars, including one made of bones, another crafted to look like an assault weapon, and one designed to resemble an all-day sucker. There was a very sculptural Christmas tree made out of guitars. There was a road crew member wearing....well, I'm not sure what it was: it looked like one of the Who's from Whoville--you know, Dr. Seuss?
One elf raised his tunic and showed his jingle bells...er....jingle balls.....ugh...bad elf! As the Santa conveyor belt churned out Twisted Santas, decked out in leather, spikes, animal prints and I believe one had a g-string, a giant lathe churned an oversize candy cane while elves painted a guitar with what looked like either chocolate....or black paint. Another elf climbed atop the huge chamber whose interior seemed inspired by an Easybake Oven. As spandex, spikes and pink fur dropped into the meat grinder above the chamber....a spin of the vault wheel...and out struts our boys!

A.J......M.A.M.....JJ ....and you probably already know....EDDIE is back!
What a total surprise---we had heard through the grapevine that Eddie was coming to the show, but no one knew for certain if he would be able to play. What a thrill! Eddie Ojeda received a warm reception--to return this soon from such serious surgery is a credit to Eddie's will and determination, as well as the power of Percocet. Dee arrived as Santa in his super-charged muscle car inspired sled, pulled by a team of lovely young hotties wearing antlers and very little of anything else at all....in fact, I think they were wearing even LESS than what they wore in Philly. A nice trend--that bodes well for Vegas perhaps. Another shower of candy canes and condoms. Hey....why does everyone hand their condoms to me? Do you think I'm getting that much action or are you telling me to go fuck myself? I never know if I should be flattered or insulted....

So before I go into all of the show details, your setlist:
1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
2. Don't Let Me Down (I know! I couldn't believe it either!)
3. White Christmas
4. The Beast
5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (PG-13 version)
6. You Can't Stop Rock n' Roll
7. Deck the Halls (sing-a-long)
8. The Price
9. Oh Come O' Ye Faithful
10. Stay Hungry
11. Burn in Hell
Drum solo
12. Silver Bells
13. I'll Be Home for Christmas
14. 30
15. I Wanna Rock
16. Heavy Metal Christmas
Band Intros
17. We're Not Gonna Take It

First let me say that what I love about the Christmas shows is how happy everyone is! They're just silly, goofy and fun...and they rock out. So because of this, I really didn't mind ALL of the things that went terribly wrong last night! There were miscues....malfunctions....and some pretty significant sound problems. It started with Dee's microphone and just went south from there. I just loosened up my ear plugs a little and put up with the feedback ringing most of the night.

Eddie was BACK! While you could tell that he was tired and not feeling 100%, his still managed to play a great solo and had scorching duets during "Don't Let Me Down" and "White Christmas.' What a Trooper! His solo during 'The Price" was spot-on! M.A.M and JayJay checked on him a few times throughout the night--he had to step off-stage a few times, but holy crap, the man just had back surgery! I could read Animal's lips "How ya doin'? OK?" Amazing. Thank you Eddie! Be careful, okay?

A few random items:
Speaking of Animal.... he pounded the living hell out of his bass during "The Beast," and I think the poor instrument finally surrendered. There were all sorts of sound issues with Mark's bass.

"Can't Stop of Rock N' Roll" was mammoth--I just love that album and they did it justice!

Jay Jay showed off his new multi-denominational guitar once again--he credited Jim O'Connor, the artist who created his and Mark's custom guitars--and announced that as a member of the Jewopi tribe, this year's theme is officially "Metal Jews For Christmas."

Dee gave a little background on "Oh Come Oh Ye Faithful"...and gave thanks this year that there was no lawsuit for "We're Not Gonna Take It" as "Oh Come..." is public domain. While the plagiarism was completely unintentional, he left us with: "Nineteen years of singing in the church choir finally paid off!" Personally, I think it was the subliminal effects of mall MUZAK, but that's just my unscientific opinion.

Dee also gave special props to the visitors from Norway and then lead us into "Burn In Hell." You know, I just never get tired of that spooky lighting! I'm just picturing Dee as a kid, practicing it with a flashlight in his bathroom...saying...."One day I'm going to do this onstage every night and get paid for it...." Love "Burn In Hell"--JayJay, Eddie and M.A.M did a guitar threesome.....wait. that didn't come out right. TRIO....they did a TRIO...
…and then A.J.'s sounds of thunder. Tonight's drum solo was very "soldier-like".....kind of a "little drummer boy" thing going on....and LOTS AND LOTS OF COWBELL. You know what would have made it even better? MORE COWBELL. (He agreed with me, by the way.....it needs more cowbell. we all need more cowbell.)

They played my truly LEAST favorite Christmas Carol and yet one of my FAVORITE tracks off the album (that's saying something right there....) Silver Bells! The elves cued the snow machine, and we had near whiteout conditions on-stage. I noticed that they seemed to particularly enjoy pointing the snowmaker at the Norwegian guests--perhaps to make them feel at home--personally, I felt like I went through the wash cycle. You've haven't truly experienced a Twisted Sister Christmas show unless you've coughed up soap bubbles.

Then Dee stops....... Animal is missing in action. His solo is coming up...and he's nowhere to be found. Dee gave his best Elmer Fudd: "Be vewy vewy qwiet....we're hunting bass pwayahs..." Mark's bass just wasn't cooperating. Now I don't know about you...but if Animal wants me to do something....ANYTHING....I'm gonna cooperate. So he must have given that bass a good talkin' to....because his bass solo was well worth the wait!

He disappeared a few more times--at one point, with Eddie stepping to the side, Dee running off for a his water during Jay Jay's solo...and Mark's disappearance...it was like....the first Black Sabbath reunion tour WITH TONY IOMMI. Anybody onstage? AJ? Want to do another drum solo?

Dee sang "I'll be Home for Christmas" with American Idol and now Broadway's Musical "Rock of Ages" star Constantine. Which means that Jay Jay did NOT give one of his American Idol rants. Oh the irony!

And once again, those stupid frickin' oversized Christmas ornaments managed to smack me in the back of the head. I'm starting to think someone was aiming...... warm-up acts of Christmas past? No really....I hate them. It's not like a beach ball, see? They're heavy! It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Or a beer. Or a camera. (Hope SMF Cyndi's camera has recovered....fortunately it landed on something soft: my head)

We were treated to what is now formally called, yes, "The Bathroom Song" Dee yelled out: "here it comes....we're gonna do it....get your money out!" I'm not sure if that was a reference to going to buy a beer or if something else is happening in those bathrooms that requires money....I'd rather not think about it. Either way: I wasn't going to budge for a minute! They played "30" and I LOVE IT! That opening guitar riff just fills me up right--can I have a witness!!??! YES! Mark STILL had bass issues....but "30" is one of those songs that just plays so well live! When they were done, Dee announced: "Okay! You can come out of the bathroom now!" And for the BIG TEASER OF THE NIGHT:

Dee says:
"with that kind of response, I can see a lot of new music in the future!" Oh please let it be so!

And then.... a moment for those not faint of heart. Cooch, roadmaster extraordinare, struts onstage with Santa hat, beard, coat and boots. No pants. Why universe why? I've worked so hard in therapy these past thirty years--made such progress-- it was one of the moments where being in the furthest back row in the top of the balcony was the best seat in the house. And it was cold in that theatre. There were goosebumps on Santa's naked legs. There was shrinkage. Between Dee yelling "stranger danger! stranger danger!" and our low vantage point from the front row, never have I more convinced that SANTA IS SATAN. He asked our boys what they want for Christmas once again.

AJ: wants a tank. From Santa: "to give TANKS each year." yuk-yuk
Animal: wants to never see Santa pantless again. Right there with ya!
Eddie: "just seeing Santa's Ho, Ho, Ho's is enough!" Says Dee: "The Drugs are working" I'll have what he's having, please....
JayJay: He asked for the Mets NOT to suck this year.
Hmmmmm. How about a pony? Cure for hunger? World peace? He's Santa ferchrissake.... he does Christmas miracles, not the FUCKING impossible!


So before they launched into "I Wanna Rock".... Dee made sure everyone was on their feet--and not in wheelchairs, as he retold his now famous "Best Story Ever" about yelling "stand up!" at the ADA section. He checked: Nope. Not the ADA section. Good. "THEN STAND THE HELL UP!!!" He asked us to give us all we had....really belt it out:
"Pretend you're shouting for a cab....or at some asshole that ran you off the road.....come on NYC!" He had a heap of NY's bravest join him onstage..along with Constantine....and the hotties....and the set designer....and pantless Claus.... and for all I know, I think I saw those two White House party crashers onstage too....

And we rocked.
And it was loud.
And he saw that it was good.
Praise Be.

We had band intros----more Eddie lovefests--as we should! Eddie sent a shout-out to his fantastic doctors and surgeons. We love them too--they gave us our Eddie back! Dee gave Jay Jay yet another now infamous title: King of Rent Control. How much did you say that rent is? $126 a month?

Kudos paid once again to Kevin O'Callahan, the set designer. special shout out from me to you Kevin on the handlebar mustache. [I tried making a handlebar 'stache once--I bought the mustache wax-- it looked like I was eating a candle] and perhaps in preparation for Vegas' Manilow turf, Dee was introduced as "the Man That Writes The Songs That SMF's Sing..."

Then, our only real ugliness of the night.
During the first encore, I noticed AJ looking dismayed...shaking his head in disapproval....and then I saw why. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it was "the DOUCHEBAG KING." All 300 lbs of him, drunkenly crowd surfing--he felt atop of three young girls who couldn't hold him--I checked on them, they were shaken up but not hurt badly. I managed to take a boot to the head....my fellow slamboarder Ron unfortunately wasn't as lucky--his glasses took the brunt of it. Even our very own SMF Cyndi, had to duck and cover.
Folks: don't do this. stage diving and crowd surfing is the pasttime of Douche Bags. Don't be a Douche. It really took something away from the encores when we had to constantly look over our shoulders to avoid a boot in the back of the head. A little bumping, some pushing and shoving--that's just a part of being in the front row--I go home bruised from almost every show. A measured risk I choose to take. But honestly.... this kinda crap just isn't necessary. [Boy, you should see the knot I've got on my head! Douche bags.]

Lastly, was the Backstage/Meet and Greet. First the positives: Despite having a train to catch, they stayed late to make sure that no fan left without an autograph or a photo. I love these opportunities, and I'm just thrilled every chance I get--it never gets old. That said: the way the meet n' greet was run was NOT typical of ANY of the other MNG's that TS has hosted. They are usually very calm, organized and well-done. Last night's was a goat rope. (the fire dept term: a cluster fuck.) Please bring back the method you used at the Fillmore: the band lined up at the rail and stayed put in their spots--the fans got in line and went down the receiving line in an orderly fashion. No pushing, no shoving, no fighting to get an autograph. Just some food for thought. Last night's MNG was a big hot mess, and I heard a LOT of complaints from fans who paid $100 and were angry that they had to fight to squeeze in to get an autograph.

Okay...hate to end on two sour notes so let's recap:

NOKIA theatre staff: LOVED IT.
No terrible warmup bands to sit through: LOVED IT.
Sound problems: HATED IT.
Fantastic set: LOVED IT.
Giant ornaments: HATED IT.
Eddie back on stage: LOVED IT
Excellent solos: LOVED IT
Douche bag crowd surfers: HATED IT.
Kick ass rock n' roll: LOVED IT.
Santa with no pants: HATED IT.
Heard "30" live again: LOVED IT.
Absolutely positively wonderful Christmastime fun in NYC: LOVED IT.

So actually....the things that were in the band's control... I loved. There were unfortunate sound problems all night (it happens!) and a few things that I feel that the fans need to take responsibility for....NYC NOKIA theatre show for 2009 was still fantastic good fun, and a great time was had by all! So behave yourselves, be kind to one another...give thanks for the blessings we do have, and PLEASE get out and buy a ticket to the Twisted Sister Christmas shows. You owe it to yourself!

With that, I'll see you in Vegas, babies..
Trotting Off...your humble road reporter....

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Glenside, PA (Philly) Keswick Theatre, 12/2/09 
Wednesday, December 2, 2009, 11:08 PM
Posted by Administrator
December 2, 2009
Keswick Theatre, Philadelphia PA

Ah my babies....
Grab that mug of egg nog and join me for the first of five domestic holiday reviews! Yes, it is time for the Official Unofficial Twisted Sister Concert Review: The Armadillo Road Report for the first Twisted Christmas show of the season, Keswick Theatre, Glenside PA. (we'll call it Philly!) Chock full of all of the details you've been dying to hear about....and plenty ya don't.

Many times you've read on this board how every Twisted Sister show is a bit unique in its own way--an odd venue, special guest, unique setlist--the Philly show had so many things that made it unique, I'm not even sure where to begin.

Oh, how about the start? After a two-hour drive that lasted almost 4 hours courtesy of heavy rain and cover of darkness, I found my way to the glowing neon marquee of the Keswick in Glenside, a sleepy little college main street. It read: Twisted Sister: Dec. 2 Bob Saget: Dec. 3 Insert your own joke there.

The Keswick is a historic theatre--it reminds me architecturally of many of those beautiful showhouses complete with gilded accents, plaster ornamentation and rich colors. I'll have to re-visit their website to see exactly when it was built, but I suspect that some of those ushers went to the ribbon cutting! Oh, that's right....ushers. Upon entering the theatre, there were large warning signs, alerting patrons that the evening's show would feature strobes and fog. After entering the alcove, we were met by numerous spiffy bow-tie sporting, starched shirted theatre ushers, who took our ticket and assisted us with finding our seats.

Then another hundred-year old usher, not only escorted MetalMadLady, myself and her hubby to the row, but she physically lead me to MY seat. good heavens. I was waiting to hear "Are you with the groom or the bride?" We took our seats and I surveyed the crowd because something just felt odd: not only was everyone seated, but you could hear a pin drop. It was like....a night at the opera...or perhaps a family movie screening of "Ordinary People".... no music, little talking.

At 8:00 PM sharp, we hear an announcement--the gentle, mellow voice saying:
"Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Keswick Theatre. We encourage you to visit our refreshment stand, where tonight's featured drink is Twisted Tea. We also wish to caution you that tonight's feature performance will involve strobe lights and a fog machine for those with sensitivities. Thank you and enjoy the show. We are pleased to present the opening performer, Jesse Blaze...." ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzz

And then dead silence.

Jesse and his band walk onstage, looking completely dazed. Jesse says: "Wow. That was so mellow an intro that we didn't even realize we were being introduced and we weren't ready!" So they left the stage…and Danny Stanton gave them an appropriate introduction and on came Jesse and his new band. (This wasn't a Baptised By Fire performance)

My oh my. Everyone here knows how much I hate suffering through the openers. Not tonight. I could have listened to Jesse ALL night long! Couldn't get enough!
How many adjectives do I have...amazing....incredible....electric....engaging....polished!
Jesse Blaze-Snider, once again, knocked my socks off!

He opened with Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire"--I'll have to find out if he has recorded this cuz I would TOTALLY buy it. Cash himself would have approved--it rocked out. Then he played an original called "The Dream"...in which he treated us to one of two of his standing aerial backflips. WOW! All I could think of was, hey Dad...can YOU do this??!!! Impressive! He then played a cover of "Rebel Yell' that I actually PREFERRED over Billy Idol's and then next thing ya know, he jumps off the stage, runs down the center aisle, back to the sound board.

They were definitely having feedback and monitor issues. While there, he continues singing....and realizing suddenly that there isn't a spotlight, he grabs a flashlight from an usher, gives it to a nearby fan, and says: "You're a part of the show now pal, here..hold this!" Brilliant!

Jesse did a little rapping with the audience--I kid you not...close your eyes and it sounds like Dee from the early days. He told us it was his 10-year "dating" anniversary and his daughter's birthday. He dedicated the beautiful original ballad "Go With Me" to his wife, and then had the audience record "HI PATTY!" into his iPhone as a little present to her since she was taking care of the baby. [I remember when Jesse was 4....it still blows me away that he's a father now...] The next song I'm not sure of the title, but it had the refrain "More where you came from" and it just kicked ass! It's my new divorce anthem.

Jesse reminded us that he was a "WARMUP" band, not an opening band....and he warmed us up with a little audience competition of Jingle Bell Rock sing-a-long and closed with a mind-blowing song "Prisoner of Society" that had some absolutely beautiful and complex chord changes.

Jesse Blaze-Snider: LOVE YOU, MAN. It is astounding that many of those musicians on-stage with him had not played live with him before--lots of new band additions and they played so tightly you would have thought that they had been playing for the last ten or fifteen years together. THANK YOU JESSE---proof that there are amazing warmup bands out there. (Hell, I'd come back to see you headline any day!)

Just a quick note: Jesse also shared that one of the reasons his original bass player wasn't there--the bass player's mom was diagnosed with cancer--please join me in saying the prayer of your choice or at least sending good thoughts their way.

They leave the stage, and the same soothing, calming voice announces: "Ladies and Gentlemen. There will now be a fifteen minute intermission." Lovely. Splendid. How delightful.

This was perhaps, one of the most polite and well-behaved crowds I've ever seen in my life. I don't know if it was because of all of the families there....or maybe it was just the city of brotherly (Sisterly?) love..... but when "Long Way to the Top" started playing... I jumped to my feet, started the "Long-Way clap" and looked over my shoulder to see everyone still seated. Now Jesse warned them: Don't sit down when Twisted Sister comes out! I suspect that they just didn't know how a TS show works.

Twisted came onstage at 9:10 pm. We had a new elf addition this year wearing the pink and black elf attire. It was the same, over-the-top set from last year--Santa's Twisted workshop only this time, instead of mini-KISS pulling our Santa-Dee out on the sleigh, it was four young scantily clad lovelies. Santa-Dee showered us with candy canes and condoms. And then...our first shock of the night:

AJ....the MAM.....JJ......and NO EDDIE. Eddie Ojeda contacted the band early that morning, he was rushed into emergency back surgery. Many bands would have simply canceled the show....but not TS. They contacted my new personal hero: Danny McCafferty Danny gets a call a 9:00 am yesterday and was asked to fill in for Eddie that night. While he knows all the TS songs, he didn't know ANY of the Christmas music. Jay Jay spent the entire day with him, teaching him the songs. HE DID A PHENOMENAL JOB. INCREDIBLE. For some of you, getting that type of call may be your biggest fantasy....or worst nightmare... but this fellow not only stepped up to the plate, he hit the ball out of the park.

Before I go too much further: here is your SETLIST:
1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
2. The Kids Are Back
3. White Christmas
4. The Beast
5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (PG-13 version)
6. You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
7. Deck the Halls
8. Shoot 'Em Down
9. Oh Come Oh Ye Faithful (sung to the tune of you know what...)
10. Stay Hungry
11. Burn in Hell
AJ Drum Solo
12. Silver Bells
13. I'll Be Home for Christmas
14. I Wanna Rock
15. Heavy Metal Christmas
16. We're Not Gonna Take It

That's right folks....100 solid minutes of kick your ass rock and roll. Fantastic setlist

The sound: well, it's funny. I could hear clear as a bell....although there was a lot of feedback. This was the first show in 27 years that I didn't need ear plugs. Not sure what that says. The monitors were a mess--Dee had to stop a few times to have them make some adjustments, and it was obvious that Dee could NOT hear himself because he was very pitchy (off-key) on "White Christmas" and "I Saw Mommy...." Dee is one of the top rock voices out there--so I don't fault him. Once they resolved the monitor problems, he was back to great form.

Speaking of "White Christmas"....no fake snow at the Keswick show. I would argue that perhaps they didn't need any....if you count the asbestos that rained on us from the ceiling plaster....instead there was fog. well, why not? It was a foggy night outside, so shit, why not fog inside? Dee gave us a rousing, raunchy 'I Saw Mommy..." only she was fellating Santa Claus. Afterwards, Dee had to comment about the horrified looks he saw on some of the parent's faces.
"Hey....seriously dude, you need to do 'earmuffs' for fellatio? Really? The kid knows what fellatio means? Shit, if he knows the word cunnilingus you're really in trouble!"

Jay Jay proved that Twisted Sister fans are smarter and more cultured than the average bear: he yells out:
"Who lives in a pineapple down under the sea?" [I'm assuming y'all know the answer to that--the crowd sure did!] hysterical. Ok Jay Jay, we'll take funky animation for $200, please. Jay Jay reminded us that this was the fourth annual Twisted gathering of Jews....right there with ya.....that's right. The Armadillo was a Bar Mitzvah in his youth. Being a multi-denominational guitarist, Jay Jay had a new Les Paul--Twisted Sister Christmas wreath on the front side....and Menorah on the back! (well, actually, it was a Channukiah if you want to get accurate...it's a Jew thing. Make that "chhhh" sound like you have to clear phlegm from your throat. honest. the best part about being Jewish is any excuse to make the CCCHHHHH sound.)

Animal knocked me out with his fantastic bass solo: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen..... Finally, I am filled with the Twisted Christmas spirit!

As you've seen from the setlist, they played some good oldies last night--Jay Jay's solo on "Shoot 'em Down" was righteous! It had almost this bluesy feel to it--almost... je ne sais quoi.... almost New Orleans bluesy. Just beautiful.

And of course, the now obligatory "Hava Negilah" played at the end of "Oh Come O Ye Faithful" (for those of you non-Jewish, it's that celebratory Jew theme you hear at all the weddings and bar mitzvahs)

Dee gave us a fun wrap about his creative process for the Christmas Album--I won't spoil it here since he may recount if at the Nokia show. And once again, for at least the third time in the show, everyone gave proper applause and appreciation to Danny McCafferty for his stupendous job stepping in, and for Jay Jay's help in tutoring him all day to prep him for tonight.

Dee DID wear TS makeup, by the way--as he promised at Plymouth MA--but that after the Christmas shows, no more Maybelline. There was loud booing at this announcement--until Dee reminded us all that makeup or not, Twisted Sister is, and always has been, all about great rock and roll. Hear, hear.

We certainly missed Eddie--especially on “Burn in Hell”--there was no baritone/tenor to sing the refrain with MAM's deep growling bass vocals and while we heard some excellent duets between Jay Jay and Danny, and Jay Jay and MAM, we certainly anxiously await Eddie's return. AJ drum solo during “Burn In Hell” was also different tonight-- it was truly sounds of thunder. Out west, the buffalo herds were sometimes called "rolling thunder"--AJ did a solo that I swear, sounded like a galloping herd of buffalo--it was HUGE.

[Which by the way.... I digress here for a moment.... some fool standing in front of me was talking on his cell phone during the drum solo. Really? Like ANYONE can hear ANYTHING during that drum solo! The only thing I could hear was the pounding of that bass drum.....hello? Twisted Sister show? Do you REALLY need to answer that???! ]

Mark Animal Mendoza sounded superb--I think he rolled out a new bass last night--I've mostly been standing near Jay Jay's mike, so maybe I've missed it before, but it's the TS logo with a skull in the middle, and then pieces of the “Come Out and Play” logo superimposed around the side and bottom. Way cool. Rich sound!

Jesse Blaze joined his proud Dad onstage to sing a touching rendition of "I"ll Be Home for Christmas" dedicated to all of our troops abroad. Then the road crew released the giant Christmas ornaments, which knocked many a child over and spilled many a beer. They are fun for about 2 minutes----my personal opinion--deep six these frivolities.

Santa himself joined the stage. Well....okay.... I may be a former Jew....but I know that ain't the real Santa Claus....it looked suspiciously like a member of the road crew...dressed up like an elf....dressed up like Santa. Ever had Turducken? Turkey stuffed with Duck stuffed with Chicken [I have. it's over the top.] Well it was kinda like that. Except Santa forgot to put on his pants. So we had Santa from the waist up. Elf from the waist down. Those poor kids in the audience were traumatized. Actually, for that matter, I found it a bit disturbing too.

Anyhow, Santa's little helper asked the boys what they wanted for Christmas this year:
A.J.: wants a train set. very traditional!
MAM: He wants a GMC pickup, fully loaded. A full set of Mac tools. Some new automatic weapons--also fully loaded.
Jay Jay; very poignant. He wanted the "damn recession to be over so that folks can get their job backs". So true. Let's hope and pray.
Then he added, that his second Christmas wish:
"For Gene Simmons and Donald Trump to exchange hair pieces"

I think world peace may come sooner.

Dee, of course......."I WANNA ROCK!"
He did a very, very funny rap that went so quickly I couldn't capture it...but it basically talked about how back in the day, there were no photo ID's and the drinking age was 18.... and he got the audience very pumped up to finish off the refrain with:
"You know that we know that you know we know you know we know you know how to rock....."

He also pointed out a very festively dressed female Dee lookalike...which led to a incredibly funny rap that ended with "GaGa on this, baby!"

Before the second encore, Eddie Ojeda sent a text that Danny Stanton read onstage:
paraphrasing here, I couldn't get every word....
"I went Under The Blade and I'm coming back. Getting ready to rock. Ya beeeyutch. See Ya soon. Eddie Ojeda"
we were waiting for Eddie to come running out in his hospital gown, IV full of jack in tow.... maybe Nokia we hope.

Again, I know I speak for all of us that we wish Eddie a full and speedy recovery.

We gave many, many well deserved ovations and accolades to Danny McCafferty, our hero of the night and Jay Jay, who Dee described as "the Olympian Ideal of Heavy Metal Rock n' Roll". We also gave props (whoops. no pun intended) to the prop-master and stage designer Kevin, a hail to the road crew and thanks to Danny Stanton, the coolest cucumber in rock and roll.

Despite one or two very intoxicated fools, it was very enjoyable. A very drunk fan seemed to take a liking to yours truly...how do I know she was drunk? She took my picture (oh god it's on facebook out there now, I just know it) and said, "Oh, you look cute!" WOW. NOW THAT'S DRUNK! I just know tomorrow she'll wake up, look at her blurry photos and say, "WTF? who's the old ugly bald guy?" Don't worry sweetie. That's why there's a delete button.

And there you have it. A great show, a fabulous kickoff to the holiday season, and excellent warm-up for the shows to come! While it had its problems last night, I certainly didn't care for a moment. We missed Eddie--we throw the horns to Danny-- and we wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy holiday.

With that. your bleary-eyed road mammal ... hey, it was pouring down buckets when I got home at 2 am.... is trotting off to get some sleep so that I may bring another installment to the Slamboard from the Nokia theatre in glorious New York City December 6th!
See ya there, babies...
Trotting off....

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