Clearfield County Fair, Clearfield PA 08/04/12 
Sunday, August 5, 2012, 11:30 PM
Posted by Administrator
Knowing that many of you A.D.D. folks only have the attention span to read the first paragraph and the setlist, I want to be sure to give you the real meat and potatoes first, and so for you, here it is:

In spite of wretched heat and humidity, torrential rains and high winds that wreaked havoc with some of the technical equipment, Twisted Sister last night did what very few bands anywhere are capable of doing: played 90 incredible minutes of high energy, pure adrenalin heavy metal. Kudos to the thousands of fans who endured miserable conditions--they were rewarded with top notch performances by four bands. Our boys in black and pink proved that they are not only the Kings of Metal in Europe--but they can still dominate in the good ol'
U. S. of A as well.

Alrighty, then. That's time to get down to business.

Here now....for your reading enjoyment....the blog you love to hate and hate to admit that you love....the rock blog with more hype than the iPhone5 (oh, just you wait)....the only concert review that gives you so much information you'll be able to convince your friends you went....keeping you in the loop, giving the inside scoop with all the poop...the blog that makes the other bands jealous because THEY don't have some insane leprechaun that travels around the world with all the concert details you're dying to know...and plenty ya don't...

yes, my babies, it's The Official Armadillo Road Report for the Clearfield County Fair, Pennsylvania, August 4, 2012. The last road report of the summer!

The drive from Baltimore was about five hours due to construction but the scenery of the Pennsylvania countryside was simply lovely. I enjoyed whizzing past the lush rolling hills, dotted with red farmhouses and the occasional fragrance a la livestock. Although I've spent the majority of my life living in various major cities, the country is always a place that relaxes me. Well...sort of. I took a quick fuel & restroom break at a Tom's Gas Stop, and I swear to you--I stepped out of my truck and heard...banjos playing. Wanna make a city boy's cornhole pucker up fast? Play banjos. Fastest pitstop I've ever made....I left skidmarks in the parking lot before they could say, "Y'all come back, now, y'hear?"

By the time I rolled into town, the road crew had already loaded into the fair and was beginning the sound check. Extra special shout out to Rob Star from Adrenalin Mob--Rob is also a part of the Twisted road crew and I somehow forgot to mention him on the Europe reports--but that should not diminish the huge contributions he makes to the band. Love ya, brother!

Speaking of the crew, they were decked out in snazzy new vintage-looking official Twisted road crew shirts courtesy of Sweden lighting engineer Johnny. Very sharp! I was able to catch the drum check, exchange a few bro hugs and pleasantries and headed back to the hotel to do my pre-concert rituals to get ready for the show. There were numerous Twisted sightings about town--Clearfield is not a very large place, but they do like their guns & ammo shops! I counted at least four driving into town...along with churches and fireworks stands. Hmmmm....Clearfield...a place to pray....and blow things up. That's strangely works. Regretfully, I didn't get to stop at the BBQ place just outside of town but I think the fair gave me a pretty interesting slice of life in rural Pennsylvania.

I would not be performing my Road Report duties if I did not give you an accurate description of the grounds--the Clearfield County Fair is the oldest running fair in the United States--152 years to be exact. Dry (alcohol free) for the first 151 years...then along comes Twisted Sister! The fair itself was in a large paved lot and provided many of the things you'd expect at a County Fair: carnival rides, ferris wheel, carneys barking at passer-bys trying to entice them to play various games to win giant stuffed bears and big inflatable hammers. (Don't ask me why, but every fair I've been to, you can win these giant inflatable hammers. Obviously, someone doesn't believe in form follows function) And what County fair wouldn't be without the critters--we had pigs, cows, miniature horses, goats...and here's a new one: Camel rides!

I was particularly drawn to the U.S. Army's displayed armored vehicle, where I overheard the phrase, "will you please let the other children have a turn working the anti-aircraft missile controls?" Only to observe there was a 50-something guy at the wheel. And, no, for the record, it wasn't Animal. Although I didn't get a chance to see the Zerbini Family Circus perform, I did manage to catch a glimpse of Buffo: The World's Strongest Clown. He's a clown. With biceps. In a sleeveless shirt. The kids looked terrified and started screaming. Then I heard banjos...and got the fuck out of there. I'm with you, kids. Clowns and banjos. Nightmares for days ahead. Thanks Buffo. oh, you think I'm kidding? This one's for you, Sick Mutha's.

Alright, alright. I digress.

The concert (yes, there was a concert last night) was held at the racetrack. Through a gated entrance, there was a moderately large, covered grandstand of aluminum bleachers that I'm guessing could hold a couple thousand people, along with a section of uncovered seating below. From there, there was about 30 feet or so of dirt & gravel racetrack, and then on the grassy infield, a small but thankfully sturdy scaffold stage was erected. Behind it, a large parking lot and complex of trailers and portables for band and crew accommodations.

I went on a quest for food--it was late afternoon and I hadn't eaten all day--the fair offered what you'd expect: fried dough, fried pickles, french fries, fried hot dogs on a stick, fried twinkies...and my personal favorite: A fried stick of butter. If I ever decide it's time to check out of this world, that's how I'm going to go. Fried butter. Dayum! I settled for a vegetable crepe (not terrible) but before I could chow it down, the heavens let loose.

I'm convinced that Twisted Sister must put something in the band rider: "Must have severe weather including but not limited to: heavy downpours, high winds, hail, lighting, thunder with the option for tornadoes and flash flooding." It was UGLINESS out there for a good 20 minutes. Fast and furious, the storm came with minimal warning and while most of the crew wisely sought shelter away from the scaffolding, our faithful Twisted sound engineer, George, sheltered-in-place, protecting the sound board under a giant blue tarp and lots and lots of bungee cords.

Severe weather brings severe headaches, and I'm not going to dwell on any of it but as so many outdoor rural concerts (Wichita comes to mind!) the weather did a number on some of technical equipment and made for a challenging show for our crew and band. I'll say it right now--loud and clear--so many other bands out there would have just said, "Screw this! We'll play a short set, get our paycheck and get the hell outta here!" But not our bad boys of rock and roll. Twisted just soldiered on--they managed to overcome every single obstacle thrown their way (and there were many) and still put on a fantastic show. And if you don't believe me, ask the other slamboarders who were there--they'll vouch for me. More on that later.

Once the rain cleared and the crew began pushing vast amounts of water off the stage, I ventured out onto the track which was now a soft, muddy swathe covered in gravel. It was like standing in a kitty litter box. The soggy fans began pouring into the front stage area and it was obvious that many of them were just plain soaked to the core. Gotta love TS fans--true grit!

The opening act was not on the original bill--Curbside Hustle, from NYC. I kept thinking to myself....where have I heard of them before? I scribbled down that they were "perfect hot weather music" (the mugginess and humidity about now was murderous!) Curbside Hustle had a young, beautiful and quite talented lead female vocalist who sang duet with their other lead-- a bit Joe Cocker-esque sounding--together they had a nice, bluesy feel with good, strong hard rocking roots. They were just how I like an opening act--tightly played, strong stage presence without seeming artificial, well-rehearsed and no frills--and just good music. It wasn't until I saw the lovely lead singer back at the sound board wearing original TS colors that I remembered where I had heard of Curbside Hustle before-- this was Eddie Ojeda's daughter, Michelle! Obviously, the talent gene has been passed down to her, and I'm certain she has a long, solid career in music ahead of her. An added treat to see Curbside Hustle--check them out at where you can download some of their music.

As the band changeover quickly occurred, the whirring of farm equipment being test-driven drowned out the moo-ing of cows. And occasionally...the screaming of small children. I'm not sure if that was from the carnival rides....or Buffo....

Next up we were once again treated to the vocal talents of Jaclyn Quatela. This is my third or fourth time now hearing this set, and I was quite pleased to see the crowd giving Jaclyn and her band some well deserved love--with all of the cookie-monster metal opener bands out there, it's really nice when a crowd appreciates good vocals. Women rockers have it tough! When you have an audience that has never seen the act before but they sing along--that's a really good sign! The crowd definitely enjoyed the Foo Fighters cover "Best of You" and I've decided that the original song "This is Me Without You" should become a post-divorce theme song. A few lucky fans got some free swag tossed their way, and we were now two for two: two opening acts that demonstrated that girls rock just as hard as the boys!

Right on schedule at 8:00 P.M. was Great White. I've seen Great White at a number of festivals before--last night was one of the best performances I've seen them bring! They drew a really nice crowd and delivered all of the familiar hits that folks were waiting to hear: "House of Broken Love" played soulful and bluesy along with a really tight "Save Your Love." The band looked really relaxed on stage--clearly having a good time which is so nice to see! I absolutely hate it when big name bands "phone it in"--I'm not going to name which bands, but I've seen it happen with top-bill draws--so to see a band as successful as Great White playing hard, sounding well and enjoying themselves with some onstage and audience chemistry--it's a good thing!

Great White played a new single, "I've Got Something For You" along with the heavier crowd pleaser "Rock Me." There was a bit of silliness in which band members starting capturing video of the crowd from the stage...then of each other...then of each other capturing video of...each other... but hey, it's a County Fair. Silliness encouraged. They closed with "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" to a very soggy but appreciative crowd who had now filled up most of the litter box, er...race track...uhh, I mean, General Admission area and the grandstands were also rapidly filling up in spite of the weather. Great White...Great job!

The Twisted Colors were then raised behind the drum riser--maybe I'm watching too much Olympic coverage, but it reminded me of Old Glory being raised during the Gold Medal ceremonies. Instead of the national anthem, I think we need to petition for some Twisted "banner" raising music. I'll salute.

At 9:35 PM, the signal was given and off we go...the LAST Twisted Sister show of the Summer Tour 2012! I always get an intense surge of adrenalin when I hear the opening chords of "Long Way to the Top" and my heart was beating a mile a minute when Twisted's own Mr. Gerber introduced the boys onstage .... "..from New York City...." [I'm waiting for "let's get ready to rrrrrrrrumble!"]

You've seen the setlist (posted last night), "What You Don't Know" is the standard opener and it really is a dramatic way for the band to enter! Eddie delivered an excellent solo--I just love that moment in WYDK when all three guitarists are lined up and just pumping away, their arms furiously working in unison, Animal just pounding away. If I may use a carnival metaphor here...AND I MAY...BECAUSE....WE'RE AT A FRICKIN' CARNIVAL......the opening bars of WYDK are like the first few seconds of the roller coaster when it's climbing to the top of the incline...then HIT IT! and you're accelerating down the first hill and by the peak of the coaster, you've built up so much speed and momentum that your stomach is in your throat, your heart is going a hundred miles and hour and when the ride comes to a stop, you realize that you're sweating vigorously, breathing hard and think you're going have a heart attack! You turn to the guy next to you and say, "HOLY SHIT! that was AWESOME! Let's do it again!"

And again we went... "The Kids Are BacK" is an old school fave. I was a bit disappointed in the crowd response where I was--I'm trying to be a little forgiving because for almost everyone I met there, it was their first time seeing Twisted and knew only a few songs. A few exceptions to the rule however--a big Road Report shout out to all of the Slamboarders in attendance who I could always spot because they're the ones going nuts with their fists in the air and screaming out the lyrics! Shout out to Josh from Pittsburgh and his rockin' Mom (and a happy 17th birthday to him as well! Go Mom--job well done!), Corey from Canada, John & his family (sorry I missed you but I know you were there rockin'...and literally just texted me as I was typing his name...oooh...spooky!), SMF Cyndi, Brian (MetalNY) and our very own Heavy Metal royalty, Da' Mayor, Donna from CT. (hopefully I haven't missed anyone this time!)

Dee worked the crowd magic as he always does--thanking everyone for coming, because "if [they] paid attention to the weather channel..and only losers do..." [Uhhh, Dee? Some of us weather geeks rock...just sayin'... ] He quoted the forecast: "Heavy rain...thunder...high winds...hail..." But gave props to all of the fans who braved the rain and weather and didn't mind getting a little bit wet (okay, well...a lot wet) to see Twisted Sister!

There were so many Dee-isms that you'll just have to youtube the damn show to get them all, because it was dark and humid, and there's just so much I can capture in shorthand--but Dee acknowledged, "the largest handicapped section!" Also known as the "grandstand." I don't know--maybe they ate too much fried dough and were physically weighed down--but I saw WAY too many butts in the seats. I honestly think Twisted should put in the next rider: "Must remove all ability for people to ass plant!"

I left the first few rows of the crowd to get a better sound experience so I went back to the Sound Board--I was pleased to see that there was a really decent turnout in both the grandstand and the general admission--albeit a sitting one--and Dee informed the crowd that he is, in fact, an ordained minister: "I am...I did it online....just had to sign my name after I took the course..." and announced that he would be performing some miracles on the handicapped section!

I heard laughter behind me...but still butts in the seats. Hmmmmm....not to take away from Dee's ministry, but I think we needed some serious faith healing in that stand. And it came in the form of "Wake Up The Sleeping Giant". I know that I've been a vocal critic of the "Love Is For Suckers" album, but this is my favorite track and it is one of the most earth-thumping, gravel-stirring, boot-stomping tracks ever.

Another unexpected treat--one of the songs that often gets a last minute switcheroo off the setlist was "I Believe in Rock N' Roll" off of "Come Out and Play." Although not their best cut off that album, it plays SO much better live than it does on vinyl. It's a very patriotic, almost god-loving song, and it got a really interested response from the crowd when Dee sang the lines "I pledge allegiance, to the Unites States of Rock" and "Even God loves rock and roll..." Perfect Twisted track for the Clearfield County Fair.

Afterwards, Dee surveyed his work thus far....and as our official ordained minister (he says he's done at least two ceremonies) he welcomed us all to the "Church of Rock...the Church of Twisted Sister!" prompting some of the better Dee-isms of the night: "I don't know what church you belong to, but if that's how you respond in church...your church must suck! In our church we SCREAM!" And that got the crowd going a lot louder, and I saw a few more fans standing on the bleachers...whatever.

They launched into "You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll" with Eddie getting the crowd fired up during the opening riff. Finally I saw the type of crowd that we've come to expect at a Twisted Sister show--there were a lot of fists flying (for the record...fists thrown in the air...not at each other) and in spite of a few more technical challenges, the band remained ever professional and it was full steam ahead!

Jay Jay announced what many of us knew--this was the last show of the summer tour--and that 2012 was the "best year of our lives!" I couldn't agree more--the European summer shows were some of the most incredible Twisted Sister moments I've ever had. (and hell, for that matter, best moments of my life too!) He gave the crowd a quick history of the Twisted Sister reunion tour--the 9/11 Widows' benefit, the USO Korea show for the troops and the tour that has thrilled and fulfilled so many of us. He thanked the troops, and reminded everyone that our armed forces "put their asses on the line" protecting our freedoms, and encouraged all in attendance to exercise that right to vote (regardless of party lines!) Here, here.

Our own Mr. French delivered one of his now famous "American Idol" rants--reminding folks that while they may text in a vote to support their "Idol" for their 15-weeks of "struggling" to the top, he gave props by name to many of the bands who have been sticking together and rocking hard for more than 35 years...earning an appreciative roar from those in attendance. And with that, he announced, "this is why we do what we do...." and launched into a very hot version of "The Fire Still Burns." Absolutely fantastic guitarwork--heavy and pounding!

"Shoot 'em Down" is one of those songs that you absolutely must see live in order to fully capture the essence of the man...the beast...the Animal....Mark Mendoza! I know that every single report I write accolades upon accolades about what Mark does to his bass, but until you are right there (especially up front) and feeling the intense wave of sound that moves your shirt, rattles your teeth and affects your insides (don't say I didn't warn you!), you can't imagine how powerful his bass is. If you are lucky enough (or in some cases, unlucky enough) to be really close, you can actually hear the impact on the bass strings. It's just incredible, and if nothing else, you've got to find a way to see them live to really appreciate what this man does with his instrument. 'Nuff said!

"We're Not Gonna Take It" is always a crowd pleaser, and I finally saw plenty of signs of life when A.J. gave us some opening cowbell. Eddie delivered another great solo--and a nice moment of guitar synchonicity between him and Jay Jay--A.J. gave us some flourish to close out the song, and it almost had everyone on their feet. Well...almost. Damn that "handicapped section." [FYI--there were a number of folks there in wheelchairs--they were all upfront and I could see them rockin' out hard! Dee gave them due props as well]

Dee mentioned how Twisted has traveled the world--and many of these huge European festivals were so caught up in the fury of WNGTI that they couldn't...and wouldn't...stop singing the "chorii" [Dee-ism for plural of choruses] In appreciation, Twisted played the refrain twice. But he announced, "We're disappointed! This is U.S. of A! Pennsylvania...where America began..." and the response they got to WNGTI?!!! In Dee's words... "meh."
He chastised the crowd--"Stand UP for America! STAND UP for Twisted Sister!" and finally....Dee does what he does so remarkably well--he won over an entire crowd of hot, tired, wet, post-consumed fried-dough fair goers and the entire place was on their feet and cheering!

In another comical moment, Dee shared with us that he was originally told it was okay to curse, even though it was a family fair. So Dee does what he does...and before long, concert promoters were frantically running to management asking him to stop cursing! In his words, he is a "professional curser..having been arrested for it!" Dee gave an apology to the parents--and addressing the many youngsters in the audience, "it's not like you haven't heard it before! Your parents say it all the time..." and although the band probably never heard it, there was a ten-year old standing on the bleachers behind me shouting his approval and agreement! Hilarious.

Some hardcore S.M.F.'s in the front were screaming for "The Price," and Dee took a moment to ask a couple in the front, "Someone out there is requesting 'The Price'....was it you? Well, this is for you...and your girlfriend...because she has a great rack..." Hey, a dedication is a dedication. It must have been one inspiring set of ta-tas because I'm gonna tell ya, Dee sounded INCREDIBLE on the opening lines of "The Price." He belted it out--gave me goosebumps, especially when the sunrise of butane lighters came up. Very nice, Clearfield!

"Burn In Hell" treated us all to the now standard red-lit spooky-voice Dee, who sounded extra scary tonight. (Gave Buffo a run for his money! Sleep tight, kids!) Props to Marty on the lighting board---cuz, yep--I DID notice that little extra sumpin' sumpin' you gave with the side lighting during the refrain. And FINALLY--a drum solo! I really missed A.J.'s drum solo the last few times when it was cut from the set. Maybe he had some pent up energy too, because it was mind-blowing! He beat those drums so hard there were parts flying off the set (it's true. I think a cymbal almost took out his son!) I love seeing the reaction on the faces of first-time Twisted concert goers when they see and hear A.J.'s solo--Fantastic!

Dee segued into "I Wanna Rock..." with a quirky hushed moment of...
"Hmmm....let's see..what was it I wanted to ? I wanna eat....wanna sleep...wanna have sex... oh wait...I know what it was I wanna do....."
we all know what that is... "I Wanna Rock!" Whether you're an old schooler or just you know two songs, "I Wanna Rock" is always delivered with a tremendous burst of energy--honestly--it's explosive! (without the C4) Dee suddenly asked for the lights to be turned on...and had to just take a moment to pause.
and admonish.
yep. that "handicapped section" again.
Dee: "Okay, Class....You're really harshing my mellow..." [I didn't think Dee HAD a mellow...]
He acknowledged the folks at the top of the bleachers who were rocking hard--"I see you in the're too good for them up there! You belong down here!" He even gave a "Shame on you!" to those fans still sitting. And finally.... maybe that's what it took...every fan rose to their feet. "I Wanna Rock!" ended the set with thousands of screaming, jumping fist-throwing fans, just as it should be.

I truly don't understand why people attend a show like Twisted Sister, and think they can sit down...or worse sneak off to the parking lot for a fast getaway before they deliver the encores! Dee called them out--especially a couple who made a bee-line for the exit, with Dee shouting after them, "Going home to masturbate?...Cuz' I can tell she ain't doing it for ya.... just sayin'...." I'd like to point out, that a good number of folks headed for the exit spun on their heels and stuck around for the encores. I did hear a couple to my left exclaim, "Quick....let's get to the car...but don't let him see us..."

Twisted Sister golden rules: Always stand up. Don't be a douche. Don't leave before the show is over.

For the encores, another excellent rendition of "Come Out and Play." I always like the little pause between "Don't be afraid....of...the...." Dee does the quarterback head swivel to make sure everyone is at their mic...prompting a little "hello boys!" from Dee... followed by his primal scream into the song! Great solo by Jay Jay on COAP--another song that you really must hear live to fully appreciate how fast it is! One fan held up the COAP album cover--which Dee acknowledged while singing the refrain.

One S.M.F. was holding up an "I Am, I'm Me" sign throughout the show, and even though I knew it wasn't on the setlist, even I was secretly Dee pointed out the sign, and said, "Well, I've never done this before, but here..." and he sang just the opening line of "I Am, I'm Me" and said, "that's just for you." Bonus!

Dee asked the crowd, "Do you want some more!?!" [of course, we do! But remember the other Twisted Golden Rule...when Dee asks if you want something, always say yes!]
Dee: "You hestitated....some of you hesitated.... so this last not for you!"

He gave us some of the funniest raps of the night (definitely worth staying for!) Dee acknowleged all five original members on stage as A.J. counted them off for good measure--yep...there's five! As Dee oftened reminds audiences, there are plenty of 80's bands on reunion tours these days, but very few of them have all of their original lineup.

Per Dee, "When you're dead, you have a good excuse not to attend the reunion...." Other bands whine to him about how hard it is to get THEIR bands together...they're busy...they fight... This is TWISTED SISTER, though! There are NO excuses.
Mark "Animal" Mendoza actually brought a gun to the first reunion rehearsal. (true story!) Dee then tells us (whispering) "I bought a gun too....but shhhh....don't tell him...." But all is good now, per Dee "We shoot together...we ride together...we ride and shoot together..." Prompting a high-five between Mark and Dee--for many of us who read and watched the stories of the bad blood that happened many years ago, to see the comaraderie onstage is just fantastic.

The gun comment seemed to be a popular one with this fair going crowd---Dee observed what I had noted earlier--Clearfield has a lot of places to buy guns...and trucks...including a local truckstop, where he saw "lots of magazines about guns and trucks...but no GQ...not that I needed one..."

After introducing the Sound of Thunder, A.J. Pero...he intro'd the "man with the gun collection" Mark "Animal" Mendoza....and then gave props to Eddie's daughter, Michelle--and to Eddie, who was about to celebrate a birthday in less than 2 hours, so the entire audience sang "Happy Birthday" to Eddie! You know, Rock N' Roll and Father Time aren't kind to many in the business, but damn these guys have aged well! Jay Jay (who we know, just turned 60) and Eddie look so remarkably young. We should all be so lucky.

Jay Jay, introduced to us as "Revolution on Guitar", gave the introduction to the man, who he admitted, has had many things said about him (and most from Jay Jay's own lips) as Dee danced behind him, giving him the double bird....."The man who writes the soundcheck of our lives....Lady Gaga's illegitimate dad...Dee Fuckin' Snider!"
And with that, Dee closed out the show with the song that has made the band a "lethal fucking weapon...S.M.F.!"

My undying love and respect to all of the Twisted Sister road crew--the hardest working men in rock and roll--you know I love you guys! Marty, George, Duane, Rikk, Junior, Rob (and extra props to Rob, once more, along with Mike, who had to tell me his name about fifteen times) and anyone I've accidentally forgotten! A shout out and a wave to the lovely first ladies of rock--the wives, girlfriends and daughters of the band and road crew who came out to the show this time around.

And of course, my undying gratitude to Danny and Joe, who allow me the opportunity to live the dream, time and time again, and to all of the boys in the band. There just aren't enough words to express my appreciation.

A special shout out to Andy May, the young drummer from a local band called "Speedtrap" with umlauts over the "a"....It's really heartwarming to see young people who have a strong passion for 80's heavy metal, and are willing to keep the torch alive. Check them out at their facebook page, and give 'em a "like" to show them you support young folks playing the songs us old folks love!

Wishing safe travels to all of the S.M.F.s on their journeys home--my road trip back was a bit dicey with stormy weather, and for the second time, I lost power while typing the road report once home!

An so, let's take a moment to review our evening, shall we?
It poured...from the front row to the fried dough, it rocked. Twisted Sister delivered the goods once more, playing to an appreciative throng of thousands at the 152nd Clearfield County Fair. Whether you came to hear old school Twisted at their best, or the radio hits that made them famous, no one left disappointed. Twisted Sister is not simply an 80's band reunited--Twisted Sister is a rock and roll experience that leaves everyone hungry for more! But sadly, it's the end of the summer road--Clearfield, PA, thanks for closing out the summer with boys in black and pink!

I hope you've all enjoyed the 2012 tour reports--it's my honor to deliver them to you, and I hope that I could bring a little bit of the concert to your corner of the world, so that if you couldn't make the show, you felt like you were right there with me.

This is Armadillo, your faith road reporter, signing off for the summer.
Until the next tour, my babies!

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Setlist for Clearfield County Fair, PA, 08/04/12 
Sunday, August 5, 2012, 12:52 AM
Posted by Administrator
Ladies and Gentlemen--
Your somewhat soggy end-of-summer setlist:

1. What You Don't Know
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
4. Wake Up The Sleeping Giant
5. I Believe in Rock N' Roll
6. You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
7. The Fire Still Burns
8. Shoot 'em Down
9. We're Not Gonna Take It
10. The Price
11. Burn In Hell
Drum Solo
12. I Wanna Rock
13. Come Out and Play
Band Introductions
14. S.M.F.
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Last show of the summer! 
Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 10:18 PM
Posted by Administrator
That's right, my babies...we're finally at the last show of the summer! Twisted Sister will be headlining the Clearfield County Fair, PA this Saturday, August 4th--the local newspaper estimates the fair draws 100,000 people each year, so let's pack the fairgrounds from the front row to the fried dough!

See you Saturday-- no better way to end the summer!
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Graspop Metal Meeting (GMM) Dessel, Belgium, June 23, 2012 
Sunday, June 24, 2012, 06:18 PM
Posted by Administrator
It has been eight long years since our boys in black and pink graced the stage in Belgium--and 17 years of waiting to finally play Graspop--but one thing is for certain: Graspop and its fans will never be the same again. According the Belgian press, numbers are still being calculated from yesterday, but they estimated it was at a bare minimum that well more than 45,000 headbangers crammed into the grounds of the Graspop Metal Meeting (GMM) on the day before to experience heavy metal's finest--Twisted Sister gave everything they had onstage Saturday night, by the end of their site, fans were furiously chanting for more, singing the refrain of "We're Not Gonna Take It" long after the band had played its last encore. Belgian blogs and newspapers today hailed Twisted Sister as the highlight of Graspop--it was arguably one of the top, most mind-blowing festival performances I've ever seen.

Now that you've got the reader's digest version, it's time, my babies. Yes, time for whole enchilada...the grande fromage...the "War and Peace" of rock blogs.... the often replicated and occasionally decimated, the only blog that gives you entirely too much information....yes, here now for your reading enjoyment, it's time for the:

Official Armadillo Road Report: Graspop Metal Meeting, Dessel Belgium, June 23, 2012.

Belgium is known for many things over in the United States-- beer, waffles, fine chocolates and Graspop. In fact, all four of those important words (beer/waffle/chocolate/Graspop) pretty much translated identically from English to Flemish and beer notwithstanding, since I'm a retired drunk of 20 years, I found that I could have a wonderful interaction anywhere I went by basically saying those words.

My journey in Belgium began ahead of the rest of the crew and band as I opted to stay in Europe for the week and took a much needed holiday in Brugge. (Bruges) It seemed as though every person I chatted up on the plane from Madrid....and then the train from Brussels...had either been to Graspop, was going to Graspop, or knew someone going to Graspop. Even in the most unsuspecting places--such as just outside the steps of the Basilica in historic Brugges--the holy place holding the ancient relic of the blood of Christ--I said "Graspop" and suddenly, everyone around me excitedly began to talk of the festival.

A group of local Belgian tourists who didn't speak a lot of English--when they heard me say "Graspop," gave me a thumbs up. After which, I said "Wafel?" and they then pointed their thumbs in the direction of the closest walk-up waffle cafe, who gladly served me up the sweet delight for just 2 Euros. Belgium, ladies and gentleman. Come for the heavy metal, but stay for the waffles. Days later, my messenger bag now loaded with boxes of chocolate, I hauled my luggage onto the train for the 90 minute trek to Antwerp where I met up with the rest of the Twisted road crew who was resting comfortably after their long flights following their midwest concert.

The Graspop festival...or more accurately....the Graspop Metal Meeting (GMM) as it is hailed--is absolutely enormous. As we drove down the main road, through the quaint town of Dessel, we saw hundreds upon hundreds of headbangers walking on foot from parking lots, camping areas and even the surrounding residential neighborhood. (the residents, by the way, get free tickets to the show and the producers fence in the entire road to reduce any, shall we say...environmental impacts....on the shrubs and houses.) It resembled a heavy metal pilgrimage--travelers from hundreds and thousands of miles away, all descending upon Graspop to celebrate our passion and love for the music that makes our hearts beat faster and heads bang harder.

The festival grounds were typical of most European shows--concessions around the perimeter, an ample number of beer tents (and I've heard from many that the beers in Belgium are extraordinarily good!), glorious merch, merch and more merch, two huge purple circus tents and at my count, three stages plus one performance tent. If I had just one criticism, it was that the bands were often playing simultaneously, which meant that you sometimes had to choose between bands if there were two that struck your interest during the same time slot.

The Graspop staff, crews and an army of volunteers were wonderful, hard-working, gracious hosts--making sure our Twisted five and faithful crew had whatever they needed. [ A quick shout-out to volunteer Vincent, who helped me navigate the grounds to locate J.P. from the slamboard.] I stopped by the catering tent--black carpet, black walls, black tablecloths, black chairs....everyone dining was dressed in (what else?) black.... it was like an experiment in heavy metal camouflage.

After eating my weight in creme brulee, I lumbered through the crowd and joined up with my UK Road Report correspondent, Funtazia Dave as well as slamboarders J.P. and Kristof. We watched Megadeth play from the risers (what Dave affectionately calls: "the cabbage patch") and I'm gonna tell you something, those folks in the wheelchair section were rocking out and rocking hard!

I popped backstage--the guitar technicians worked quickly to get the sound check perfect--there is something just plain impressive about seeing guitar technician Mehtis, hand an instrument over top the giant stack of Marshall amps. Seriously--I'd need a cherry picker and an extension ladder.

I did get a sneak peak at Animal's bass--and spied something I'd never seen before--on the reverse side of his bass, he has an incredibly cool graphic of himself playing the bass! It's really amazing--I snapped a quick a photo of it--I'll try to post it here if I can.

The Graspop fans are absolutely sick and twisted--just how we like it--but I opted to take this one in from the side of the stage. With what appeared to be an infinite sea of crazy headbangers, the front row did not seem like a good option for yours truly. I noticed that many of the fans were wearing red cowboy hats (not exactly what I think of as typical Belgian flair) They were some type of promotional item by one of the festival sponsors--by the end of the night, there seemed to be more red cowboy hats sailing through the air than being worn on heads.

In the bizarre and "only at Graspop" category, I spotted three young fans decked out in fuzzy brown bear suits. (No Goldilocks, sorry...) and one in the mosh pit wearing a white furry polar bear hat. I think it may be the first time I've said, "Holy shit, there's a bear in the pit!"

After Megadeth left the stage, there was an intense surge of fans. It was as though the main stage had an enormous magnet, and tens upon tens of thousands of fans were caught in the tractor beam. Within minutes, fans crammed up against the barricades of the main stage and were packed in solid--almost all the way to the back of the fence by the main gate.

When "Long Way to the Top" came on at 9:05 PM, it's almost impossible for me to describe the spectacle before me. To see thousands and thousands of fists raised in the air....and hear the deafening screaming of those same metalheads--I felt as though I had arrived at my metal mecca: Graspop.

I don't know if it was because Twisted had to play louder and harder just to be heard over the fans, but when they launched into "What You Don't Know," it felt like the acceleration of a roller coaster. Dee's hair feverishly flying everywhere....Animal pounding his bass, Eddie and Jay Jay flanking Mark, pumping on their guitars faster than I have ever seen them play before. I don't know the specifics of A.J.'s drum kit, but it was REMARKABLY loud and deep.

I had a difficult vantage point--stage right is notoriously challenging for both sound and "view"--but it was worth it just to see the crowd. Sometimes it takes a few songs for a crowd to "warm up." Not Graspop. From the first chord, these fans were doing exactly what Twisted expects from every fan--those fans gave the bad boys of rock n' roll as much energy as they could. Within minutes, there were fans floating and rolling atop the crowd, red cowboy hats a flyin', bears moshing....pandemonium!

Even though there quite a few young folks in the crowd, it was obvious that Graspop was home to many Old School aficionados. When they roared into "The Kids Are Back," I could see hundreds of fans in the front rows singing along. Dee dropped to his knees at one point, the back of his shirt vibrating each time A.J. hit that kick drum--I looked out at the crowd and I swear, I think every single person, including the waffle chef, was rocking out to Twisted!

Dee announced that "It's been eight years" since they last played Belgium, and "Sorry it's been so long!" This was Twisted's first appearance at Graspop, and something tells me it won't be their last. Dee told the crowd that they added something to the setlist from "Love Is For Suckers"... followed by "well, one person's excited...." But not true! When they played the opening riff of "Wake Up the Sleeping Giant," the crowd was a sea of Radio-Ga-Ga clapping hands--a site so gloriously sychronized--I almost felt as though the enormous throng of fans were tapping into to some central consciousness. It's a sense of unity that I can attest is not often seen at American festivals--there is a feeling of universal metal brother and sisterhood. Eddie's solo? A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

Eddie strode to the center platform of the stage to kick off "You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll" and the response of the crowd was relentless. I could see the beginning of a mosh pit as the young folks in attendance tapped into what we old schoolers already knew--Twisted Sister is hardcore and heavy. Jay Jay's solo blew the sugar right off my waffel. (look, it's Belgium, it's's the end of the European road for yours truly...and I'm running out of rock and roll euphemisms.) As they struck the final chord, Dee screamed out our battle cry, "You can't stop Twisted Sister either!" So true indeed.

Jay Jay waived a concert poster in the air--he read off the absolutely incredible list of all of the bands that were sharing the stage and playing Graspop--it was yet another impressive who's who of heavy metal, and Jay Jay commented that every band on the bill should be grateful to play to such fantastic fans.

We had a change in the setlist tonight, and Graspop's old schoolers were treated to "Shoot 'Em Down." The moshpit human blender was starting to really fire up--and as Animal smacked his bass, I heard the couple behind me gasping in disbelief, saying, "Look at that bass player! How can he do that?!! I've never seen anything like that!" Welcome to Twisted Sister, my friends.

Now I have to just tell you--I've now heard "We're Not Gonna Take It" played live...oh, I dunno....maybe forty or fifty times now.....and it always kicks ass, so it's sometimes hard to find new descriptors for it. But this time? Let me tell you how hard WNGTI rocked. Every person from the front row to the rear gate was pounding their fist in the air. The frickin' waffles were flattened into pancakes. The garden gnomes in the nearby neighborhood were throwing the horns. The U.S. Geological Service called...they felt the earth Alaska. The hundred or so unconscious fans were resuscitated. Zombies woke from their graves. All the hair on my head fell out. (okay, so I'm exaggerating...well...except the last one. that one is truth.)

Eddie played a brilliant solo as Mark and Jay Jay lined up beside him. The crowd noise was unbelievable--to be able to hear an outdoor crowd singing overtop of the incredibly loud music--that takes talent.

Even Dee commented, "You are some loud mutha fuckas!" as he lead the crowd in singing, a Capella, the refrain. It was the loudest crowd I've ever heard, and they absolutely refused to stop singing "We're Not Gonna Take It," prompting a highly entertained and appreciative Dee to remark, "Ya know, we could do this all night!"

He announced that they were now going to play something off the first album, prompting Dee to joke "wait, there's now 6 people who know that one...." then realized he was jumping ahead of himself on the setlist, because the next song up was "The Price."

Like most fans, I just plain love this song. It has personal meaning for so many of us, and I just can't keep still. I have to sway and rock--and when I looked out and saw thousands and thousands of swaying arms--it made me gasp. When Dee asked for the lighters to come out--it was the first time since 1986 that I saw a true ocean of butane flames. (smoking apparently still en vogue in Europe) It was sprinkled with a few cell phones, but the wave of swaying lighters-the stage filled with soft pink-lit fog- was just breathtakingly beautiful.

If I can find any youtube from the stage vantage, I'll post it here. The rows of waving arms reminded me of a giant human wheatfield, moving in unison from the force of nature before them. I'm going to freeze that moment in time, place it into my memory vault, and hold onto it for those days ahead when I need to feel some inner strength.

As a heavy (artificial) fog rolled in onstage, the familiar bass rumble revealed that "Burn In Hell' was up next. We had a little momentary lighting glitch which Dee managed to turn an awkward moment into an entertaining one...and this crowd was clearly aching to hear "Burn In Hell." As Jay Jay and Eddie furiously dueled back and forth, crowd surfers rolled across the top surface of hands and heads in a motion that I can only describe as graceful and smooth.

Another welcome return to the setlist--"Under The Blade"--was dedicated to the mosh pit--and before long, there was a swirling mass of humanity, circling and moshing in the center of the crowd. And unlike some of today's younger crowds who seem to use mosh pits as an excuse to inflict pain on others, the Belgians really know how to mosh! It brought back memories of my own younger days, and I had a moment of nostaliga, watching old school metalheads rocking out with a pit I dubbed "the Belgian Blender" whirling behind them.

Given the energetic response that the fans were giving Twisted--I knew that "I Wanna Rock!" was going to be extraordinary. As Dee belted out the line, "there's nothing else that I would rather do," the fans were now screaming out the lyrics and every single fist was pumping in the air (including one fist decked out in a Spiderman mask! What the hell?) As the crowd began to chant, "Rock...Rock....Rock" growing in crescendo, prompting Dee to yell, "louder! I want all the other bands backstage to hear you!"

And just as Dee was about to give it that last big push to the finish--he looks over and yells, "YOU! Stop Eating!" Really. Didn't that guy read my last road report? Seriously, dude. Even *I* freakin' put down the waffles for an hour!

Dee polled the Belgians (after all, he has polled audiences all over the world...and it's been awhile since he was in Belgium) whether they'd like to rock....or fuck..... No contest there. We did sing a few rousing verses of "I Wanna Fuck" and by the end of, the fans were doing the pogo....bouncing up and down....the blender swirling...the fans surfing and flying above...fists and hair everywhere.

As Twisted said goodnight, the crowd was chanting, "We want more! We want more!" No band at Graspop experienced this--there was no way there were going to let them off without an encore.

With only time left for just one song, the intros were quick and the fans were given exactly what they wanted: "S.M.F. " A.J. absolutely pounded on this one--his drums sounded phenomenal all night, but on S.M.F., they were particularly mammoth. Eddie and Jay Jay played it with everything they had, and if you had seen Mark's microphone by the end of the set--he took the mic and pounded it onto his bass--the stand looked like an archery bow by the song's end.

Dee was so caught up in the moment, that when he knocked his stand over, it actually floated out onto the audience. I had an absolute pucker moment...I had visions of that pink mic stand drifting out to sea in that crowd....but kudos to you, S.M.F.s, you graciously floated it right back to Dee onstage.

As Twisted headed off to the dressing room, I heard the announcer tell the crowd to stay tuned, Limp Bizkit was next....and the BOOOOO that came from that crowd stunned me. After the booing, the crowd broke into "We're Not Gonna Take It" again, and they continued to sing it for a good five to ten minutes, paying tribute to those in the black and pink who just rocked the living hell out of Graspop. I have never seen that before. Just

And so my I live and breath...and this is the honest truth: I scribbled into my notepad: "TS proved why they are the undeniable kings of the live stage" and I almost fell off my chair this afternoon when I pulled up translations of the Belgian newspapers, and read: "Twisted Sister as Graspop prove they are kings of live metal bands." WHOA. That's kinda freaky. Wonder if it was that guy looking over my shoulder.... nah. no way he can read my shorthand. Even those who don't know Twisted Sister could not deny the spectacle we saw at Graspop. The old school S.M.F.s will turn to their friends and exclaim, "See? NOW do you understand?" And the younger set...the ones who may only know Twisted Sister from video games and reality television shows, will never forget what they experienced as Graspop--they will tell their friends about the day that this incredible band of five New Yorkers blew every other band off the stage.

And that, my friends, was Graspop.

It brings my European tour to a close--four shows in four counties in three weeks (Five shows in Five Countries for Twisted, counting Iowa). A chance to experience road crew "fantasy camp" first hand. My love and profound gratitude to all of the band, crew and fellow fans who made it possible.

Love to all my S.M.F. brothers and sisters--safe travels to the band and crew in Russia and Norway for next week's shows--as for me, see you in Pennsylvania, my babies!

This is Armadillo, your faithful road reporter, trotting off to pack my bags and head on home.

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standby folks...technical difficulties 
Sunday, June 24, 2012, 06:17 PM
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