Via Funchal, Sao Paulo Brazil 11/27/10 
Saturday, November 27, 2010, 11:01 PM
Posted by Administrator
Sao Paolo BRAZIL, 11/27/10
Hola, Bom Gia and Buenos Dias
I am finally back on U.S. soil, and it’s time… once again…. my S.M.F. brothers and sisters, for the literary masturbation chock full of useless information for my enjoyment and yours….that exercise in excessiveness you have come to know as “The Armadillo Road Report.” There were so many amazing and fun factoids this trip, that this may take more than one installment—Sao Paulo was an extraordinary experience. I filled three notebooks worth--I'll try to give you a synopsis here worthy of my Slamboard readers.

It all began with an 11 am flight on Thanksgiving Day. My parents drove me to the airport, with my mother lamenting my absence at the Thanksgiving table, but as she put it: “Well, I guess we can’t compete with Twisted Sister.” Sick Mother Fuckers over Mother's supper, I'm sorry to say. If the band and crew could sacrifice spending the holiday with their loved ones, then I certainly could as well. And so after a short 2 ½ hour flight to Miami, I was off on the red eye—4,888 miles from Florida to Sao Paolo, Brazil. With just 2 hours sleep under my belt, the red eye landed 7:30 am Black Friday, and the first day of living vicariously began. Sao Paulo is the world’s third largest city—it has a definite “New York” feel to it—and my thrilling 2 hour ride from the airport entertained me to no end, watching the “motoboys”—motorcycle delivery messengers, zip by the taxi as they split lanes. My hotel afforded me a beautiful view of one of several suspension bridges, illuminated at night by pulsing colored lights. (including, what else? Pink!)

SMF Felipe (a.k.a. Freakrocker) met me at my hotel, and provided me with the ultimate Sao Paulo experience. A true S.M.F. ambassador, Felipe speaks flawless English and indulged me in a day of tourism as well as tirelessly serving as a translator, as my Portuguese was limited to one or two words, which I’m sure I massacred with my pronunciation. We hopped buses, subway trains and walked on foot—and Felipe took me to “Our Lady of the Rock.” I was expecting a religious structure—but nothing could compare me to the “religious” experience we had. “Our Lady of the Rock” was a time-warp—a four-story shopping mall in which every single store was devoted to 80’s heavy metal. Storefront and storefront of old vinyl, cassettes, CDs, t-shirts, posters, clothing, tattoos, piercing—if it had anything to do with 80’s metal, it was there—including the home base of the Brazilian based Sepultura Fan Club headquarters. Filled with metalheads dressed a la 1986, it was absolutely amazing. I learned that several of the TS albums were produced, right there in Sao Paulo!

We downed some traditional Brazilian cuisine—Esfilas and Pastelis—(think: open-faced Knishes and fila dough filled with ground meats) washed down with Guarana, a birch-beer like soda, and these delicious pear-shaped chicken croquettes called “Coxinas”. I was in food ecstasy! After a traditional Brazilian dinner, Felipe left me at the hotel, and to my shock, he was back again bright and early the next morning, along with a throng of Twisted Sister fans who packed a lunch and were planning to spend the day outside the Hilton, hoping to catch a glimpse of the band. Hardcore fans were already lining up outside Via Funchal the night before, sleeping on the sidewalk to ensure that they would get a good spot up front. Incredible! (and incredibly, they were still there when I flew out on 5:00am the morning after the show)

A few words here about the Brazilian fans—warm, friendly, animated and highly passionate about everything they do. (And beautiful—the most extraordinarily beautiful women everywhere) Heavy Metal is taken very seriously there, and has almost a religious fervor—something I share, but had not experienced anywhere else. Truly some of the nicest fans I’ve ever met—a shout out to Bruno, Darcio, Marcelo (a very entertaining Gene Simmons impersonato for a KISS Cover band), Rita and all of the wonderful SMFs who showed me such hospitality. I’ll put some photos up of our group in my “Twisted Denim” photo album—we looked like quite the SMF posse. We spent the day laughing, swapping TS stories and admiring one another’s Twisted tattoos. The best story of the day came from Rita, whose father, an avid fan, sang to her “Burn In Hell” as a lullaby when she was a baby.

We headed out to get in line at approximately 4:00pm, getting briefly lost once or twice on the way there. The line was already huge three hours prior to doors opening, and party atmosphere was just incredible. Street vendors selling empanadas and beer, bootleg tee-shirts everywhere, and fans camped out sporting huge Brazilian flags with the TS logo sewn into them. Part of Brazilian social culture includes “nicknames”—it’s not unusual at all for friends to call people by various nicknames, sometimes based on physical characteristics. The nice group of fans in line with us nicknamed me “Little Rob Halford,” who apparently they thought I resemble. I considered it a huge compliment. The crowd was prone to breaking out into spontaneous chants, some of which may have lost something in translation, but were incredibly funny to everyone except the well-dressed security force. The security at Via Funchal sported black shirts, suits and red ties—it looked like a cross between an Italian wedding and couture fashion show.

Our own Danny Stanton, manager extraordinaire, looking cool as a cucumber in the heavy Brazil heat, brought me inside to escape the sun and catch a few moments with the road crew and band. If I don’t say this enough—All Hail the Road Crew! These guys truly work their asses off to bring us the best show possible, and the effort they gave in South American was nothing short of fantastic. I met the “international” members of the road crew—in addition to our usual band of merry men, three gents who I hadn’t known previously—Mehtis (Finland), Johnny (Sweden) and Rick (Holland)—all great guys and tremendous fun. Thanks guys--you made my experience extra special by welcoming me into your family. I’ll say it upfront: this show was as close to perfection as it gets. The sound was wonderfully balanced and at a perfect level, which could not have been easy, given the din of the crowd. The lighting was equally outstanding, affording a great visual experience. I have seen shows before in which the technical aspects of the production have detracted from the experience—not this case--Twisted Sister truly has some of the best roadies around.

Via Funchal is also, quite possibly, one of the best theatres for live music I've visited to date. With an ample balcony and huge, stepped (stadium style) floor space, viewing from almost anywhere in the venue will give you a great vantage point. And what Road Report would not be complete without the restroom review? The restrooms were enormous, spotless and all solid marble—even the backstage bathroom had a bidet! Yes ,my babies, I utilized the Twisted Sister toilet. Thrills great and small. No experience is lost on me.

Oh.
Did you want to hear about the music?
Yes. Well, we had some music too. I’m getting to that—hey, listen, I traveled 6000 miles to this concert—you deserve a road report proportionate to the flight time!

The opening act was a local Sao Paulo band called “Salario Minimo” Felipe explained to me that they are Brazil’s oldest heavy metal band. I’m pretty certain the lyrics were all Portuguese, but heavy metal is a universal language, so I just cheered when everyone else cheered. They sounded quite good—a cross between Iron Maiden and Europe (sans keyboards) influence. They looked like a Death metal band (well, except for the very cute stuffed owl strapped to the drumset) but played good solid heavy metal music.
The passion in Brazil is unlike any other—whereas in the States, warmup acts hardly get a toasty welcome, the fans reacted with enthusiasm and support for the opener. Then I learned another factoid about Brazilians—they must have the bladders of camels, because once they secure their “spot” at the show, they will NOT move. Not an inch. Even so, knowing I would lose my primo spot front and center, I opted to leave the front so that I could bring Felipe backstage for a quick 30-second meet and greet that Danny made possible for us. We ran into TwistedMarcelo (from our own Slamboard—a nice fellow!) and were able to get a few quick band moments. And yes, I FINALLY have a shot with all five members, even Eddie this time! Thanks Danny and crew for making this happen. Since a few of you asked, Dee did have his moustache, although he informed me that Suzette hates it, and it will be floating in the sink the day after Rock of Ages is done.

I still procured a nice vantage spot up front, stage left, and the energy of the crowd was palpable and electric. A huge roar arose when the crew placed the famous pink microphone stand on stage, and the raising of the Twisted Sister backdrop elicited chants of:
Ole.... Ole.... Ole..... Tweeested...... Seeeester....... (oh just YouTube it, you’ll see what I’m talking about) It was glorious.

The band took the stage at 10:05 pm, and when Long Way To The Top started playing, the crowd erupted! You’ve seen the setlist so I won’t repeat it here—it was the standard overseas setlist, but they played fast and furious, with minimal raps and chatter—before the crowd could even recuperate from the previous song, they were hammered with another one. Oh what the hell--here's the setlist again:
1. What You Don´t Know
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
4. Captain Howdy
5. Shoot ´em Down
6. You Can´t Stop Rock n Roll
7. The Fire Still Burns
8. We´re Not Gonna Take It
9. Long Live Rock n Roll
10. I Am, I´m Me
11. Under The Blade
12. The Price
13. Burn in Hell
with drum solo
14. I Wanna Rock
Encore 1: Come Out And Play
Encore 2: S.M.F.

It was rock and roll aerobics! On the opening number,”What You Don’t Know,” Jay Jay sat on an amp and leaned back, looking quite chill and relaxed as he soaked in the crowd. The noise from the crowd was so remarkably loud, that I had to tighten my ear plugs in between songs, because the crowd cheers were so loud it was painful. Truly….the LOUDEST fans I’ve ever heard. Most of the fans did not speak any English—and yet they still knew all the words—even more so than most American audiences I’ve seen.

“Captain Howdy’s” guitars were tightly played and I particularly appreciated how well this number was lit--- Dee’s spoken portion of Captain Howdy was just haunting---even though this is not one of my favorite songs—it gave me chills. “Shoot Em Down” did not disappoint—M.A.M. just KILLED the bass on this—Animal just relentlessly pounded the hell out of it. We were treated to a little “behind-the-head-nothin’-but-net” action by Jay Jay on “You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll” and more rounds of crowd driven “Ole” chanting in between songs. The crowd was so remarkably loud singing “We’re Not Gonna Take It” that I suspect the sound had to get cranked to…screw 11….their’s goes to 12!

As Dee succinctly put it: “I don’t speak Portguese. You don’t speak English. The one language we all speak is heavy fucking metal!”

The Dio tribute—“Long Live Rock and Roll” was just exemplary. The guitar laid down on this performance was just one of the best ever—Jay and Eddie just plain outdid themselves. It was just spiritual—very moving—and the crowd loved every single minute of it. Then followed by a rendition of “Under The Blade” that I swear, I thought was going to bring the fucking roof down on top of us. It was blistering—and again—combined with an excellent combination of balanced light and sound, it was just flawless. I hope UTB is up on YouTube so you can see what I’m talking about here. The crowd does sort of a heavy metal “Pogo” that is almost a European punk throwback—it’s a helluva lot of fun, looks really cool and I could feel the floor shaking!

“The Price” moved me to tears, it was *that* good, and I can honestly tell you that I was not the only one. These fans just have the passion and love—(and beautiful women..did I mention the beautiful women?) and the lyrics may not have been understood by most, but they could feel the intensity of the song. There was lots of swaying and singing—it was a moment of unity and brother/sisterhood. “Burn in Hell” is always a crowd favorite, and it seemed appropriate enough, given that it must have been 100 degrees inside Via Funchal at this point. Felipe’s work on “Stay Oven” now made sense—it really was a freakin’ oven in there! Dee stripped down the waist and played the rest of the show completely shirtless. A.J.’s drum solo gave us an added treat (and I’ll post this in a separate thread)-he played an opening drum riff from 11 different heavy metal songs, and A.J. and I decided we’ll have a little contest to see if anyone can name all 11 songs—he’ll provide a prize. (maybe a nice pair of autographed sticks?) Unlike U.S. crowds--the audience was transfixed during the solo--no one moved an inch out of place--and they loved every minute of it. In an unusual move, Dee came out during the drum solo and was seen bopping along behind the drum riser.

In the category of “There’s one at every show,” we did have our “DB” moment. Yes, my friends, the return of “El Doucho Baggo.” Someone jumped the security barrier from the main floor into the VIP section and was gang-tackled by an army of those nicely dressed security folks. Overall, the crowd was wonderfully behaved and security did an exceptional job of making sure we all had a good (and safe) time.

“Come Out and Play” was the best I’ve ever heard it—even better than the first time I heard it live in 1986—I just didn’t want the night to end. Even the band intro was loads of fun—Dee finally pronounced Eddie’s name as I’ve always pronounced it “Oh-hey-da”—leading to chants of “Fin-gers! Fin-gers! Fin-gers!” And as Dee adorned himself with a Brazilian/TS flag draped across his shoulders like a superman cape, he lead the crowd in chanting “Sick Mutha Fucka!” (Or as my bootleg sticker says: ”Twisted Fucker Sister”)

Band members met with loads of fans afterwards to sign autographs and take photos late into the night—I can’t begin to tell you how many fans I saw who had tears of joy in their eyes. Someone read my mind and ordered pizza (Brazilian pizza is incredible!) So here we are, standing outside the hotel, talking to the band and eating Brazilian pizza. It just doesn't get too much better than that!

It was one of the top shows I’ve ever seen…and I would have experienced that post-concert let down had I not planned to be in Buenos Aires the next night. In a bizarre road moment, as I prepared to leave Sao Paulo in my 5 am taxi on just an hour of sleep, I saw fans still sitting on the pavement outside the hotel, waiting to give the band a proper sendoff. A Jewish wedding party arrived--and as I boarded my taxi, two groups of singing, clapping, dancing wedding guests sang traditional Jewish wedding songs in Hebrew around the bride and groom. I just love those little moments of magic.

And that, my dear friends, is as much as I can bang out on this keyboard before I collapse into bed. Tomorrow I will you bring the report on Buenos Aires—all the details you’re dying to know, and plenty ya’ don’t!

Until then my babies,
Ciao and Obrigado! With much love to my new family of friends in Sao Paulo!
Terry, a.k.a The Armadillo

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Midwest Rock Festival, Wichita KS, 7/24/10 
Saturday, July 24, 2010, 11:56 PM
Posted by Administrator
Well "yee-haw" and "hell yeah!"--it's time to put on the big hats and ridiculously enormous belt buckles and bring you the second installment of the Armadillo Road Report, midwest edition--this time from Wichita, Kansas.

First things first--I must apologize for the copious typographical errors in the OKC report--I had to type that thing so frickin' fast because of the line of peeved tourists, complaining about the "biker midget" hogging the computer. I mean, really! First of all, the correct term is "little person." And second of all, I'm not a little person--I'm just remarkably short. Boy, the nerve of some people. Had to get that off my chest.

Chris and I hit the road bright and early to head out from Oklahoma City--I was tempted to stop at the National Cowboy Museum, bested only by the National Banjo Museum... but given the tight time frame, I'll have to save those for another day. We were still high on endorphins from the show the night before--well, at our age, it was really more like a heavy metal hangover, but we were really anxious to hear a full setlist on Saturday, given that to the best of our knowledge, Kansas didn't have a cowboy curfew.

We were very disappointed that "The Rowdy Beaver", a local eatery, was out of business. We settled for some outstanding BBQ at the Hog Wild Pit BBQ. [I even thought fondly of one recent cranky poster on the slamboard lately, as we passed by the "Bite Me BBQ" stand.] Wichita ain't exactly metropolis--it does have Sonic drive-ins every twenty-feet, which goes a long way in my book--but we were stunned how hard it was to find Lake Afton, which literally, was NOT on the map. G-d bless google and GPS, we made our way to Lake Afton (blink and you would have missed it) and I have to tell ya, it was one of those moments where I really thought it was going to get ugly fast.
Now some of you know, I work in health emergency management, and I'm also a trained National Weather Service-certified Storm Spotter. Going to Kansas...I felt like I had "graduated." But nothing can truly prepare you for that moment where you see the sky...and the color of those dark clouds...and see lightning that makes you want to convert and go to church. The festival allowed concert goers to leave the site to take cover in their vehicles, which we opted to do for several hours to get out of the rain and wind. The good news--at least the temperature dropped about 20 degrees from blistering 100+ to suddenly the 80's.

Now Lake Afton itself: we didn't see a lake. We saw a big field. A big, big.....field. With a fence and two sound stages....and small handful of local food vendors. Again...the fried pickle and ice cream from the same cart, go figure. But the vendors were all quite friendly and happy to have some business--the rain had obviously deterred the crowd. At 7:00pm, more than 6 hours after gates opened, there were just small handfuls of people. We calculated that there almost as many portapotties as people--personally, that's a ratio that I can appreciate, given how much water I consume, but we were disappointed at the turnout.

Chris aka Captain Howdy, visited the box office, which was, in truth: A box. It was one of those small 15' cargo containers on the back of a truck, with a hole cut out in the side for the walk-up window. But I give those Kansas gals credit, they had a live doppler feed and were watching the weather very carefully. And then we have the main stage. This one deserves a little attention.

There were two very peculiar things about this stage.
1. It was completely open and exposed. No rain cover, nothing. I've never seen that before--even at the most low budget street festivals. This turned out to be the festival's real demise, but more on that later.

2. When you reached the front row barricade, it was obvious that there was something seriously wrong here. I usually alternate my position between M.A.M's mic and Jay Jay's mic. I walked up to the front, and there was this chain-link fenced in area, sort of a cross between a goat pen and a detention holding area, and it spanned ALL the way from the edge of stage right (Eddie's side) to halfway between Dee's mic and M.A.M's mic, and then ran back about 40 feet. And in this pen there were some chairs....E I E I O.... and a Fuck! Fuck! here and a WHATTHEFUCK there.... it was the V.I.P. area! There was one person sitting there--one very mellow fellow, wearing a hat that read "FUCK YOU". So all the rest of us crammed into this tiny area by M.A.M.s mic....and one lone bastard sat in the V.I.P. pen. I asked the box office what it would cost for me to upgrade, for this last night of the show, to access the "pen", and was told $125, in addition to the $50 I had already shelled out. AH! Now I understand the "FUCK YOU" hat. My sentiments exactly.

They wanted me to pay $175 to bake in the sun, in the mud, for that??!?!. I mean, at least Oklahoma had misting showers, A/C tents...lots of other VIP perks. Their VIP section was the first 15 feet of stage, and we had a perfectly good view behind them. It didn't make sense to any of us--why not fence off the first fifteen feet across the stage--but to essentially stuff the entire crowd stage left was just plain STOOPID.

Oh, and speaking of STOOPID....let's talk a little more about the concert promoters and that lovely exposed stage. I've seen shows in the rain--we all have--I've never seen anything like this. They put the tarps on, almost as an afterthought, after the rains began, and it was truly the beginning of the end. There were so many technical glitches, I don't know where to begin, but I'll start with this: TWISTED SISTER WAS NOT TO BLAME. Yesterday, blame it on the heat? well, last night, blame it on the rain. and the morons at the Midwest Rock Festival. We ALL knew it was going to rain...my own MOTHER called me to tell me to pack some raingear!

So here we go: delay after delay after delay. And we hear......nothing. No announcements, no communication, nothing. The fans who were "camped" out by the stage were pleading with the road crew--tell us SOMETHING! ANYTHING! They could have at least told us they were sorry about the delays. nothing.

Finally, we start to see the tarps come off, and Y & T takes the small stage. They sounded absolutely fantastic--I held our spot at the front while Chris went to get a closer look. Y & T is often underrated, and undeservedly so--they did a great set.

We got bad news....and more bad news. Bad news: KIX was unable to make it and had to cancel.

More bad news: Winger showed up.

Okay, okay, that's not very fair--the crowd just loved Winger. And I was very impressed with some of the individual talent in Winger--the guitarist in particular. But a band is more than an army of one, and what I really dislike about Winger: I hate their stage presence, band "personality" and their songs. They sounded a lot heavier live than I had anticipated, which was a good thing, but they are just a victim of bad song-writing. "she's only 17" is absolutely my LEAST favorite song in the entire heavy metal world.
Winger's idea of showing the crowd appreciation? The guitarist came out onstage after the band went off...not for a musical encore or to throw some picks.... he chugs a beer and tosses the can out in the audience. Nice. Class act. The only thing more disgusting was the fan who caught it...and began licking the rim like it was some elixir from the fountain of youth. Ewww.
The concert promoters were selling "Poser Passes"...which meant for $20 more dollars, you could watch the show from an elevated platform on the stage.
Kinda cool...but when I asked if it would get me access to the Twisted view, they said "No Twisted Sister didn't go for it." I offered, "perhaps if you didn't call it a POSER pass???!!"

Oh, and I must say a few words here about the people of Kansas. Here I thought that the folks of the midwest were these wholesome, milk-n-cookies crowd--like....oh....flowing wheat fields....America's hardworking farms...Dorothy and Toto! I was informed, by the local Kansas residents, and I quote: "Dorothy was a whore. And she was doing her dog, too."
This festival was three days long and incorporated camping as well as "afterparties" in the big field. I heard stories....I saw some photos...and I pray that what happened in Kansas stays in Kansas. Now I'm not a prude, folks--in my younger days, I actually worked in a sex club in San Francisco (oh please, I was a bar back and worked the door. I know what you're thinking!) so it takes a lot to shock me. But what I witnessed in Kansas--a lot of drug use...excessive boozing...and public sex...saddened me. it wasn't rock n' roll.. it was just plain GROSS. I wanted to wear a shirt that read: DON'T show me your titties! On my way to the port-a-johns, I was offered everything from meth to some services that I won't go into detail here. I asked the very nice folks around me, and they explained that "there just ain't much to do here!" Holy shit. How about get a hobby or something? Everyone I talked to told me how much they hated living in Kansas...but it was their home, so they didn't want to live anywhere else. I get that.

Okay, okay. more show. Fuel took the small stage--honestly, I barely listened to them because it was quite dark outside and getting late--we were now past 11:00 pm and the rain started to fall. Then the mischief really began. We could hear the feedback before the band ever took the stage. The monitors were shorting out...the lights were shorting out..... it was a bad scene, folks. It was just plain tragic that we had great sound through Winger (just bad music) and now, with the boys ready to knock it out of the park, the sound system was taking a proverbial crap. Our own Mr. Stanton, the true class act that he is, came onstage and explained to the crowd what was happening, and that as soon as they could get it fixed, they would take the stage. (the concert producers should take a page from his playbook!)

They raffled off some guitars onstage--including a special edition Jay Jay French pinkburst--the proceeds went to building a park. Well, that's nice, actually. Let's hope the kids play ball in the park because I don't want to think about what else might be going on there given some of those afterparty stories.

Finally, at long last, the lights went down--with what seemed like fifteen techs still working onstage--and Long Way To The Top came on. And no one started cheering--I realized that most had never seen Twisted before, so they didn't know that Long Way was the clue to start going crazy! When the "radio" changed to "Man On the Silver Mountain", they still didn't get it....the guy next to me says, "why are we listening to the radio? this sucks!" I said "Relax dude, this is how the show starts..." good grief. It really loses something when you have to explain it.

So let's get the formality out of the way: here's, as Dee put it, "the soggy setlist"
1. Come Out and Play
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
4. Captain Howdy
5. Shoot 'Em Down
6. You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
7. We're Not Gonna Take It
8. The Price
9. Burn in Hell
Encore 1: I Wanna Rock
Encore 2: S.M.F.
Yes, I know it's short. I'll explain...

First of all--here I was, right in the front, and I couldn't see a damn thing. This enormous security guy posts himself right in front of us, and we literally saw almost NOTHING all night but his chest. lovely. Then they brought the V.I.P.s into the security pit to watch the show for three songs before they returned to their goat corral, so again, my view obscured. There were some serious sound issues due to the wet weather...and lights were messed up too. Compared to the flawless lighting job in Oklahoma (forgot to mention it, but the lighting was really excellent in Oklahoma), there was a spotlight on the stage right in Dee's face. He asked nicely to kill the light. He did. Nicely. Dee doesn't ask nicely twice....halfway into 'The Kids Are Back", Dee kicks that sucker through the goalposts. Or more accurately, into the front row pit of the V.I.P. section. See that folks? Got more than ya bargained for, didn't ya? Maybe that will get your asses up and off those V.I.P. folding chairs!

At least there were no curfews or profanity ordinances--Dee made up for it last night, and he was plenty pissed about the circumstances. His first words to us: "Well, this is fucked!" The stage was wet, the equipment was wet....but in Dee's words: "If you sick mutha fuckas can stand in the rain, we can stand in the rain..." Off course, this led to a string of great Dee-isms: "I"ve got to do the Tim Conway shuffle....it's so slippery up here....if I fall and break my neck you mutha fuckas will have it posted on youtube within minutes..." [Note to Dee: most of that crowd was too young to know Tim Conway, but Chris and I appreciated the reference...]

The water really started becoming an issue--A.J....the sound of thunder, who I've seen spin the sticks more times than I can count....slipped and fumbled the stick, sending it unpoetically stageward. He really made a valiant attempt to recover it, but there was just too much rain. Every time Mark pounded his bass, you could see a spray of water from it, and even he looked as if he was having some challenges hitting those wet strings. Speaking of challenges, I was getting annoyed as well with the rain. It was so dark and wet....{go ahead: "HOW DARK AND WET WAS IT?} I had to scribble my notes under a ziplock baggy and I had a headlamp around my neck so I could see what I was writing! oh the sacrifices.....

Even so, the band played on...

Dee sounded fantastic, Eddie, in spite of a sputtering amp and a dead monitor, continued to nail down the solos, and his and Jay Jay's work on “You Can't Stop Rock and Roll” was blistering. “Burn In Hell” was one of the best renditions they've done since Plymouth, MA--honestly, rain, bad sound, bizarre half-crowd--they still kicked some serious ass.

"We're Not Gonna Take It" is always a crowd favorite, and the crowd just screamed those lyrics out. Then I saw something that just left a pit in my stomach. It was Danny--giving them the "cut it short" signal. Jay Jay said some quick thanks to the audience--very heartfelt. Those were some good fans to stick it out through that whole mess--and I noticed again, when Jay Jay handed a pick to the security guard, and pointed out who in the audience he wanted to give it to. That just moves me, every time.

Dee then noticed the "goat pen"--and he asked us in the front what it was all about--and we said "V.I.P." Says the Snide One, "Oh. V.I.P. okay then.." and walks over them and says, "VIP? you're dead! this guy's got his finger in his nose...this one's wanking off.. That was 'We're Not Gonna Take It" ! Get off your asses!"

And then....Eddie's whole system went dead. All hail the road crew--they rushed in like a racing pit and started working as best as they could... so Dee did an impromptu "Question and Answer Period with Twisted Sister". So for the last time folks: Yes, it's his real hair! With the guitar back "on', Dee jinxed it by saying "Eddie's now going to dazzle you with his solo..." And dazzle he did. Get this, folks. It was the moment that made the ENTIRE trip worthwhile...the heat, the rain, the sound problems, the delays, the shortlist.....the stories of people screwing barnyard animals--all that we suffered through--all made okay by this:

During "The Price," right before Eddie's big solo, his guitar just goes dead. I mean, nothing....not a hum. Some bands would have just said "Screw it, let's go raid the mini-bar and finish off the Snickers". Some bands would have just glossed over the solo and moved on. Other guitarists would have stepped in, and stolen the solo to keep the song going. But not Twisted.

In a rare and special moment, Jay Jay saw what happened...he dashed over...and lightning quick, he stripped off his Les Paul Pinkburst and swapped guitars with Eddie. Christ, I swear to you, I'm tearing up typing this.... Eddie played his solo on Jay Jay's guitar and it has never sounded better to me. To see Eddie with Jay's guitar, and that bullseye Fender around Jay Jay as he stood by the stack, frantically trouble shooting it: it was unbelievable. They didn't miss a single note. It was one of those exquisite moments onstage that for those of us who witnessed it, we will remember it always. It's been a long time, SMFs, but last night--the band had a cohesive bond of brotherhood that looked like it was, well, the way it should be. Ohferchrissake, I'm making myself cry. This is pathetic.

I clutched that moment, etched it into my memory--while I would rather like to forget Wichita, I will never forget the magic I saw onstage last night. I really hope SOMEONE has got a photo or video of that.

And then....the plug got pulled. Another severe storm was due to come our way any minute. Or as Dee put it, "Mother Nature is a bitch" and asked aloud, "why she always seem to take a shit on Twisted Sister at all these outdoor shows?" And so, Dee lead the crowd in giving Mother Nature the flying finger salute, as we chanted "Fuck You" skyward. Dee pointed upwards, and parted with "I'll shit on your party one day, too!" He closed with S.M.F. as an anxious Danny Stanton motioned them to hurry off. Dee was so rushed, he admittedly forgot the words to the first verse....Mark expressed himself by making a microphone pretzel out of his stand, and we left with about an hour of music but a far cry from the night before, and sadly, no time for the Dio tribute. (Probably the shortest band intro I've ever heard...."

Well...at least no one was arrested for profanity. there's always that.

Tip of the hat to Cory in the front row--very nice gentlemen--and the interesting folks who surrounded us. Donna from CT was there as well--I'm looking forward to hearing her take on things.

Well, that's it for the only two domestic U.S. shows this year, until hopefully Christmas time when we'll have some yuletide festivities. As my plane left Kansas, the sirius satellite radio station Hair Nation played "Be Crool to Your School" and I kid you not, as my plane touched down at Baltimore-Washington International, the last note of "We're Not Gonna Take It" was playing.

Dorothy may have been a whore, but she was right.
There's no place like home.
I clicked my boots together three times, took a two hour nap, and left a sleeping Captain Howdy as I made way to the airport for my morning flight.

This is the Armadillo...your faithful Official UNOfficial Twisted Sister road reporter... trotting off....to go back to the airport for my next flight out on business.
Armadillo

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RockNAmerica Festival, Oklahoma City, July 
Friday, July 23, 2010, 06:54 PM
Posted by Administrator
Good morning my babies....
No time, no time....must hit the road in moments to make it to Wichita so you'll have to wait for what I assure you will be a thorough and twisted road report....

but since you ALWAYS ask, here is your setlist for last night:
1. Come Out and Play
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
4. Captain Howdy
5. Shoot Em Down
6. You Cant Stop Rock N Roll
7. The Fire Still Burns
8. We're Not Gonna Take It
9. The Price
10. Burn In Hell
11. I Wanna Rock
Encore 1: Long Live Rock N' Roll
Encore 2: SMF

bleary eyed I hit the road again! juicy details when I get back.....
and here's the teaser: What do Faster Pussycat, Dee Snider, Amarillo and OKC all have in common? This one ain't hard...wait til you hear....

trotting off for now...
Armadillo

Oklahoma City, OK, July 23, 2010 Rock in America
Sing it with me...OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHKlahoma...

Oh my babies…it’s time for the latest installment of literary drivel—the longwinded, keyboard incontinence also known as The Armadillo Road Report: The Official UNOfficial Twisted Sister Concert Review of Oklahoma City, ROCKNAMERICA, July 23, 2010, chock full of all of the concert details you want to know (…and plenty you don’t!). This beautiful trip flew me over the Mississippi Delta—a chocolate ribbon cutting across the geometric farm swatches of the south. If you’ve never flown cross county, the mid-west looks something like a cross between a patchwork quilt and a factory-seconds jigsaw puzzle. Strange square land tracts, not quite even, with crop circles from irrigation systems dotting the landscape as the perfect alien landing site. Airtran Airlines has satellite radio—I listened to Hair Nation on my trip here and was delighted when “Under The Blade” came over the headphones.

I met up with our Slamboard’s own Captain Howdy, Chris from Chicago, and he navigated the three hour drive from Wichita to Oklahoma City, which turns out to be a very fast drive when you’re listened to some ancient Twisted tracks. After all the tornado forecasts, Chris was awakened in the night by the walls shaking and the sound of a freight train coming through….fortunately, it was not a Twister. Just my snoring. Who knew?

We met up with the one, the only, Da’ Mayor, DCT, Donna from Connecticut for some pancakes. Speaking of pancakes, it’s FLAT out here. I mean, there’s flat…and then there’s Kansas flat. It’s flat as a pancake…flat as cola left in the sun….flat as my first girlfriend’s, oh, never mind! You get the picture. In spite of that, we had a bit of trouble locating the actual festival. For a major city, we just didn’t see a lot of PEOPLE in Oklahoma. It was a little bit unnerving, really.

As always, there were some more Twisted Sister road quirks. My personal favorite: we pulled into the OKC Zoo Amphitheatre parking where a security guard instructed us to park…then take the “Kickapoo Shuttle”. How could I resist?
The road to the show was lined with carney vendors, boasting cotton candy, ice cream and pickles. Yep. Maybe they were expecting a lot of pregnant metalheads. Inside the venue, it was as you would expect—large grassy open field with a fenced concrete area in the front for the VIP ticket holders. This time around, I opted to bypass the VIP ticket (130 clams!) and stood in the front on the lawn, about 15 feet back from the stage.

The heat was absolutely remarkable. I was contemplating stripping to the waist, but apparently there aren’t a lot of European Jews in OKC…I think if you put all of the chests together in that place, I still have more hair on mine. Man, I was feeling a bit self-conscious—they grow them cowboys BIG here in OKC!
But all the same, the people here were friendly, polite and quite hospitable. Overall, a delightful but hard-rocking crowd. There was one really bad fashion moment: a local kid (about 17) who places in a youthful heavy metal band called “Down and Dirty” was sporting black leather pants, pulled down past his ass a la gangster look…and then we were “treated” to a view of his hot pink and blue leopard print spandex skivvies. Parents….please step in here. Leather pants are fine….but they simple MUST be worn above the crack, no exceptions.

On to the music. There was much good music to be had. Many noteworthy bands—we arrived in time to hear “Sweet”. Remember them? “Love is like Oxygen?” “ Ballroom Blitz?” They played them all. The poor drummer looked like he could use some oxygen….and the bass player had to sit between songs….and the keyboardist was wearing sandals and a Utilikilt (yes, it’s real. Google it.) Okay, okay, these guys are aging a bit, but they sounded great. Chris and I gave them four horns up.

Bullet Boys took the side stage, and I really haven’t much to say about them—they were not my fave in the days of yore, so they didn’t do much for me yesterday. They sounded pretty good—Chris and I were both surprised that they opted NOT to play ”Smooth Up”… their big hit. Go figure. Trixter was next up. Again, I’m just not a big fan here, but I’ll say this: they aged well. Musically? They looked good. Really good. The crowd certainly liked them, so I’m obviously biased here. Perhaps it was the heat but I swear I saw an eagle soaring overhead…unless it was a buzzard. That’s possible. I trotted off to one of the misting showers, hosed down in some cold water and came back to hear Faster Pussycat.

In contrast to Trixter, Faster Pussycat actually SOUNDED good…but man, they looked like hell! They lost my respect early with a completely unnecessary vulgar rant. The venue announced early on that there were local laws concerning profanity, and the bands were all warned. Faster Pussycat seemed to be intentionally dropping f-bombs, along with plenty of other words that gentlemen do not utter in the presence of kind ladies. It was a train wreck, and really a distraction from the reason fans were there—to hear music. The concert promoters pulled the plug on them early. We later learned from Dee himself, that the band lead singer was arrested and slapped with a fifty thousand dollar fine. Remember Amarillo anyone? I’m sure Dee does! Shame on Faster Pussycat. Two horns down and the number of a good bail bondsman.

Great White was next on the big stage, and I give them a lot of credit. Aside from everything else this band has been through, the lead singer just had two back surgeries. Even so, they played well—once they worked through some dreadful sound issues for the first couple of songs. They did an impromptu sound check by playing an acoustic audience sing-a-long to “Behind Blue Eyes” that was, quite frankly, the best moment of their set. The rest of the band was quite lackluster, and to my knowledge, they haven’t had back surgery, so I don’t know what their excuse was, but I’ll blame the heat. They were very entertaining overall, and we were treated to “Save All Your Love”, “Rock Me,” “House of Broken Love” and “Once Bitten Twice Shy.” Two horns up for Great White and cup of coffee for the rest of the band. In a bizarre moment, Security scolded a hardcore Great White fan behind us for “singing too loud” and “jumping around too much.” I was beginning to worry about how OKC was going to handle the Twisted ones.

As the sun set behind us, Eddie Trunk introduced us to Adam Parsons, the man behind the “Stand Up and Shout Fund,” soon to be a foundation and they ran a short DIO tribute video on the two jumbo screens. We all appreciated the sentiment behind it—the actual tribute was very poorly assembled and executed, but we know it came from the heart. Even if it looked like my 8-year old nephew did the editing. We also viewed some very touching words from Wendy Dio—a part of the concert day tickets go to this fund to help cancer patients who lack the financial resources for their treatment. We also learned that a tribute tour may hit the road soon with some big names, so stay tuned for that!

Then finally, with the sun now down, the stage was darkened and on came “Long Way to the Top”! Finally…after baking in the Oklahoma sun for hours…..our boys were onstage! What a difference! After sitting through band after lackluster band, you could really see the difference. Twisted Sister took the stage with the energy of ten thousand—if ever there was a doubt why we endured such adverse conditions. Much like the European show, they switched Long Way to “Man on the Silver Mountain”. You saw the setlist….

Dee jumped off the stage during “Kids Are Back” and we weren’t sure if he fell….was attacking a sitting fan…or just caught up in the moment. Fortunately for all, it was the latter. Dee explained that it was going to be a clean show—and him being a former choir boy—he was accustomed to not swearing. [Great Dee-ism: “I didn’t take communion and go, ‘thank you f’in father…’”] and so we had a lot of Southern “HELL YEAHS!” Okay, not the same, but it beats getting tossed in jail.

Shoot ‘em Down was fantastic—they worked out a few early sound issues and MAM’s bass line absolutely shook the place. He pounded that bass as usual—I don’t know what his necks are made of but I swear it must be titanium. Dee followed it with “DANG!” uh….yes. dang.

Jay Jay treated the crowd to a little Twisted history lesson and a reminder that many of the bands we listened to earlier had fan followings of more than 20 years—take that American Idol! Dee lead into WNGTI, and shared with us one of his Europe stories—at their Germany show, the crowd sang WNGTI so loud that they wouldn’t stop until TS played it again. The OKC crowd was a little slow on the cue, and they took some serious prodding to sing it a cappella. I blame it on the heat.

“We’re Not Gonna Take It” is always a crowd favorite—Eddie was a little off his game tonight. We blamed…. the heat, of course. He hit a clunker during his WNGTI solo and we’re not exactly sure what happened during “The Price”—maybe he was cutting it short to fit in more music. Why, you ask? Because OKC Zoo amp has a curfew! DANG. To quote Dee “Curfew? What are we? 12?”

Dee did some shameless self-promotion for his show on A&E, and just teased us with “I’m the quiet one! I swear!” Hmmmm. We’ll have to see about that.
We did have some wonderful old school moments—OKC is one of the few places where folks actually had lighters! Not apps of lighters…not cell phone photos of lighters…real, honest to god butane. Ah, the memories. The lawn was a sea of lighters—it gave me chills.

“I Wanna Rock”: there aren’t too many variations on this one, but leave it to Dee. He told the audience: “You can’t screw this up! It’s easy…I say ROCK. You say ROCK. You’d have to be some dumb mutha…”
OOPS. Almost. Alllllllmost. And then….Dee gave us the best Dee-ism yet. Instead of you-know-what, he coined the term “Sick Mutha Obamas”. Brilliant.
Dee intro’d Howard Pollack, the promoter who made ROCKNAMERICA happen….four horns up… as Dee said, “Brother, you got sack. I can see ‘em hanging down.”

Then, the moment we were all waiting for: “Long Live Rock N’ Roll.” It gave me absolute chills—Eddie totally redeemed his earlier flubs and Jay Jay, playing a black Les Paul (Blackburst?), did a rendition that really did the original justice. Just fantastic, fitting and I felt honored to be able to hear it.

We closed with S.M.F…..changed to S.M.O. and we sang many rousing verses of “Sick Mutha Obama” to the delight of all political parties.

Big shout out to Tony in Oklahoma and his front row pals—a true gentleman through and through—and a delight to rock out with.

We did have one brief douche bag moment with some beer throwing okie’s….and a weird guy in the front row on STILTS. Yes , you read that right. Somebody get me a chainsaw.

There's so much more... but I’m about to be lynched by an angry mob of hotel guests who need to print out their boarding passes and I’m hogging the hotel computer…

Until tonight’s show in Wichita…

This is Armadillo…your faithful road reporter…trotting off to wake up Chris and hit the road again…

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Red Robinson Casino, Vancouver Canada 4/10/10 
Saturday, April 10, 2010, 11:57 PM
Posted by Administrator
Welcome, welcome and bienvenue! Oui, oui monsieurs et madamoiselles, it is time for the very first international edition of the 2010 World Tour, Armadillo Road Report: the official UN-official Twisted Sister concert review, with all of the show details you’re itching to hear about….and plenty ya don’t. This first leg of the TS world tour finds us in the Great White North, beautiful Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. (eh?)

Flying first into gorgeous Salt Lake City from Baltimore, the snow-capped mountains on three sides of the airport were a delightful precursor to the majestic ranges in Vancouver. A spectacular, clean and polite city—we took in some local cuisine and spent “show day” sitting on the shoreline, watching dogs fetch sticks in the waves of the surf. Just what the doctor ordered! We did eat at a café called “The Troll Grill”…. And while sitting eating breakfast, they played “Leader of the Pack,” which I took as a good omen for things to come. All I can say is: not only should you NOT FEED THE TROLL, I don’t suggest eating there either. Beware of the troll. Damn.

The casino itself was a bit peculiar as gigs go—but I’ve come to learn, after so many reunion shows, that the venues are a part of the charm—just one more thing to make each one a little bit unique. A fairly new casino in the middle of an industrial park, the Red Robinson theatre boasted a rather charming and mid-size location of about 1000 seats. The box office gave me the vegas-line of “there’s not a bad seat in the house”…well, it’s Canada, so actually, it was more like: “there’s nut a bed seat in the hoose, eh?” but either way, they were right. Security was very attentive and flexible, and permitted standing near the front, affording many of us a fantastic front row standing area. Myself & friend, SMF Canadian Cindee, DCT, and Squeal held our ground with little problem—I have to say, that the Canadian SMFs were truly wonderful. So polite, respectful of space and full of energy and enthusiasm. I would most definitely recommend Canada as a great place to see the boys play! One of my most enjoyable front row experiences ever.

No opening act, a trend I REALLY like, and we wagered on what the boys would open with—SMF Canadian Cindee said “What You Don’t Know” and I thought “The Kids Are Back”. And I’ll be damned—Win and Place, for you horse betters: check out this whopper of a setlist:

1. What You Don’t Know
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
4. Captain Howdy
5. Shoot ‘Em Down
6. You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll
7. The Fire Still Burns
8. We’re Not Gonna Take It
9. The Price
10. Burn In Hell
11. I Wanna Rock
Encores
12. Come Out and Play
Band Intros
13. S.M.F

Yes, that’s right. Lucky thirteen and get this: No drum solo! I was shocked…and a bit dismayed about that. The band took the stage 15 minutes late [hmmmm….and no Danny Stanton….coincidence? I don’t THINK so!]

But we were thrilled to finally hear tracks from the earlier albums because well, after two years of Stay Hungry… let’s just say that we are fully sated. No longer hungry and ready for dessert. I personally would have loved a few more from Under The Blade but I also recognized that many in Canada missed the Stay Hungry shows, so the setlist was obviously a crowd pleaser.

What I really enjoyed about this show—it was Twisted Sister with a Bent Brother feel to it. No frills. The stage consisted of simple stacks with a new backdrop—what I have deemed the “cheesecake logo”. Don’t get me wrong, I like pretty ladies as much as the next red-blooded guy—but I just don’t like the cheesy T&A logo. While it says “80’s”, it just doesn’t say “Twisted Sister” to me. But alas, that’s what we’ve got, and dammit, I WILL like it. Merch everywhere…some UTB throwback shirts and the cheesecake world tour shirt. Get ‘em while you can! The boys wore the ol’ denim and leather—and the theme of the night: hair!

Dee was quick to point out that with band getting older, they knew it was time to change their look: he says: “smaller lower heels? A lower cut for a more age appropriate look?” and one of the best Dee-isms of the night: “I kept getting lipstick on my teeth….it was that one Aunt, you know?…” But the good news? “THE HAIR STAYS!”

Speaking of hair….We have some new “doos” to report. Jay Jay has been growing out his hair, and he has either purchased a much sportier wig, or those long locks are his. Either way, the new look is good! AJ has finally come to the realization that so many of us aging rockers have: balding is bad but bald is beautiful. He shaved his head entirely, which I imagine must make the drumming a little easier, if not more comfortable and also a leaner, meaner look. We approved!

There was a great vibe tonight—Jay Jay came onstage looking very happy….MAM gave our own DCT a big smile, and even Dee gave her a special little wave. I got the nod from the boys, and oh, by the way…there was music at this show. Did I mention the music yet? It KICKED some serious Canadian ass! There were some sound issues it seemed at first, but the sound was perfectly balanced by the third song, and the earplugs were out by the end of the show.

The first two songs were played so expertly and tightly, you’d think they had been playing the oldies all last tour. Just fantastic. Jay Jay started off on his Pinkburst Les Paul—a guitar whose sound I’ve really come to appreciate so much, and he even gave the photographers that classic Jay Jay French pinkburst “art shot”—oh Mr. Deville….I’m ready for my closeup now…. (only a few of you will get that reference, sadly) The solo during YCSRNR was mind-blowing…and he knew it too—final chord was still hanging in the air when Jay Jay told American Idol to “take that and shove it up your ass!”

Eddie sported a new B.C. Rich bright red guitar—how red was it? Ketchup red. Complete with Heinz 57 Ketchup label! A perfect complement to A.J.’s red Canadian Gold Medal shirt….we gave it a “10”. (except the Russian judge, who gave it a 6.7) Good strong sound to the new strings—Eddie smoked his solos on WNGTI.

The crowd was still sitting down by “The Fire Still Burns”….and incidentally, so did the guy toking behind us….my god, there was so much pot smoke in the “non-smoking” theatre that I was afraid that if I didn’t air out my vest last night, I’d get cavity searched at the border crossing! Really folks—can’t you do that later? At home? In the parking lot? He was eventually 86’d. Christ, for a split second, I thought I was at Deep Purple again!

MAM’s bass was thunderous—I never get tired of seeing that man pound on the frets—I honestly don’t know how those bass guitars don’t get split in half. Or the poor roadies he chases around. Good thing those boys are small, faster little fuckers.

Dee finally had to say something about the crowd sitting down:
“Please turn to page 57 in your hymnbooks….and RISE…..”

and we were treated to “I Wanna Rock” to a standing, hard rocking audience. After which: “OK. Please be seated”

I commented, prior to the show starting, that there was an extremely large disco ball above the theatre—and of course, Dee noticed it too—and if almost on cue, during “The Price”, we had a 70’s disco flashback. It was a “WTF” moment.

Speaking of “The Price”—a serious moment here—Dee announced that earlier that day, they learned that a good friend of the band, Bob Gamm (I hope that’s correct—someone please let me know if it isn’t) was killed in a motorcycle accident. SMFs and biker bros and sisters everywhere—we keep you in our prayers. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go out to Bob’s friends and family everywhere. Again, how amazing that the band could go onstage and put on such a great show in spite of such a shocking tragedy. Dee dedicated “The Price” to Bob, and there were a few hankies coming out in the audience, mine included. Very touching.

“Burn In Hell” was accompanied by the traditional, now trademark “red spooky lighting” and Eddie’s solo was spot on! In a very sweet moment, Dee paused before the next song, and took an album from a front row fan and signed it, right on the spot, saying “Hey…I don’t normally do this….but since I probably won’t see you later…” Now I ask you, what other band on the planet does that for their fans? AMAZING. True class act, these SMFs…or as Dee pronounced it… “SMIFFS?”

Then again, Dee also said that TS has sold more records per capita in Canada than anywhere else in the world. Canada apparently updates their record sales awards, and “I Wanna Rock” has now gone 2X platinum…and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” has now gone 8X platinum in Canada! Dee had a theory—that everyone in Canada must have been issued a copy of Stay Hungry when they hit puberty!

Dee gave us a particularly funny rap—for those of you not in the know, one of the necessities that Dee has, every show, is a small rug that gets duct taped down to the stage to keep the mic from thumping the floor. We’ve seen every variety of rug—from Oriental to factory remnant—but tonight? In Dee’s words: “Does EVERYTHING in Canada have to have a fucking maple leaf on it? Didn’t Bed Bath & Beyond have anything in their Spring series?”

Then…. In our other theme of the night: WHERE’S EDDIE NOW? Eddie seemed to keep disappearing. We don’t really know where he went…maybe to get some mustard for his guitar…but just as they were about to launch into “I Wanna Rock”…. We see Dee do his move that I call the “quarterback swivel”…. He looks to the right…to the left….calls the play…. Except he looks to the right (MAM in place) looks to the left…there’s Jay Jay….where’s Eddie? So the crowd chants ED-DIE ED-DIE and out strolls Eddie, laid back as ever! We loves ya’, man.

During “I Wanna Rock”, the guys lined up for a photo shot….a great one by the way—I hope someone from here snuck in a camera and took one to post—with Dee admonishing the camera bug with “Hurry up and shoot!”

The show seemed to end all too soon, especially with no drum solo. (I hope this was an exception and not the new trend—I just gotta have my cow bell!) For the encores, we were treated to “Come Out and Play”…and again….with Eddie taking a leave of absence. It was like “where’s Waldo” without the touque!

Dee gave the band intros, and we learned another fascinating Twisted factoid: for the past 30 years, Dee has mispronounced (as we all have) AJ’s last name. It is not “Pear-row”, which apparently translates to mean “dog” in Spanish. It’s pronounced “Pier-row”, with the emphasis on Row. Who knew? Did you?

They closed with a rousing version of S.M.F. there was a slight bobble of the lyrics, but being the sick muthas we are, no one cared. They left the stage at 9:30 PM, over 75 minutes of play time, and we were exhausted and exhilarated as usual. We did have our one “maple leaf douche bag of the night” and he was SUCH a douche, I’m not even going to say more about it. Except this: if you grope women in the audience, you’re a DOUCHE BAG, eh?

There was a special Meet N’ Greet (thank you to those of you who made this happen for us—you know who you are) it was the most unusual meet and greet ever. And for unbeknownst reasons, Arnold the Governator’s pants were in a frame backstage. Weird….

They had the crowd line up, single file, and they took photos with a casino photographer with THE ENTIRE BAND. Way cool. Can’t wait to see what it looks like! Of course, what happened though was that there was not time to meet OR greet, so the poor fans were constantly being told “DUDE! TURN AROUND!” otherwise, they’d get a memento photo of Twisted Sister…and the back of their head…. One fan dropped to the floor in gratitude and kissed Dee’s feet…. And before you say “that’s sad”…c’mon, don’t tell me you DIDN’T consider it at least once! Those of us from the slamboard applauded approvingly…we all felt the same way. We love you guys! Thank you for a fantastic show..and great kickoff to what will most definitely be a World Tour to remember.

To read an upcoming interview with Jay Jay French, check out www.AbsoluteUnderground.Ca I met a reporter there named Ira, who told me that his interview and review would appear in his rock magazine. The casino took photos but I don’t know where we’ll see those appear… Special cheers to SMF Canadian Cindee….Squeal…DCT and the Sikh wearing the pink turban, who agreed with me that REAL MEN WEAR PINK! Rock on.

And I believe this shall conclude the road report—a tip of the hat to our courteous, polite, well-behaved but hard rocking neighbors to the North (for us Yankees, anyway). A shout out to the kind and professional staff at the Red Robinson and a throw of the horns to the fantastic Twisted road crew. Well worth the two month delay!

Until next time my babies…
This is your faithful road reporter, trotting off… to cross the border for the long trip home.. with ten minutes to spare til hotel check out..

Armadillo


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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
IT WAS VERY NICE.

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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