Q-Stock, Oulu Finland July 30, 2011 
Sunday, July 31, 2011, 03:29 PM
Posted by Administrator
well...and this is take two! wireless here at the airport in Oulu is going in and out...

Alas, sadly,...the end of the European road for me. Sitting here in the airport at Oulu--the previous flight was completely filled, so I won't get to fly back with the band and crew and I've got five hours to fill in an airport that has one soda machine, a cafe and one toilet. I suspect when the barrista finishes making the espresso, she then goes and works for security...then dons a pair of orange sticks and brings in the aircraft. It's small and boring here, but I've got 40 minutes charge left on the netbook so that can only mean one thing....

that's right....it's time...

here now....your literary lewdness....your endless run-on....your dangling participle...ladies and gentlemen, I bring you:

The Armadillo Road Report: the Officially Official once UNOfficial Twisted Sister concert review Q-Stock, Oulu Finland, July 30, 2011. With all the concert details you're dying to know....and plenty ya' don't.

First things first--we must address an issue from the previous show in Kotka. A fan wrote on the slamboard that Jay Jay looked bored. I want to assure you that Jay Jay was anything but bored. If you had looked closely, you would have noticed that Jay Jay was not wearing his usual aviator glasses--and the ones he had on, did not have a retainer. Which meant that if he looked down or jumped around too wildly, his glasses would have quite unceremoniously landed on the stage floor (and likely under Dee's boots), and then we'd have him playing sans vision. I admit, even I kept fighting the urge to look at the ceiling every time he did, but Jay Jay wanted me to expressly point out, that he has never been bored onstage, and S.M.F.s "in-the-know" knew there was something amiss with his eyewear last evening.

Alright...that business out of the way....on to Oulu!

The day began with a nice, Finnish hotel breakfast of brats and potatoes and a colorful ride to the airport with the road crew. We shared the very short plane ride with Mr. Michael Monroe and his entourage, and were met at the Oulu terminal by a very chipper and bubbly pink-haired team from Q-Stock. Hats off to Pink--she was both punctual and cheerful, as well as a safe driver. They seemed to be equally entertained by the New York style of humor, and it was a scenic trip through the Oulu countryside. Not much in Oulu....unless you're shopping for a farm....or a car, in which case, there are about fifteen car dealerships for some reason.

I counted four traffic lights and we were in beautiful, downtown Oulu....actually, I didn't mean for that to sound so facetious, it really was quite quaint and lovely. Like Helsinki-- clean, intricate 3-story buildings with crisp white, ornate architectural details that are reminiscent of Italy Renaissance, the walls in shades of yellow, pink, and light blue. Surrounded by beautiful water, the hotel was situated just across from the small inlet where the Q-Stock festival was already in full swing. We were led to believe by the driver that the Q in Q-Stock stood for "Queer" (and I mean that in the word empowerment way, not as an insult to my Twisted Gay & Lesbian readers) and I couldn't believe that Twisted was booked for the Finnish Gay Pride. We were assured by others, however, that the Q referred to a Finnish word that applies to a breed of tree, and that the festival was actually one that catered to people of all tastes, persuasions, orientations and musical flavors.

Unbeknown to us, Q-Stock is apparently "the" party--much more popular than the Kotka Sea Festival, particularly with the younger set, and one step through the doors of the hotel revealed a mass of teenage drinking and carousing. We quickly dropped our bags after check-in and headed over the venue itself. (as a pedestrian, it was just a short stroll over a footbridge... down a windy path and then onto the inlet.)

We came around the back where the mainstage was set-up--there were multiple stages of different sizes, including one in an honest-to-god circus tent, a few others were scattered about in small lots and grassy areas in between the food vendors, carney merchants hawking tee-shirts and jewelry, and bungee jumping. (again with the bungee jumping....what's with these wild n' crazy Finns? The last thing I'd want to do after drinking several pints is to go up in a crane platform and then drop off the end with a rubber band tied to my ankles!)

The festival staff first ensured that we were properly fed--we followed this incredibly delicious smell into a tent filled with giant, 3-foot woks, each filled to the edge with meats, vegetables & fishes. I particularly enjoyed the Moose Balls. (uh, that is, meatballs made of Moose...not elk scrotum...) I passed on the local delicacy of fried anchovies. The vendors sold everything imaginable--I tried on a pink hat which prompted the merchant to exclaim: "Wonderful! You look very, very gay!" Uh, thanks. I think. Wait, the Q is about trees...no?

We strolled around to see the sights and sounds and ran into Kennet, from the slamboard. A very nice chap with some lovely friends- he re-connected Danny, who arranged a very fast but rewarding pre-show meet with the boys. (I'll send you that photo Kennet as soon as I get home!) Stage 2 had some sort of hoe-down, complete with washboard players, fiddles, kazoo and a tall woman playing a mean bass fiddle. It was catchy, but there's just something inherently wrong with playing a kazoo through amplifiers. Just me.

Twisted was scheduled top bill on the main stage--like many venues, they staggered the start times to give fans a chance to see every band. The first band up on the main stage was Apulenta. I really didn't get to hear much of their set, because the ominous looking skies finally let loose and the rain fell in buckets and sheets. I retreated to the crew trailer (which at one point, looked like we were filming "Deadliest Catch" inside)--to escape the deluge and catch a few quick winks until the rain subsided--as a bonus, we were treated to a rainbow on the horizon.

I was disappointed that Michael Monroe went on before Twisted in the circus tent--he clearly deserved to have the main stage and not a female new-agey pop singer. While the crowd really enjoyed Jenni Vartianinen (I don't know either, but she had lots of fans. Come to think of it, a lot of lesbians fans.....including one fellow in a red cowboy hat and a wedding dress, with "Jenni Marry Me" on one side....and "Dee Marry Me" on the other. Yeah, right. Tree festival my fat fanny! Well, it was festive, to say the least. The crowd did a nice arm-sway--if you viewed it from the stage without sound, you could have mistaken it for "The Price", just with lots of women wearing sandals instead of metalheads. A real Spinal Tap moment.

Once Jenni was off-stage, our precision road crew set to task on all of the pre-show preparatory efforts. "The taping-of-the-rugs"...."The raising-of-the-backdrop"...."The microphone-feedback-check-that-looks-like-a-Catholic-incense-ritual." The Stage Manager dropped by, and told me that they had sold out--more than 22,000 fans there today.
During the soundcheck, our own Mr. Stanton rewarded two very lucky kids. They had been baking in the sun all day for hours...then got literally soaked to the core during the downpour...but they NEVER BUDGED AN INCH from their front row and center spot. (Worthy of those Brazil fans, no?)

Danny tossed them each a stick, which prompted a "I love you!" from the adoring recipients. As Danny said to me, they'll remember that moment for the rest of their lives--as will I. It really does move me every time to see a group like Twisted, who so clearly understand the passion of their fans, and show appreciation to them. It was a meaningful moment.

Then, at two minutes past 2300, I surveyed the enormous spectacle of this huge crowd, and opted to take this one in from stage right. The crowd was significantly younger this evening and extremely well-behaved in comparison to Kotka, but loud and appreciative. (this clearly would have been the better night to be in the front row. c'est la vie. It's often a crapshoot how the crowd will behave) I saw Eddie and Jay Jay waiting in the wings, guitars slung around them at the ready, stage fog lapping at their ankles. It was sort of a cross between football players in the tunnel before the Super Bowl.....and WWF..... when they stepped out onto the stage during "What You Don't Know," they were backlit, just silhouettes in the fog. Arms pumping feverishly on the guitars, Eddie and Jay Jay were beautifully synchronized this evening--the guitars sounded great!

Behind the stack, I could see our guitar technicians/roadies--Keith and Mehtis--fine tuning the other guitars--one of those things that the fans out front will never see. We take for granted that when Jay Jay, Eddie or Mark switches guitars, that it will be in tune and sounding great--this isn't by accident. A lot of work goes into ensuring that our Bad Boys of Rock n' Roll have the instruments of their trade ready at hand, ready to rock.

Dee welcomed the audience with "We've come a very long way to kick your fucking ass!"
And ass kicking they did.

"The Kids Are Back" literally rattled the change in my pockets--Mark told me that bass frequencies played too loud or too close can actually cause arrhythmias--and I believe it! If I ever go down, forget the defibrillator--just hook up Animal's bass and have him pound out "Shoot 'em Down," If that don't get my heart re-started, nothing will.

"You Can't Stop Rock n' Roll" was an absolute heavy metal locomotive--the guitars just accelerated and accelerated and I swear, the sound would have obliterated anything in its path. Just fantastic solos, great bass and drum work--absolutely loved it.
Jay Jay acknowledged the crowd--with only 15 shows this year, Finland, like Greece, was rewarded with two of them. Looking at that crowd--packed to the gills all the way to the back--it was easy to see why Oulu was deserving a gig. More than 22,200 fans, many of them under 25. It saddens me that American audiences are so fickle--it's tragic that we can't fill up even the smallest of venues these days, and precisely the reason why there were not more domestic dates this tour.

During Jay Jay's "American Idol" rant, when he got to the point in his speech where he mentions how Idol singers "struggle" for a whopping 15-weeks, Mark and Dee stood behind him, back-to-back, and pantomimed a fitting, big "wanker" gesture. Followed by Jay and Dee thanking Finland for 35 years of support.

"The Fire Still Burns" was sharp as ever--the guitars sounded very, very tight....bass and drums were well balanced and I swear, there were a few moments where I could feel that song pounding from the inside of my rib cage.

It was now 2330, and while the sun had set, it was still plenty light outside, with sunset colors glowing, still on the horizon. I can't recall the last time I saw "We're Not Gonna Take It" played in the "light," but it really didn't matter--it was fantastic. I've met quite a few old schoolers out there who aren't huge fans of WNGTI, seeing it as the song that led to the over-playing and ultimate demise of Twisted. I personally disagree--that song always gets me going, and there is something just magical about seeing 22,000 hands clapping above their heads in unison, like Twisted Sister's own "radio Ga-Ga"...and that's ga-ga as in the group, Queen, not GaGa as in Lady. The trio of Jay, Eddie and Mark lined up during the solos fills me up every time--the Twisted brothers three.

The crowd continued their warm reception prompting a "Fucking Great!" from Dee, who invited the crowd to see if they could sing WITHOUT the band, and another great a cappella version of "We're Not Gonna Take It" will make the youtube bandwidths soon I'm sure.
Dee couldn't go without commenting on the drinking culture of Finland. Now my disclaimer here--as any Twisted Sister fan knows, Dee does not drink or do drugs. Nor does he condone overindulging in such proclivities. But he certainly appreciates it when fans just lose their fucking minds when Twisted comes on stage. He looked around and commented: "Everybody here is fucked up!....You're Twisted Sister's kind of people!"

During "The Price", it wasn't really dark enough for cell phones or lighters, although quite a few appeared. Instead, it was a spectacle of synchronized arms, swaying to and fro. I was enjoying the moment as Eddie launched into one of my favorite solos, and as Dee leans in against him and resumed the lyrics, a black object comes sailing in--either a scarf or a tee shirt--and literally lands right on Eddie's face, remaining there a few moments until Dee snatched it off and pitched it off for a roadie to dispose of. To Eddie's credit, he did not miss of single note. That's professionalism to the core, right there, I tell ya.

Didn't see who threw it, but they earned my "Douchebag" award of the night. An "A" for aim, but an "F" for effort. Throwing things into the faces of the heavy metal marathoners is just not cool. I mean, do they go home and tell their friends, what? "Dude, that concert was so awesome. I chucked my tee-shirt at Dee and Eddie and it landed right on top of his head....man, how cool am I?" Way cool...like the frozen waters of the Finnish douchebags in the wintertime. Rule #1: Be a fan. Don't be a jerk.
Oh, I digress. Back to the rock and roll.

"Under The Blade" gave me some wonderful visuals to store in the old memory vault--from my viewing angle on the side, I could see all four band members at their microphones, black sleeveless vests/shirts--muscled arms pumping furiously in unison--Dee's air guitaring the riff--Mark pounding mercilessly-- it was the heavy metal harmonic conversion. Just plain art. There was some fancy Eddie finger-work to finish off "Under The Blade" as Jay Jay tossed a pick so far I think it landed back in Kotka.

Dee acknowledged the old schoolers in the house as well as all the fresh young metal blood. To the old schoolers (and for the sake of argument, in this crowd, it was anyone over 30, never mind the fans from the 70's and 80's.) he not-so-reassuringly offered "You're still fucked up [meaning: after all these years]...but it doesn't get any better!" Actually, I gotta disagree--now in my 40's, as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't get any better than this!

Once again, "Shoot 'em Down" went out to the all the assholes (politicians) of the world, and I looked to my right, and there was Michael Monroe, totally rocking out backstage to Twisted. You know where you have those moments where you think to yourself, "Am I really here? Is this really happening or am I dreaming?" All it took was Animals bass to knock me back to reality--holy crap that man kills a bass. I can't figure how his hands survive....or for that matter, the bass! That man isn't an animal, he's a beast!

Then, the crowd favorite...
Cue the fog...
Cue the spooky red spotlight...
Cue the scary voice...
"Burn in Hell"--another tight guitar duo, with a bass line that damn near blew me out of my pink neon-laced shoes. And then one of my favorite parts of the night--A.J.'s drum solo. In order to stay on schedule, he bypassed the "name-that-tune" portion of the solo this evening. I think the crowd was too young to appreciate it anyway, hell, even I didn't know some of the riffs first time I heard it.

You know, after hearing his drum solos so many times, you'd think I get bored of them, but it's quite the opposite. I'm always fascinated how he manages to change up each solo--a perscussive jazz--and tonight's solo had a deep rumble to it that reminded me of a Harley with the carburator turned way down--sort of an underlying "buddah buddah buddah buddha buddah" If you've ever had a Harley Davidson pull up next to you on a summer day with your windows down, you know the sound I'm talking about. The solo wasn't lost on this crowd--they gave him some loud appreciation. In a touching "in the wings" moment--during the solo, each member of the band came over to Michael Monroe and gave him a big hug.

The band has been so focused on and worn from the rigors, Dee admitted he forgot to sing "Happy Birthday" to Jay Jay the other night, and so the crowd of 22,000+ sang a rousing version to Jay Jay, with Dee's tongue-in-cheek "Take your pick--any five women--they're yours!" (relax, relax, all said in jest)

"I Wanna Rock" treated me to a visual I won't soon forget--thousands of fists being thrown into the air. Dee first had the crowd scream "ROCK!" with one fist.... then two fists....
"okay...now one leg...your right fist...and ...."
well, maybe not, although Twisted Twister sounds like a lot of fun. When Dee asked the crowd to pump their fists in the air, yell "ROCK!" and jump--I swear to you, I could fee the earth shake. He dedicated the song to Michael Monroe (to my right) and Matt Harris, bassist from the band "The Posies", who was rocking out to my left.

Had a chance to talk to Matt--a really great guy--who admitted that he's been a Twisted Sister fan his whole life, and to get a tribute like that really meant a lot to him. I understand, brother, boy, do I understand!

After the band introductions, Twisted gave a special shout out to all of the members of their hardworking road crew and management--Danny, Keith, George, Dwayne, Marty, Johnny (Jay Jay still feels bad he forgot to mention your name! Nothing personal, brother!) Mehtis and Steve--you gents are the best of the best.

Hopefully the blog worked and you've seen the setlist--a few slight changes from the night before--without "Whole Lotta Rosie" tonight, they had time to play "Come Out and Play" and "S.M.F." for encores. "Come Out and Play" was especially good tonight--Mark pounded on his bass as if to say, "Giddyup!" and we accelerated all the way to the last note. At 12:15, it was still not dark out-- all, we were in the land of the midnight sun--although instead of the "Day of the Rocker" shuffle, we had "Tonight" with Dio. (Fitting, given our earlier "Rainbow-Not-Quite-In-The-Dark."

Aa the road crew broke down the set and loaded the equipment, fireworks lit up the still surprisingly light early morning sky. It was a moment that a small group of standing on the back ramp of the stage enjoyed in complete silence. We just took it all in when Mr. Michael Monroe said out loud, exactly what I was thinking: It doesn't get much better than this--this is what life is all about. Absolutely!

Oulu--you really rocked it. That was one of the best shows of the tour this year!

One of my own personal road report golden rules--what happens on the bus, stays on the bus--all I can say is that the road crew had me laughing so hard, my stomach hurt. Back at the hotel, the place was teeming with teens, given the under 21 club in the basement of the hotel. Even by 3:30 AM, it was still light outside, and the entire city was still buzzing with festival energy, people filling the sidewalks and local clubs. Another bizarre Twisted moment--when I first arrived in Helsinki, I chased down a guy who had the TS bones logo painted on his leather vest to say hello, and give him a pick, my new "calling card." This nice chap hung out with me backstage....and then at the hotel...turns out he is from Lordi! Who knew? That scary dude onstage is actually a low-key, really swell chap!

It was almost impossible for me to fall asleep--now starting to face what we slamboarders call "concert drop"--the depression that sets in when we realize the show is over and we have to go home, back to the reality of our lives. I turned on the lights in my room--there were red LED lights around the bed, giving me my own "Burn In Hell" moment.

This morning, I break-fasted with the band and crew before a shuttle to the now-empty Oulu airport. The crew and band signed my Athens setlist as a special send-off to me. It absolutely kills me that they are now on their way to Russia as I sit here in solitude. I suspect that Russia show is going to be the absolute crown jewel of the reunion, and I'm kicking myself time and time again for not getting my visa squared away in time--I should have known better!

I chatted briefly with Dee for a few minutes--thanking him for the special tribute in Greece--it even made my mother cry as she watched in on youtube--and he told me an interesting tidbit about how his "Teenage Survival Guide" is now an official school textbook in Russia--required reading--that completely blows my mind. Honestly, I really can't even wrap my arms around that one. Dee's book--which SHOULD be required reading for everyone--talks about finding one's inner strength through individuality....self-expression...and standing up for oneself, especially against abusive authority figures. How that translates in Russia is just baffling--but I'm determined now to find a hard cover copy in Russian.
Alas, concert drop is now taking hold.

Dee gave me a hug and some Karl Fazer chocolate (oh, it was heavenly--must buy more of that chocolate!) to help me nibble away the depression. I have two more hours until my flight boards for Helsinki, and as my European travels near a close, so too, does this edition from your faithful road reporter.

This is Armadillo....trotting off to shop for more flights to Canada...
Moy Moy my babies, and Kittos to the wonderful warm people of Finland!
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Setlist for Q-Stock, Oulu Finland July 30, 2011 
Sunday, July 31, 2011, 11:38 AM
Posted by Administrator
Kotka review coming...
but in the meantime, here is your Oulu soggy setlist

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

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Kotka Sea Festival, Finland, July 29, 2011 
Sunday, July 31, 2011, 11:15 AM
Posted by Administrator
And now...for your reading enjoyment...the time has come for the literary train wreck chock full of all the concert details you're aching to read...along with plenty of ridiculous foolishness that you'll wish you hadn't...

yes, it can only be one thing: the Armadillo Road Report, the Official UNOfficial Twisted Sister concert review of Kotka Finland, July 29, 2011.

oh my babies, where to begin, where to begin.... I suppose where we left off would be a good start. With the crew and band all arrived (except for Dee), we wined (well, I whined, no wine) and dined and retreated for some libations where we played a short and slightly morbid game of what will be engraved on Jay Jay's urn when he expires.... Jay's Jay's vote was for the European setlist, which at this point seems to be etched in stone...
we came up with the following:

Burn in Hell
The Fire Still Burns
Come Back
I Wanna Rot
We're Gonna Cremate It
Axes to Ashes (actually, that one's for Eddie's)
Under the Grave
Well, okay. You get the point. Feel free to start a thread on that one...yes, I know, it's macabe but kinda entertaining once you get rolling.

We were barely out of the gate on the way to Kotka when the heavens let loose and dumped sheets of rain on the caravan. (that's what you get for mocking death) The two-hour ride to Kotka took us through some beautiful countryside, rolling farmlands and striking forests, and we arrived at the port. Literally. It was the port of Kotka. You've heard the colloquial expression "take a long walk on a short pier?" Well, I found the short pier referenced--and at the end of said pier, was the venue!

The Kotka sea festival was basically a carnival on the dock, that I nicknamed "Wichita-by-the-sea" (go see the Wichita July 25, 2010 if you need a refresher) Although I must admit--it was carney Finland style--instead of corn dogs and funnel cakes, they had reindeer dogs, sushi and fresh fish. I was also impressed with the "hearing protection" vendor, who had a wide array of brightly colored ear plugs for sale and a very tasteful VIP tent with beer garden. Oh, by the way, Finland loves beer. A lot of beer. Apparently the words "Last call" do not exist here. They started drinking before breakfast--wait, actually, I think the beer WAS breakfast. Regardless, you had merry-go-rounds, bungee jumping off a pier crane.....and heavy metal. I suppose it works. A bit of spinal tap nevertheless.

The venue itself was a large airplane hanger frame with fabric tent walls, a proportionately smaller stage and these bizarre glowing chinese-inspired lanterns that I just KNEW Dee would make a comment regarding. Add to that an impressive sound system and lighting setup, with a small city of trailer dressing rooms...and a very large cargo crane...and there you have it.
After a quick stroll around to check out the tugboats and a navy vessel (thanks to the friendly sailor who saluted for our photo op!), we heard the opening act--a local Finnish band--take the main stage while the smaller stage one plane hangar over hosted various cookie monster metal bands.

I enjoyed the opening number of the opener--but they lost me after the first song. In contrast to the fickle American audiences, as soon as they hit their first chord, fans flooded into the area to give them an appreciative listening audience. It was about 6:30pm, and already a good portion of this crowd was what we American's call "three sheets to the wind." Uh, that is....really shit-faced drunk.

Now what Road Report would be complete without the almost obligatory Armadillo restroom critique? They were port-a-potties, yes, but these were Finnish port-a-potties. The difference? They had astro-turf liners and cup holders. You see? One more reason to love Finland. Get me some wi-fi in there and I'll start paying rent. Come for the astro-turfed toilets....stay for the heavy metal! I don't know why it was so enchanting, but I even enjoyed the soundcheck--"IPPS IPPS COX COX" (1...1....2....2....)

The next band up (I have GOT to go back and pull those names off the Kotka website) featured former members of Hanoi Rocks, playing with some local Finnish musicians. They were definitely getting some love from the small but loud (and did I mention drunk?) crowd. It was an interesting mix of heavy metal meets ska, and the younger set in the audience really grooved to it. At one point, the lead singer wrapped his face in a scarf and sang hooded--that was lost on me, and since I don't speak Finnish, I have no idea what the song was about. They played a ballad that musically, was painful, but it was obviously meaningful to their fans. Either way, I didn't care for it, personally, but the sound was excellently balanced.

Enjoyed a few songs more with a nice gent from the slamboard--Panu--thanks for stopping and saying hello! One more piece of evidence that the slamboard is full of good people++and the best fans in the world!

After they left the stage, I hear this loud "pop pop pop" and realize it's the sound of people stepping on plastic beer cups that now covered the floor....those imbibing were off to the beer tent for a refill. To my surprise, an expedient crew swoops in and the cups are gone to recycling in a flash. Won't see that at a US Festival--shit, I think there are still plastic cups on the ground from last year's Preakness.

Hardcore Superstar was next up, and they truly did not disappoint me. They came onstage to Van Halen's "Dance the Night Away", immediately received adulation from the crowd...tossed beers into the audience...(like we needed them??!?) and played with high energy. Great rock and roll--and a real crowd pleaser--I think I counted more Hardcore Superstar shirts than Twisted. For their final number, "Last Call for Alcohol" (what else?), they brought two fans up onstage to sing it with them--I really appreciate these types of gestures, and they are a fine group of gentlemen as well as talented, hard-rocking musicians. I would have preferred less bass--there was a lot of bass reverb and I found it distracting.

By this point, I saw a few folks running for the exit. There are two things that make one run for the exit like that--really bad heavy metal....and really bad-ass heavy metal....given that the one fellow was wearing a Spice Girls tee-shirt, it's safe to assume it was the bad-ass metal having him run for the door.

Our hard-working road crew treated us to a quick "Cat Scratch Fever" during the sound check, and due to a few technical glitches, the band took the stage 5 minutes late.
So.....we had some really good things last night and a few not-so-good things.

The good first:
The guitar work was excellent--very tightly played solos--excellent duos--perfect balance of bass and guitars. Eddie truly nailed down the "Kids Are Back" and Jay Jay's solo during "Stay Hungry" was absolutely screaming.

The not-so-good?
Dee arrived literally hours before the show from his international flight--I know EXACTLY how exhausted he must have felt, and to see him performing with his usual high energy was absolutely phenomenal.....however....jetlag took it's toll. We had a LOT of lyric boo-boos--don't get me wrong, Dee sang every line of every song....just not in order. Did the fans care? Of course not. Did I care? Not really--I thoroughly enjoyed his usual assortment of one-liner Dee-isms.

He greeted the audience with "'Wank You! ooo...I meant 'Thank You!' sorry...it's the jet lag!" And then a particularly funny moment of TMI--Dee explained he needed to pause to adjust his ballsac (shit, there goes my pulitizer) because it felt a little "fringy." Just see the photos--you'll understand.

He asked the audience: "Are there any SMFs out there? By the end of the show.... it will be ALL SMFs out there..." and I do believe that prophecy was fulfilled. When a group straggled in late, he called them out: "Where the fuck were you? We've been playing for 45 minutes? Probably were on the ferris wheel." I can tell you where they were, Dee, it's called the BEER GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL! And predictably--Dee DID comment on those weird lanterns--"What the fuck is this? A rave? A fuckin' disco?" I shoulda bet money on that.
"You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll" damn near blew the fabric off the tent frame--I found Eddie's solo absolutely blistering--his "Price" solo was particularly good--much better than what I heard in Athens.

And while the lyrics went south on "Under the Blade", there was a very nice "duet" moment between Jay Jay and Dee that I hope someone took a snapshot of. The crowd was rocking all the way to the end of the pier, and the floor was going nuts!
"Shoot 'em Down" was dedicated to all of the assholes in the world (nee: politicians)....and speaking of assholes....I met the monarch of all assholes, the twatwaffle king, yes.... say it with me, you know what's coming: DOUCHE BAG. There's always one....and goddammit if there isn't a douchebag magnet where I stand. This one takes the cake.

Everyone was rocking out, enjoying themselves, when suddenly, there's someone keeping time on the top of my head. That's right, he's drumming on my head. You know, I've had people use the top of my head as a beer coaster....an armrest....and even a good luck charm...but this was too much. When a few not-so-subtle hints failed to get him to stop, I got my point across a bit more directly. Next thing I know, DB's elbow is digging into my shoulder, his hairy forearm is now pressed against my cheek, and repeated attempts to remove it simply resulted in it re-appearing on the other side.

I swear to you, his nuts were almost up my ass-crack--I'm sorry, I know it's too much information, but if I have to get violated in the front row for 90 minutes to bring you the best road report possible, you can stand to read about it for five....no, really. It's cathartic for to get this out. I finally decided for something more his speed--I found his foot, and proceeded to apply my weight to his toenail, and explained to him that I would remove my foot when he removes his fist from the side of my head. Kudos to the excellent security guard, who intervened at least four times, and made him cease and desist. Okay...everyone on the count of three....one............two..............three..........

DOUCHEBAG!!!

Dee gave props to Hardcore Superstar, Lordi and Michael Monroe--and let us into a rousing "I Wanna Fuck!" The band gave the crowd a round of applause, in appreciation for their volume! It was time to rock, and so Dee gave the crowd a chance to rock. First "rock"...it was...okay...as Dee said, "you weren't ready...here's we'll try again..." Second "rock" was better....then, Finland voted, and surprise, surprise! They want to fuck more than they want to rock as well. Best Deeism of the night, "Do you want to fuck?!!? No, no....not you, sir..."

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Whoops--sorry folks---that consonant interlude was brought to you by Mark "the Animal" Mendoza, who just demonstrated his bass playing techinques on my netbook...

Twisted had to cut the setlist short, and so while we had "Whole Lotta Rosie" we didn't have "Come Out and Play." If they had been the headliner, it may have been different, but they had to give proper respect--rock icon Michael Monroe took the stage next.

Just a few quick words on Michael Monroe--that man can still kick some serious ass! His set was absolutely fantastic, and I was amazed at his high energy and vibrancy--the man did a split! Seriously--a split! "Sex, Drugs & Rock n' roll" brought the place to a frenzy. (okay, so he had a little issue getting back up, but a rock split at his mileage? Impressive. He is a really nice chap as well, and a man of class. Very approachable and soft spoken, completely different from his onstage personna, like so many other rockers. (He makes this one face when he's onstage--these scary eyes--my maine coon makes that same face when he sees a moth!)

Amazing to see such rock royalty sharing the bill with Twisted.
On the ride back to Helsinki, it looked like a zombie movie as the hoards of drunken Finns made their way back through town. In a bizarre moment, "Long Way to the Top" came over the radio as we drove through the still light rural countryside. We rolled back to the hotel around 4:30 AM, caught a few moments of conversation with Eddie outside the hotel around 5:00 AM, and now I'm off for 2 hours of sleep, as Oulu awaits!

Sleep tight, my babies, for tomorrow....we rock again!
This is Armadillo....trotting off to change socks and grab a catnap...
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Setlist for Kotka, Finland July 29, 2011 
Saturday, July 30, 2011, 04:28 AM
Posted by Administrator
yes, ladies and gentlemen, you read that correctly.
It is 4:30 am, and before I retire for the 2 hours until I leave for Oulu, I bring you the setlist....

because....that's just what I do...

1. What You Don't Know
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
4. Captain Howdy
5. You Can't Stop Rock n' Roll
6. The Fire Still Burns
7. We're Not Gonna Take It
8. The Price
9. Under The Blade
10. Shoot 'em Down
11. Burn In Hell
drum solo
12. Whole Lotta Rosie
13. I Wanna Rock (Fuck)
band intros
encore #1
14. S.M.F.

The road report is forthcoming....after a shower, shave, the other "s" and maybe an hour or two of sleep.
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Helsinki pre-show 
Thursday, July 28, 2011, 06:04 PM
Posted by Administrator
Greetings once more from Helsinki...

I'm pleased to announce that the roadcrew and most of the band have safely arrived in Finland. They chowed down on some lunch and I imagine are catching a few precious winks at the moment.
I barely finished typing that sentence before our very own Mr. French sauntered into the hotel lobby, guitar slung casually over one shoulder, and informed me that I missed two incredible shows--Czech republic was "off the hook" and Madrid, in his words, was "fucking insane--55,000 fans losing their minds." Damn!

Of the 15 shows this year, I will make 7...my Russian visa didn't happen..of course now, I'm a bit bummed. My original plan was to catch every show Greece thru Colorado. I opted for extra days in Greece to go sightseeing instead of one day in Czech Republic and one day in Madrid. Well, c'est la vie, it's that 60-hour a week pesky nuisance that I must tend to in order to finance my twisted passion. If I win the lottery (and yes, I do play the Powerball) I will follow the next world tour to every show, but alas! The cats need feeding and my job demands that I limit my time away.

Regardless, I'm pleased as punch with Helsinki. It is an absolutely spectacular city--highly walkable, safe....surprisingly quiet for a city...and a public transit system that is easy to use and efficient. I absolutely adore the juxtaposition of old architecture with contemporary. Despite getting caught in a downpour this morning, the day turned out quite nice.

Johnny (TS Lightman) and his friend Kent strolled downtown with me to a rock club called "Tavastia"--Helsinki's answer to "The Marquee." It is the oldest rock club in Helsinki, founded by students, and is the kind of club that many of you old schoolers would appreciate. We got a opportunity to look at the dressing room--a tight space in which the walls, ceiling and virtually every surface was covered with autographs and graffiti of past bands. (S.M.F. played there!)

Like so many European countries, Heavy Metal has deep roots here. Incidentally the Air Guitar World Championships are held here annually....as well as the International Wife-Carrying Races and the World Cell Phone Throwing championships. Finland has a delightful quirkiness that is absolutely endearing. I did partake of the sauna.....one of those "things you must do in Finland".

I'm back after downing some kebob and taking in a few fascinating stories...the one most particularly enchanting was the story of Jay Jay's new ring. He was dining in Portugal, in a scenic seaside chateau called Furnace De Ginsho, when the waiter, Marco, noticed his seahorse pendant and asked if he was a musician. And like most waiters, surprise, surprise! he was in a band, too! (sorry--not a dig on waiters or guitarists...just stating a basic truth. you know it's true, c'mon now)
After some brief discourse about guitars, the waiter gives Jay Jay his ring, telling him that the rings were made and worn only by his group, and it would be his honor to give it to him. Jay Jay showed me the ring...very nice work. A skull made of copper, which incidentally, is supposed to holistically good for arthritic joints, so if Jay Jay's solo is particularly good tomorrow night, I'm going to wonder if that ring had something to do with it.

Off to bed now....tomorrow is a few hours on the road to Kotka. Sleep tight my babies...tomorrow we rock!
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