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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sheesh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then dead silence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think world peace may come sooner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Plymouth, MA Veteran's Hall, 11/6/09 
Friday, November 6, 2009, 11:20 PM
Posted by Administrator
November 6, 2009 Plymouth, MA
Ah my babies….
It is my distinct pleasure to bring to you now, the latest edition of the Armadillo Road Report, Plymouth Massachusetts, containing all of the concert review details that you want to know…and plenty you don’t! Coming to you fresh from the airport, I’ll give you a teaser here:
Plymouth is a town rich with American history including Plymouth Rock….this was one for the history rock books. This concert was LEGENDARY.

Now given that just one week ago, your SMF friends were sweating it out in the one-hundred plus degrees in Orlando, Florida, it was nothing short of metabolic shock to get off the plane in Boston to thirty-five degrees and windy. The beautiful drive to Plymouth through the fall foliage and then a lovely stroll down historic Plymouth’s cobblestone sidewalks, was the perfect start to this road trip. Being still in the Halloween spirit, and given the well-known presence of Plymouth ghosts, my theme of the night was “omens.”

First good omen of the night: while checking out the venue situation, I had an opportunity to overhear the sound check. Most notably, the boys played “Shoot ‘em Down”—I could hear every note perfectly and realized that if it sounded this good outside, I could only imagine how great it was going to sound that night! I ran into our favorite manager Danny Stanton and told him “I’m lovin’ Plymouth already!” and a very cold Danny replied “Brrrrr….Orlando it ain’t!” [sidenote: tell that to the panhandler I walked past ---300 lb dude was wearing no pants. I swear it’s true. He mercifully was wearing a fanny pack in the front.] I grabbed a quick bite at T-Bones Roadhouse….couldn’t resist a pub with an armadillo on the sign and off to the show I went.

The concert site itself was one of Plymouth’s older, historic colonial buildings—now their Veteran’s Memorial Hall. The hallways were adorned with a mix of rock and roll and war veteran memorabilia. They had a concession stand, a bar, vending, merchandise tables and the gold standard of concert bathrooms—seriously, it was huge. (Sometimes it’s the little things in life.) The entire floor was cleared for general admission, split into two sections. There was a front section and then a rear section, with two tiers of balcony and mezzanine seating almost all the way up to the stage. Beautiful, high ceilings made for some decent acoustics with a small stage about 4 feet off the floor—fans were allowed access right up to the stage’s edge. The staff had a few logistical issues at first, but they seemed to work it out eventually.

The band times were posted at the door—each opening act had 30 minutes of stage time and let me just say that you could set your watch by these folks. The opener went onstage five minutes late, but they were still off by their designated time. Speaking of opening acts, this show had three of them: Chain Drive, Woodland Creatures, and VOBC.

I took my place up front with my fellow slamboarders, and noted what we were concerned would be a bad omen: a white tie draped on the amp: fears of Duran Duran and English Beat influences raced through our minds. Fortunately, it was an unfounded worry—Chain Drive was very good overall—they sounded quite well-practiced for an opener and quite honestly, belonged 2nd on the bill, not 4th. Their guitarist was very talente and the drummer had plenty of crowd favorite: the cowbell. Two tips for Chain Drive:

1. If you are going to do a crowd sing-a-long, be sure you have more than 4 fans in the audience that know the words. Or….
2. Pick a song that we know and love if you don’t fit the criteria for #1.
I was surprised to see Danny watching from the floor but perhaps he was scoping out some new talent. Overall, Chain Drive did well. It ain’t easy being first on a bill of 4, especially with TS headlining.

Bad Omen #2 came along as the second opener began to set up a mixing board and turntable. Yep, you read that right. Immediately followed by Bad Omen #3: one of the band members came onstage wearing a cap turned askew and a white track suit. Eminem wanna be? Oh Why? Both of these omens seemed to fulfill our prophecy that Woodland Creatures would not be a crowd pleaser. Hailing from Wareham, MA, they did bring a small fan base with them. My earplugs cancel out 35 decibels, but unfortunately, I could still hear Woodland Creatures. Not my cuppa tea.

Next up was a Plymouth Rock band (sorry, my last Plymouth pun, I promise….) VOBC. Well. Some folks seemed to really like them, so obviously they have appeal to the younger set. And their drummer, Roger, apparently had something to do with bringing tonight’s together, so “thanks for that.” To me, they were just another “Cookie Monster” speed metal band. You know what I’m talking about….the lead singer essentially sounds like a hypoglycemic pissed off Cookie Monster.

Their bass player performed in his stocking feet….I saw a pair of Rockports behind him, gotta love New England. My slamboard peanut gallery gave them an A for energy…but an F for execution. The bassist resembled someone having a grand mal seizure….he continuously knocked into the drum equipment…the lead singer threw his microphone stand and almost took out the bassist…not to mention that he repeatedly hawked “loogies” up in the air and onto the stage, including one that landed on a lovely young gal standing in the front row. VOBC was just like school on Saturday: NO CLASS. A real shame because their guitarist has a lot of [wasted] talent. Armadillo tip for VOBC: don’t spit on your fans. open for Run DMC's reunion tour instead. ‘Nuff said.

Our TS roadie treated us to the opening riff of “Hysteria” as he tuned up Eddie’s Fender—and I have to tell you, I could have listened to that all night. Nice touch! But then 10:00 pm rolled around and the theatre went dark. The familiar opening chords of “Long Way to the Top” kicked some adrenaline into our veins and so began one of the BEST TS shows of the entire Stay Hungry Anniversary Tour. Now I know what some of you are thinking—I’m just kissing up because of the less-than-stellar review I did of Orlando. I swear to you all—this show was fantastic! It was TS at their best.

Here’s the setlist, first and foremost: (oh, those of you who weren’t there... you’re gonna shit when you see what you missed!)
The first ten songs were “Stay Hungry” side-to-side, in order, with a drum solo during “The Beast.”
Here are the encores…ready?
11. Come Out and Play
12. “30”
13. Under The Blade
[band introductions]
14. You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll
That’s right…they played “30!” But more on that later….

While the Memorial Hall was [embarrassedly] not packed full, it had some true, hardcore SMFs! After the first song, I looked over my shoulder, and all the way up in the balcony, in the last row, they were rocking hard! An observation shared by Dee, who exclaimed: “You guys are fucking loud….and ‘fuck’ is pretty fucking loud!” and then treated a front row lovely to his best Joey-from-Friends “How YOU doin’?”

Dee did a quick rap to address anyone’s concerns about sellout. Between the Midol, Dancing With The Stars and Wendy’s….it is understandable that some fans may have some worry. Leave it to the greatest frontman in heavy metal to explain: while at first Twisted Sister was a bit nervous about selling song rights to a women’s PMS product, he learned that “it is a medication that stops vaginal dryness….and where there is vaginal dryness, Twisted Sister is here to stand against it and prevent it! We’re stopping vaginal dryness! We're doing G-d’s work here!”
[Never thought I’d ever type the words “vaginal dryness” and Twisted Sister in the same sentence. Another Twisted first.]

Okay…so more on the show.
The dual solos between Eddie and Jay Jay were just spot on. There was raw energy in the crowd, and perfect synchronicity onstage. "Burn In Hell" absolutely tore it loose. Literally, too. Dee always sheds his shoulder pads by the third song, but rarely onstage. As Dee dropped to the floor for the intro to Burn In Hell, I see his shoulder pads rolling off the stage like a tumbleweed! Jay Jay’s solo was absolutely FLAWLESS.

Dee apologized for the postponement of September 12th but thanked all of us for coming up—this was one fired up crowd! He shared that the evening’s performance would be the last Stay Hungry Anniversary Tour stop in the United States, and the last time we would see them in Stay Hungry makeup [we may seem some at the Christmas shows], and it may very well be the last time we hear some of those songs live. I tried my best to savor each and every song, and as sentimentally wussy as it sounds, held back some tears.

Jay Jay mentioned that while this was the last domestic show for the Stay Hungry tour, the band was already impressed with the fans here, and Boston was definitely going to be on the Christmas docket next year! You heard it here first! (er, second…) He reminded us all to set our TIVO for Private Sessions on A&E, December 6th. (They filmed it the day just before last night’s show) And he gave us one of his now famous, American Idol rants.

When they launched into “Captain Howdy”, Animal’s bass sound was so huge, you could actually see the beat move drinks…clothing…anything sitting on or near the stage…. And at one point (“Come here, my sweet, let me help you with that….) Dee almost got right down into the crowd! When we sang the refrain, I’ve never seen the band look more pleased. Dee took another moment to stress our civic responsibility to “Take Back The Horns!” And he gave me yet another Dee Snider notable quotable about the creation of the horns:
“Like Excalibur’s sword, passed on to us to by the great DIO, as a symbol of solidarity and unity….”
And he shared with us the horror, that even Betty White has been guilty of blatant and flagrant misuse of throwing the horns.

They launched into “I Wanna Rock”…. And that’s where we had a few moments of crowd ugliness. Apparently, the facility security decided to allow all the rear general admission folks to gain entry into the front general admission. So suddenly, a respectful and civil group of SMFs were met with several rude, intoxicated and yes, pungent, concert goers who elbowed their way to the front. And during the song, as Dee shouted “I Wanna Rock…You Wanna Rock….” One totally intoxicated idiot climbs onstage and tries to grab Dee’s microphone. Dee, of course, without missing a beat, chimes in “Even big fat ugly guys wanna rock!” Security: ya dropped the ball on this one. He dove right over my head (not hard to do, mind you) and we nicely cleared a hard, flat spot on the floor for him to land face first. Say it with me, everybody: DOUCHE BAG!

“Don’t Let Me Down” is one of those special songs, and I particularly liked how Eddie played it last night. It was just special—and I fear that we may not hear this song live again. “The Price” was spot-on, freakin’ amazing. Chills all round. The lighters were on all the way --doing the Price sway from the front row to the back row of the balcony.

Even AJ’s drum solo was a little more than his usual (incredible) sounds of thunder…it had a bit more funk to it! Add his blue-LED tipped laser sticks and it was just perfection. “S.M.F.” brought down the house, I thought Animal was going to pound that bass into tiny pieces.

“Come Out and Play”: they have often teased us with the COAP opener for an encore but then launch into something else…this time they played it full glory. Jay Jay finished it off with a behind –the-head move. [please tell me SOMEONE got a photo of that!]
And then we were treated to what Dee has deemed, “The Bathroom Song.” Those fans who don’t want to hear anything new, use opportunities such as this to go to the bathroom. And if you were one of those people, you missed out! “30” was just a thrill to hear live, and that opening funkadelic “waaaaah waaaaaaaaah waaaaaaaaaah” just rocked me to the core.

“Under The Blade” was dedicated to us, the “Old Fucks” as Dee called us. Eddie motioned that they had hit it out of the park....so true! Dee reminded us, again, to get a good look because this was essentially the end of the makeup, with the final notable quotable of the night: “Lady GaGa…that bitch owes me royalties!”

Jay Jay, always the epitome of class, walked over the edge of the stage—and while met with dozens of fans’ open hands, reaching like chirping hungry birds….he handed picks to three delightful ladies in the audience, including a young little SMF standing off in the mezzanine, who looked simply elated! (who wouldn’t be?)
Speaking of Jay Jay….

We opted to take the spot in front of his microphone, and because there was no security barrier, we were incredibly close. How close were we?
So close I could count the scratches on Jay Jay’s TS belt buckle…
So close I had to be careful that when I rocked out, I didn’t accidentally throw a fist into Jay Jay’s nuts….
So close that I had to watch my hands to make sure they weren’t in the path of his feet…
So close that I made the GROSS FAUX PAS of letting him see me take notes during the show.
Now some of you who have seen me at shows, have often asked me “how do I remember all of this crap?” Well it’s simple: I don’t. If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it five minutes later. And as an avid writer, I am constantly jotting down quick shorthand so that I can capture all the sights, sounds and flavors of the show, especially the setlist. But

I’m usually pretty discreet.

Except not last night. And Jay Jay busted me.

My special telepathic powers allowed me to read Mr. French’s mind: ‘I’m here busting my ass onstage and that fucking Armadillo is standing there scribbling notes. WHAT A DOUCHE BAG’
And so for those of you in the back, who were going “What the fuck? Why does Jay Jay keep pantomiming like he’s taking notes?” well…. That was for me. Honestly--I was scribbling down what a brilliant performance of “30” you had just done, and when I looked up and saw you looking down at me….oh shit....you know how hard I rock out at these shows! I promise to be more discreet about it at the Christmas shows…. But I DID tell you that this review was gonna be a good one!

They ended with “You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll’ with a special dedication to the survivors of the Station Fire, several of whom were in attendance. Always a place in our hearts for you and all of the families who lost loved ones.

When the lights came on, “Day of the Rocker” started playing on the PA (the official signal that the show is over), the front rows dissipated as a few did what I call the “Day of the Rocker” shuffle…. Walking slowly like zombies along the floor, looking for guitar picks…
This show was one for the books—great crowd (for the most part), great location, fantastic performance and a chance to hear a song live that we have NEVER seen or heard live before.
I didn’t want it to be over, it was just that good!

Thank you thank you thank you Gentlemen! I don’t know how you will top that one but I’m sure you will. A legendary, historic show in beautiful, downtown Plymouth. FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC.

There were professional photographers there: here's one: Lisa Gourley you can check out her photos at www.lisagourley.com

And just for fun: a quirky epilogue to the town of Plymouth:
This morning before driving an hour to the airport, I headed out for a New England breakfast with Boston baked beans and grilled corn bread (Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!) and saw a woman pushing a baby stroller, while she walked a cat wearing a dress on a leash. You read that one right. I asked the waitress for a reality check:
“Excuse me, ma’am, but does that seem odd to you?”
“It does…” she replied, “She usually pushes the cat in the stroller” Ba-dum-bump.

Your faithful road reporter, trotting off…until we meet again in Philadelphia… if this doesn't convince you to buy a ticket to an upcoming show, I don't know what will!

Armadillo



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