Rock Fest, Barcelona Spain, 5-July, 2014 Part two: THE SHOW

Alright then, when I last left you, it was in a sleep-deprived, hungry, and fragrant state. (My jeans enjoyed the walking tour of Barcelona) and we were preparing to head over to the festival.

So I need to put it up front–this morning’s newspaper in Spain hailed Twisted Sister as the “kings” of the festival, and declared Twisted Sister as delivering the best performance of the day. That certainly doesn’t surprise those of us who are Twisted faithfuls, but many of the fans who also stayed for Manowar’s top of bill set, described to us their amazement at just how powerful a live band Twisted Sister is.

I have to just mention here–July 5th is a sentimental day for me. Aside from being my late grandmother’s birthday, July 5, 2003 was my first show of the reunion tour. It was at Six Flags, New Jersey, and I can truly say that it was a day that changed my life forever. Hard to believe that eleven years later, Twisted Sister is still playing shows on the tour that was “Back to Kick Your Ass,” and even more amazing that I’m able to now bring you an edition of these road reports from the inside of the this special organization I call my Twisted family.


The festival grounds were similar to other festivals. It was a dusty unload backstage but we were helped out by an eager and strong army of local hands The grounds were a moderately sized muddy field with the usual assortment of food stands, merchandise, and a round circus tent with the second stage. There was one rather odd bit of merch– a licensed Twisted Sister tee shirt with the front cover of Stay Hungry in a graphic circle on the front, and the back of Stay Hungry on the back, also in a very graphically designed circle….except it had a bite taken out of it. It looked like a giant Twisted Sister cookie…..and someone decided they couldn’t stay hungry any longer.

It was almost surreal as we pulled in–the effects of sleep deprivation clearly taking their toll–I found myself needing to write down the most simplest of instructions, and no amount of coffee, energy drink, water or gatorade could take the edge off. The crew knew that this would be a difficult festival–we had less than thirty minutes to do the changeover (meaning: the setup and sound check just before our Twisted five would perform) and we were down by several road crew due to scheduling challenges.

Keeping with the unfortunate trend of the past few shows, the dressing rooms and production office were a long jog across an uneven gravel lot away from the stage. Our dressing rooms were set up in a converted futbol locker room across from the field–we saw more than one pickup game played throughout the night. I made that miserable gravel trek at least 50 times–my feet were bloody stumps by the time the show was over.

When we got the green light to begin changeover, we wasted no time at all. But to our dismay, when we began the sound check, the bass stack was completely inoperable. Twisted Sister travels very light–with just a handful of guitars, a mic stand, backdrop and a few production cases. This means that the festival must provide all of the sound and lighting equipment–sometimes it goes well, and sometimes… it can go a lot better. Technical difficulties are always a bit stressful, but I assure you my babies, we had every technician helping, and the Animal himself came onstage to assist. It certainly didn’t help that the word for “bass” and the word for “Glass” were similar, and my yells for a bass tech were met with the confused looks by local crew, thinking I was asking for a glass. Unfortunately, the end result of the festival’s shortcomings, meant that “Long Way To The Top” did not roll until almost 25 later than we were designated.

The fans were not only patient, they were supportive and the wait seemed to fuel their excitement. The roar from the crowd was enormous as Twisted steam-rollered onstage and placed faster than ever, making up some lost ground. There were a few crowd favorites that had to get cut last minute, but on the positive side, the crowd were treated to many goodies from “Stay Hungry” and a full-on version of “You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll” that peeled the paint off the locker room. I caught the first three songs from the locker room area, as I was making transport arrangements for the band and loading bags and such into the van. I could detect a few more technical issues but by the third song, the sound–especially the bass–was now worked out and the guitars were sounding fine again.

Spotted in the audience was an adorable little girl (we guessed around 10 years old) who was sporting a Dee wig, pink and black regalia and even warpaint. Dee gave her a little shout out–The crowd was engaged from the start, singing loud and proud on every song. Dee was noticeably less chatty with the audience–partly because of the language barrier–but he wanted to deliver as many songs as possible.

“Captain Howdy” and “Street Justice” were played tightly, and possibly one of the first times this Country has heard these two songs back-to-back since the mid-eighties. Without too much fanfare, A.J. roared into the most famous drum intro in rock-n-roll complete with cowbell, and the crowd wildly appreciated not only “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” but they sang several refrains a cappella followed by a rousing version of “Huevos Con Aceites”, which apparently translates to “Eggs with oil.” For those unfamiliar, when the song first played on radios in Spanish speaking countries, the lyrics of WNGTI sound very similar to these words in Spanish. So, when in Rome…..or as the case may be, when in Spain, why not? Twisted sang
“Eggs in Oil” for a few verses.

It was a little odd to hear “Kids Are Back” so late in the setlist, but it definitely rocked hard, and rolled almost right into a double speed version of “I Believe In Rock n’ Roll”, and then a very rousing “Born to Raise Hell,” my favorite song of the setlist. (yes, I know it’s Motorhead, but I love the TS version too) And of course, my favorite part of playing Spain– the crowd gave us a rousing and inspiring: OLE….OLE OLE OLE……OLE….OLE… Muchos gracias. (Sorry about your World Cup loss, by the way. Tough break in the first round.)

Without a lot of introduction–and really, it’s not a song that needs much introduction- “I Wanna Rock” delivered a furious encore to the delight of the crowd, who sang each word aloud–a sea of fists in the air. With Manowar’s crews virtually pushing us off-stage to get their equipment on, there were no encores or band introductions–but a heartfelt “Muchos Gracias” to all of the fans of Barcelona.

I caught Manowar’s set as I helped pack up the equipment–{I’ve always like Manowar–Fighting The World was one of my favorite albums back in my youth) but my feet literally bleeding from the 6 1/2 miles of running on gravel between stage and locker room. Special thank you to Uffe for helping out–and an extra special Armadillo shout out to Carlos and Angie for the good conversations out and about in Barcelona, the promoters and staff of Rock Fest 2014 and a super extra special SMF thank you to Joe for the delightful post-show dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe! It was wonderful to wind down after a very challenging and stressful show.

The next day almost all of us spent a considerable amount of time doing what we hadn’t done in days–shower, dine and rest!

In spite of tremendous adversity, Twisted Sister ensured that the fans got exactly what they wanted–the best show of the night! Every fan I spoke to–including the security guards at the airport–told me that Twisted Sister blew every other band away. (yes. including Manowar.)

with that, my babies, it is off to Copenhagen to rest before Sweden.

this is Armadillo, trotting off to find elusive, sweet slumber

p.s. To Big Bertha, we”ll always have Paris…


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