I’m loopy as hell from no sleep, but one thing is for sure:
Twisted Sister DESTROYED Sommerfest in the Faroe Islands. After this summer, no other band will even come close to delivering what the crowd experienced this past weekend. It was raw energy that set the bar so high, the inhabitants of the Faroe Islands told us they don’t know if they will ever see another show come close.
We heard it from every attendee we spoke with–best show ever!
So let’s get right to it, shall we? After four incredible days of relaxation, it was now time to rock, which actually proved a little bit challenging at first–the crew was feeling so refreshed for a change, that it was hard to recognize that it was “show day.” We took the foggy but beautiful drive into the 2nd biggest town on the island–Klaksvik–and settled into our new digs for the day.
The festival grounds were unlike anything any of us had ever seen. Nestled deep in one of Faroe’s lush green valleys, the relatively small stage was still under construction, which gave us time to breathe in the surroundings. We had mountainous views on three sides. The town’s businesses were located in the bottom of the valley, homes dotted the winding streets on the sides, and then nothing but sheep everywhere higher. The stage teetered in the edge of a hilly grass knoll, with an enormous Front-of-House booth for the lighting and sound engineers. It had the most bizarre downstage I’ve ever seen…two huge slick metal ramps that lead to a T platform in front. A second smaller stage was built a short distance away, and concession stands lined the walk. Keeping with the character of the Faroe Islands, our amazing host Simun opened his home to the band to provide a quiet, comfortable place to get ready, with one of the most incredible food spreads I’ve ever seen.
And for another first–Simun’s neighbors gave Dee their house as a private dressing room. Yes. The whole house. What’s more amazing is that they had to look for a key–not a spare key, mind you, a key. Living in a place with almost no crime at all, most islanders do not lock their doors. Remarkable. Special thank you to the entire family who opened their home to us–there was something really sweet about a little welcome message written on the entryway chalkboard–as if we were now a part of the family. It was also one of the more challenging security details–on a small island, word gets out fast, and the folks at Faroe are so accustomed to just walking into each other’s houses, we were posted outside the house to gently explain to curious neighbors that the band needed privacy–and that meant no one could visit. They were puzzled…but as always, kind, polite and understanding.
The crew settled inside a telecommunications building as a production office while our talented Twisted technicians prepared the guitars and built the drum kit inside the garage of the police station. We enjoyed more Faroe Island hospitality with mounds and mounds of candy–an absolute must for those of us on the crew–and had absolutely LUXURIOUS hours to get the stage prepared. The sound check was very clean sounding–Danny Stanton (The TM) and road crew members Mehtis (From Finland), Duane (NY) joined A.J. on the skins to play a solid “Shoot ’em Down” to an early bird audience who applauded the sound check with gusto….and the rushed over to the crew to get autographs. Oh. And there was a clown in the pit. Yeah. A Clown. Not a guy in a wig…or a guy wearing a nose…it was a dude decked out in full clown makeup….complete with wig, nose, pom pom buttons and big shoes, and he was throwing the horns and moshing around with a group of kids. Okay. I ate a bunch of things I don’t normally eat…I went to a 1000 year old house full of ghosts…flew in a chopper but THIS CLOWN is freaking me out, man.
I came inside the secondary staging area to listen to Jay Jay French’s interview on a local radio station, talking about Twisted Sister’s reunion and the rise to the top. Jay Jay never has a problem finding things to say–he gave a fun interview which was followed by the station’s playing of “Leader of the Pack” a song which I mst confess, I have not played since, um, 1986. Rest of Europe ain’t got nuthin’ on Faroe. Special Road Report shout out to slamboard S.M.F. Patrick from Austria who made the trek to the island–good to see other S.M.F.s willing to seek a little adventure! (and brave the clowns)
This empty grassy field suddenly filled quickly with more than 10,000 people of all ages, and judging by the looks on their faces, this was truly the HAPPIEST crowd I have ever seen. They were loving every single minute, and I saw smiles as far as the eyes could see. “Stay Hungry” and “Kids Are Back” opened us up, and gave me a little background music as I loaded up the transport. It sounded perfectly balanced, loud as hell and 100% pure Twisted. Even the sheep were singing…”The Kids are Baaaaaa-aaaaaaack!” (oh please, like you weren’t expecting sheep references)
“You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll” was a solid performance–some absolutely great guitar playing happening tonight–maybe it was the sushi…or the Black Sheep Ale….or the jumping salmon….or four days of rest…OR…maybe it’s because no one can play live the way Twisted Sister can. This was rock and roll all the way, babies.
Here is what amazed me the most at this show–it is safe to say that a pretty large number of those in attendance had never heard of Twisted Sister prior to the festival. Many who had, did not know Twisted Sister beyond radio hits. But regardless, they were cheering, screaming and rocking out to every single song from the opening note. The crowd was absolutely electric, and now I can see why the locals told us that this concert was the most important day of the summer.
The islands experience a long, cold, dark and stormy winter–this concert will get the town through it all–they knew TS was giving it all they had, and the crowd gave it right back. Pure energy.
I knew that “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was gonna set the place on fire. It was an absolute spectacle. Everybody was singing. And I do mean everybody, I spied the crowd singing all the way in the back, on the hills…local sittng on their roof tops were throwing the horns….and the sheep. They were throwing the hooves. Dee was clearly enjoying himself as well–he thanked the original fans in the audience–hear that? We’re not old…we’re original…and told the parents of all the small children in attendance that they were raising their kids right!
The next three songs were strong and well-played, with a rendition of “The Price” that this crowd will never forget. “Burn in Hell” then began with a hazer filling the stage with fog–wait, really? We’ve had crazy fog for 5 days…did we really need a machine? The stage lit with green light…wait a minute…green? Well, it IS the Faroe Islands. Everything here is green. Oh wait, there we go. Creepy red lights. Much better. A.J. delivered a drum solo that literally echoed off the mountains–the sound was truly THUNDEROUS, THe Sound of Thunder did not let us down–absolutely incredible.
We had another Dee-ism– Dee acknowledged all of the fans, including those standing all the way in the back. “It’s easy to rock in the front…it’s hard to rock out in the back by the toilets going…’hey, it smells like shit here…’ ” He also complimented the crowd on their enthusiasm. “Sometimes we do the show where we have to show the audience what to do…and then coax them into having a good time. BUT NOT TONIGHT!” This audience needed no coaxing or instructions–Faroe Islands, you know how to rock!
It was time for the audience favorite–“I Wanna Rock”–I have never seen a crowd so happy, so excited and so loud. Dee decided that they were ready for the real test–not only were they told to throw their fist in the air, but jump when yelling rock. I felt the earth move beneath me–more than ten thousand fans simultaneously jumping, it made me wonder if the seismic activity across the world was the butterfly effect.
They closed it out with a hard rocking rendition of “It’s Only Rock n’ Roll” and that crowd was so pumped up, they could have gone all night. And truth be told, there wasn’t a lot of night left. We packed up the gear, stopped at Simun’s house for another remarkable spread of sushi and other delicacies, and then back to the hotel. It was about 3:00 a.m. I think…and we had lobby call just two hours away.
Five a.m. rolled around and we packed our luggage into the cargo trailer attached to the van. Just five miles or so down the road, our driver pulls over to check the rear doors on the trailer. He re-locks them and is about to pull away when I look in the distance, and comment that the sheep are looking at “something in the road.” Danny and Mark go to check it out, and sure enough, three sheep are investigating Mark’s luggage, which had fallen into the middle of the road. He told the locals to be on the lookout for any sheep wearing stolen Harley tee shirts. We double backed to the hotel to retrieve Jay Jay’s bag, which had also fallen out somewhere along the way. With the gear now fully secured, we made our way to the airport for the next show–the whole time, we just could not stop talking about the experience that was the Faroe Islands.
No time for rest, as we then all boarded the plane together to head to Belgium for the Alcatraz rock festival.
And that, my babies, is how you rock. Thank you to Ronnva, our favorite flight attendant, her hard rocking mother and the countless kind relatives we met. And of course, there are no words to express our appreciation to Simun and Jastrid, for the most incredible hospitality we have ever experienced. Special thanks to all of the relatives we met, and the kind neighbors who opened their homes, factories, cars, fisheries, museums, restaurants and helicopters to us. Faroe Islands, your physical beauty was only outdone by the beauty of the people.
With that, this is Armadillo, trotting off to the zombie walk through another airport….stay tuned, my babies. Belgium is just right around the corner…