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Captain Howdy
Posted 2012-06-17 4:55 PM (#30697)
Subject: The Official Unofficial Non-Armadillo Road Report for Burlington, Iowa
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Nearly A Band Member

Posts: 717
Location: Chicago
Just got home from the long drive home. Burlington, IA was another great show from the boys! But seriously, when do they disappoint? Let’s be honest here. LOL!

First since I know a lot of you will be asking, here’s the set list and it was a great one for this SMF!!!
1. What You Don’t Know
2. Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
4. Wake Up The Sleeping Giant
5. I Believe in Rock n Roll
6. You Can’t Stop Rock n Roll
7. Sin After Sin
8. Fire Still Burns
9. We’re Not Gonna Take It
10. The Price
11. Burn In Hell (w/ drum solo)
12. I Wanna Rock
13. It’s Only Rock n Roll (But I Like It)
14. Come Out and Play
15. SMF

There was however one very important thing missing from this show. I felt a void down front without the little guy wearing his black and pink Twisted Sister bandana and SMF battle gear furiously scribbling unreadable chicken scratch on his note pad. I don’t think I’ve been to a show without Terry being there since the Christmas show in Chicago back on 2007! Since we can’t get an official Armadillo Road Report for this show, I’ll do my best to share the experience but I definitely will not pretend to replace Terry’s typically glorious reports. I’m just going to try and channel the spirit of the Armadillo the best that I can so here you go!

I started the 4 and ½ hour drive with a friend of mine, Mike, that was a Twisted Sister newbie. He was certainly familiar with the band but had never seen them live. Time to fix that void in his life! After passing thru 3 pretty significant thunder storms during the course of the journey, we were getting a little concerned about the ability for the show to go on when we looked up the forecast and saw that there was an 80% chance of thunderstorms in Burlington, IA. We arrived at about 10 minutes before the gates were due to open at 5pm. There were very few people there at that time. (Obviously they had seen the weather report as well!)

With the skies looking rather dark and ominous, we opted to stop by The Drake for a drink and refuse from the pending storm. This is a local bar/restaurant apparently famous for their Bar-B-Q. (I must admit that our dinner supported their reputation.) We walked in to find The Drake mostly empty at the time so we grabbed a couple of seats at the bar and watched as the skies became darker and darker and the bar became fuller and fuller. It wasn’t long before the skies were almost black and the heavens opened up with a fury of rain that was probably similar to what Noah witnessed. What is it about Twisted Sister and Mother Nature? She seems to have something against our favorite band for some reason. Anyway, we sat in the safety of the bar as the local SMF’s filed in and filled the place. The torrential rains continued and the clock continued to tick towards the scheduled 8pm start time.

The worst of the storm (at least the part containing the thunder and lightning) seemed to have passed shortly after 7pm but the rain was still coming down in buckets. I’m not positive but I’m pretty sure that I saw a few cats and dogs coming down with the rain at times. As we watched the clock tick closer and closer to that 8pm start time, the SMF’s were starting to get concerned. But, as luck would have it, Mother Nature apparently looked upon the Iowa SMF’s affectionately and let up as we approached kick off. The rain started to let up and we heard music coming from the stage and the opening act came on only about 5-10 minutes late.

The opening act was our old friends Jac and Jill. I’m sure many of you remember them from last December’s Christmas shows. They took the stage to a rather small crowd as the rain was still coming down but that crowd continued to grow throughout their set. They seemed to win over the Iowa crowd that was clearly ready to rock since they were willing to wait out the severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings. By the time Jac and Jill finished their set, the rain had stopped completely and the crowd was ready to rock!

The Iowa SMF’s were clearly not a seasoned bunch as there was no reaction when the first notes of AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top” came over the PA system. This makes sense as we found out later when Jay Jay confirmed that Twisted had not played Iowa since the 80’s so it had been a long time. The crowd was a mixture of old school SMF’s and Iowa youth that were only old enough to hear the legend of Twisted Sister from their parents. They did erupt when they figured out what was coming, though.

As the boys launched into “What You Don’t Know” and then “Kids Are Back”, there was definitely an excitement from the crowd but it did seem somewhat controlled and not nearly as passionate as I’m used to seeing from a TS audience. This continued thru the first part of the set list. There was a spirited response to Dee’s announcement that they would be playing songs from every Twisted Sister album and then proceeded to launch into “Wake Up the Sleeping Giant”. I was personally ecstatic as I had been keeping my fingers crossed that this one along with the rest of the European set list would make it back to American soil. (And as you can see above, it made it safe and sound! Thanks guys!)

I did notice something that was new from the usual Twisted Sister performance. There was a lady off to the side of the stage providing sign language for all of the lyrics and Dee’s raps with the audience. Iowa was making sure that nobody got left out of the fun! Some of you may remember Rabbi Darby providing sign language for “The Price” back in New York last year but this was for the entire show. Nice touch! Although, Mike and I got a good chuckle at the look on her face when the boys played “Sin After Sin” and she was trying to catch the words as she was clearly having trouble keeping up with the pace that the boys were playing and Dee was singing.

I’m sure Dee and the boys sensed that the crowd was holding back a bit as Dee started to survey the set up. There was a large area in front of the stage (about the first 50 feet) that was fenced off for those people willing to purchase VIP tickets. That left the people that weren’t willing to spend the extra $20 quite a way back from the stage. (Really? Only $20? Why wasn't everyone in the VIP section?) Dee was asking what they did wrong to be locked up in their cage. Not to be deterred, Dee continued to prod the audience for more and when they kicked into “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, the flood gates opened! (And not from the rain this time!) The crowd erupted and never let up from that point on! At the end of the song, Dee exclaimed “That’s more like it!” and with that, the Iowa crowd had been converted and was now under the power of The Church of Twisted Sister!

This was a curse free night but Dee did slip up once when he singled out the guy sitting down that apparently didn’t have anything in his life that he “wasn’t going to take”. After Dee asked if everything was good with his job, his wife, his kids, his sports team, his car, and everything else he could think of; The guy continued to insist that his life was all good to which Dee pronounced that the was full of shit. Oops! Not to be deterred, Dee levied the fine on the patron with no problems in his life because he “made” Dee curse. LOL! Classic!

There were some new Dee-isms like “Why is there a pole between me and my spotlight?” The concert was outdoors and being staged in what is typically a parking lot so there was a large light pole right in the middle so Dee swayed from left to right alternating from the brightness of the spot light to the shadow from the pole and back to the brightness of the spotlight on the other side of the pole.

After a minor sound issue with some feedback at the beginning of the show and with the monitor at the front of the extension at the front of the stage, the sound was great! The band was on their game and playing and performing great! This was even more impressive given that they had just played in Spain Thursday night and were now playing Iowa less than 48 hrs. later. For those of you keeping track at home, about 26 of those less than 48 hrs. were spent getting to Burlington by flying from Spain to Paris to Minneapolis to Iowa and then driving another hour and a half to arrive in Burlington. Now that’s commitment! That's also some crazy jetlag that I can speak from experience on! (And some serious air miles!)

They did seem to have a number of lighting issues as the spotlight was mistakenly turned on during the beginning of “What You Don’t Know” when the stage was supposed to still be dark. Then there was Dee standing at the front of the stage extension in the dark because there was no spotlight on him. And the now infamous intro to “Burn in Hell” didn’t have the same effect as the lights didn’t coming on prompting Dee to state that he was “thinking of something in RED”. But none of these issues slowed the band down and they continued to play great thru the whole show!

Jay Jay played great! Coming to the front of the stage extension for his solos during “YCSRNR” and “It’s Only Rock n Roll” were sights to behold! Eddie was Mr. Smooth as usual prompting Dee to comment on how great he looked during the introductions. Dee asked how he does it to which Eddie responded moisturizer. Even AJ came down from his drums to touch Eddies skin. LOL! Then there is the cloud of baby power in Eddie’s dressing room every time you step in there according to Dee. The severe thunder storm warnings and resulting storm had nothing on our own Sound of Thunder as AJ proved that Mother Nature is no match for Twisted Sister. Animal was angry at his poor bass and mic stand as always. That poor mic stand stood helpless to his assault all bent over. And we can’t forget the poor roadies that were sent running for the lives as Animal chased them from the stage. Dee sounded great and seemed to be in an especially jovial mood as he was laughing at the audience chanting the curse words that he wasn’t able to use on this night. He and Jay Jay joined forces at the front of the stage to ensure maximum reaction and participation was met as nobody was going to get away without shouting “I Like It!!”

In all, it was a great show and the Iowa SMF’s responded with approval and they deserve to be recognized for their willingness to stay thru a severe thunderstorm and heavy rain. They proved their commitment to rock! I was initially disappointed with the size of the turnout but when I turned around and looked back at all of the lighters and cell phones during “The Price”, the size of the crowd had grown in size and strength! Iowa represented!

Hopefully this will hold you over until the next Officially Unofficial Armadillo Road Report. Until next time when are favorite world traveler can grace us with his next report, I bid you all a good day! And Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there!

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