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2014-06-18 7:30 PM (#33814)
Copenhell Road Report: blog down…here ya go!
Location: Baltimore, MD
So the blog is down right now…so in the meantime…your benefit of being on the board…
and early glimpse of the Official Copenhell Road Report!
14-June, 2014 Copenhagen, Denmark
In a word: Copenhell was a night of absolute metal destruction. Twisted Sister put those young bands to shame, demonstrating that you don’t need youth, pyrotechnics or 5 trucks worth of stage equipment in order to put on the best live show in rock n’ roll. Twisted Sister kicked some serious ass, as they always do, and showed the younger rock fans what “Old School” is all about.
So, my dear Babies! Once again, I must apologize for the tardiness of the road report, but I implore you to understand that as my road duties have increased, my travel itineraries are challenging, and moments that involve closing one’s eyelids are few and far between. Hence, I required a few days to recover so that I may bring you a full recollection of all the juicy details you’re dying to know….and plenty ya’ don’t. It’s time now… for the tour blog that takes you places the other tour blogs fear to tread. Touring goodies that you won’t find in the pages of Rolling Stone, because let’s face it—no one in their right mind has a journalist wandering around backstage and only Twisted Sister has an Armadillo on their crew! Yes, my babies, it’s time to bring the latest installment of the one….the only….the literary madness known as The Armadillo Road Report: Copenhagen edition. The Official report from Copenhell, 14-June, 2014. Copenhagen, Denmark.
THE JOURNEY THERE
My journey to Copenhagen began with the frantic adventure of packing. The airlines are getting quite particular about measuring and weighing carry-on baggage—this is important because the road crew do not check bags
(for many reasons I won’t bore with the details here…I have much more interesting things to bore you with later!
). With international carry-on restrictions getting more and more ridiculous each trip, the latest restrictions required that my 44L bag be no more than 22” inches and my entire carry-on allotment 12kg or less. So that meant an entire evening of obsessively packing and re-packing to ensure that I had my basic needs covered, as well as the most basic needs of the road crew and band. Once satisfied that I had culled down to the allowable weight, I trekked out to a bus stop, waited an hour in the oppressive Baltimore humidity, hopped a lightrail train to downtown and then hoofed the rest of the way to the train station. After a delightful 3 hour train ride to New York City, it was another train on the Long Island Rail Road, followed by the AirTrain into JFK airport to rendezvous with the crew within the hour. All in all….I left the house at 10:00 a.m. to catch a 8:45 p.m. flight! So the next time I hear anybody complaining about not wanting to make the trip from Poughkeepsie to NYC because it’s too hard… in the nads, babies! Right in the nads!
The flight itself was actually quite decent—we had a direct
) flight from NYC into Copenhagen. I was seated in between the Sound of Thunder, our very own A.J. Pero and A.J. Pero, Jr. his son and drum technician. Almost the entire crew and band were onboard flying together—Eddie had arrived earlier, and Jay Jay was flying in from England. I have to say, that I feel quite safe traveling with the band. I pity the idiot who makes a scene on that plane—there’s a whole lotta whoop-ass flying on board.
Copenhagen is a lovely city—I regret that I didn’t get the opportunity to explore it more readily. We arrived at about 11:00 a.m. local time, and unfortunately didn’t have hotel rooms immediately at hand for the crew, and so we grabbed some lunch together and fought the urge to sleep, since it’s important to keep the body clock aligned with local time. I’m not sure if it was the exhaustion or the overdose of caffeine, but I thought I was hallucinating when a bicyclist resembling Eddie O. rode by the hotel, on a bicycle with a basket that looked straight out of a Paul Newman picture. And whaddya know? It WAS Eddie Ojeda. Apparently Mr. Fingers had rented a bicycle and was seeing Copenhagen just like the locals do.
Once finally in my hotel room, my head was on the pillow about 15 minutes when the texts started coming in for various errands. I’m sure that there are millions of you, my fellow fans, who dream of working with rock artists. It’s a beautiful dream—and one that I have certainly had since I was 13. If you enjoy the dream as a dream, then skip this paragraph because I wouldn’t want to wreck your fantasy. But if you truly have an interest in the roadie world, then know that being a part of the road crew is a tremendous responsibility. And with that responsibility, comes….lots and lots of hard, honest work….and no sleep. And truly, I love every possible second of it. I am happily and gladly on-call 24/7 for whatever anyone in the band or road crew may need—regardless of whether I’m sleeping, in the shower or otherwise…indisposed. If your fantasy of being a roadie involves drinking, drugs and sex with groupies…. It’s a nice dream. The reality: drink tons of water, have plenty of antacids, headache and cold medicine on hand, and the closest you’ll come to sex is that you might, at some point, be told to “fuck off.” In my favor, I’m fast….I’m resourceful….and I’m pretty good at finding things. So any time someone has a need…..I can usually come up with something that will do the trick.
After the always fun and fascinating band/crew kick-off dinner
(thank you, band, who took care of the crew!
) it was off for a late-night production meeting so that the everyone was on the same page for the next day. Copenhell is the first of the big European festivals on this tour—there were plenty of logistics to discuss. So now back at the room at 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning
(which, according to my body clock, meant that I had been awake since 10:00 Thursday morning!
) for just four and a half glorious hours of sleep
(assuming, no one needed anything during the night
) to make the morning lobby call.
Copenhell was an impressive festival, boasting well over 40,000 fans each day at Denmark’s largest metal festival. The festival grounds were typical of most euro rock festivals—the grounds were absolutely enormous. An encampment of tents and camping amenities located about a mile outside the gates, and a long hike from the entry point to the primary festival area, where fans could choose from 3 stages and more than 30 metal bands. I had a few errands to run, so after helping with the load-in, I ventured out into the festival grounds.
One of the things I enjoy the most about European rock festivals are the varied goods and services one can find. I located a cigar shop, complete with smoking area, various giant tents filled with bean bag chairs, and plenty of sculptures ranging from a giant wooden hellish robot to something that appeared to be a giant goat skull. The center seated area consisted of black benches that formed a pentagram, merch as far as the eye could see….and my favorite: the food kiosks.
Hell was the theme of the day: we had “Devilicious Treats” “Flying Pancakes from Hell” “Hell-stegt Pattegris” which I believe may have been a hellish hamburger stand….and my personal favorite…. “Fucking Sprod Svin” I have absolutely NO IDEA what that is or what they sell, but one thing’s for sure…that Svin is Fucking Sprod!
I only had one single complaint about Copenhell—the dressing rooms were a long hike from the stages! Seriously. Even though I hopped as many shuttles as I could, the various needs and trips throughout the day allowed me to rack up a whopping 14 miles of walking on the ol’ pedometer! Fortunately, they had a lovely massage therapist in the backstage area, who damn near broke me in half. And yes, I liked it.
There was a show, you know.
Look, it was a long fucking day for me….so it’s gonna be a long blog for you!
Twisted Sister was due to take the stage at midnight! Yep, that’s right. Midnight. I’ll just add here, one of the bands that played earlier was still loading out as we set our stage and began the line checks. I was truly astonished at the amount of equipment that rolled off the stage and cluttered up the backstage entry. We’re talking 4 or 5 trucks worth! I’m not saying who the band was…especially as they are a local crowd fave….but I’ll just say this: They needed a small army to load in, set up and break down and delivered a decent performance. Twisted Sister—on the other hand—arrived with just 10 crew
(and welcome to the newest crew member, Peter from Belgium—our Monitor guy!
) 6 guitars, 3 pelican cases, 3 other bags: No pyro. No scaffolding….nothing fancy. And they BLEW THE PLACE APART! PROOF: you don’t need a zillion trucks of stuff to deliver great rock n’ roll—you just need great rock n’ roll artists playing great rock n’ roll!
Just a side bar here….usually stage crew wear all black. It gets to the point where you have to really keep your eyes open to avoid running into stage hands who disappear into darkness as they work. At Copenhell, the crews were black…but wore neon orange, reflective work vests overtop. Which was quite nice—I could see them emerging as they rolled equipment down the ramp. At times, I felt like I wasn’t at a rock show, but working with a Highways crew. Hey—safety first. Cheers to the crews in the orange vests!
As the road crew scrambled to make their last minute adjustments, I heard the opening chords of “Long Way to the Top.” I have since re-named this song….”Long Way to the Stage”. Because the band boarded a shuttle when the song started rolling….and I was still anxiously waiting for them to pull when they had to roll it a second time! I’m serious, folks…that damn dressing room was far! After a few rounds of “Hey…can you guys PLEASE move these fifty roadie cases aside so I can squeeze five band members past here….” The band took the stage by storm!
You’ve seen the set list—it was 90 minutes of glorious heavy metal music! They opened up with “Stay Hungry” –no surprises there—this is the 30th anniversary of the album that brought the band from the clubs into households all over the world. Some of the fans clearly had no intention of staying hungry—I spied two fans in the front row, passing around….a turkey carcass! Yep, that’s right. An entire, uncarved roasted bird, being gnawed on and handed around, right there in the front row. I love Europe. No, really. I do. You just don’t see that in the U.S. Love it.
In fact…Dee shared this point by reminding the crowd that it’s the 30th anniversary of “Stay Hungry”….but that Twisted Sister hasn’t been to Copenhagen in almost 40 years!
(Don’t know about you, but now I feel old!
) First Dee-ism for the night: “You should thank us for just showing up!” But as Dee reminded the crowd that it was all five original members, the crowd showed some love.
Unfortunately, my babies, I missed “Shoot ‘em Down”, “The Beast” and “Don’t Let Me Down”
(Which, well….let me down….
) but such is life. I had to get the band gear packed up and loaded into the transport along with some after-show preparations, and because the dressing room was across campus, I had to miss these beauties. But I did get back to hear the last half of “You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll” and it sounded great—fast and heavy, and there were many hands in that big field with their hands up in praise!
Those S.M.F.s who enjoy “Stay Hungry” got a real treat—chances are, the fans here in Copenhagen have not heard “Captain Howdy” and “Street Justice” played live, back to back, as Horrorteria should be played. It sounded clean and well-played—and I swear, that song
) just creeps me out every time Dee does his ‘Come here, my sweet…” bit. Animal just killed it—don’t know how that bass survives each night—and Eddie delivered a great solo.
“We’re Not Gonna Take It” always elicits a great reaction—and Copenhell went absolutely nuts when they heard the opening cowbell. Jay Jay played his Ruokongas guitar
(the only guitar made with moose bone….it’s from Finland!
)—sounded magnificent—and we had a smashing good time! The crowd was doing the pogo—a giant mass of bouncing Danish metalheads—it doesn’t get much better than that. We had some nice undulating yellow lights that dashed across the crowd—a few surfers seen “washing” about the tops of heads as Eddie delivered his prime solo. Mark did a wrestling move on his bass to end the song—I think it’s called “The Backbreaker”
Jay Jay took a photo
(Don’t ask me who did it—crew, band or fan—but I clearly heard a “whoo-hoo!”
) and Jay Jay gave his now famous “American Idol/European Idol” speech, but you could barely hear him over the din of the crowd, who erupted in cheers as he thanked them for all the years of loyalty and support. He ended with “This is what success looks like, ladies and gentleman!” He proclaimed what I’ve been saying all along—Twisted Sister is the #1 live band on planet earth! So true, Mr. French. So true.
Another fantastic delivery of “The Price”—with a perfect backdrop
(from my view
) of a pitch black stage and crowd, illuminated only by lighters and cell phones sporting apps of lighters.
(they need an app that releases the smell of butane…and gets your cell phone hot enough to burn your thumb….otherwise…not the same…
) Eddie gave another great solo, as Dee essentially serenaded him.
Next up was “I Believe in Rock n’ Roll”….the message is universal, of course, because it’s what we ALL believe in…it’s what 40,000+ crazy Copenhagen fans believe in…it’s does strike me as a very U.S. centric song
(the whole pledge allegiance thing…
) but the fans were singing loud and proud.
“Burn in Hell” had a little bit of a snafu. Instead of the spooky red lighting that Dee emerges from….we had….spooky green lighting. Given that Copenhell’s “color” is green
(green type on their banners, shirts, logos
) it did sort of fit in with the festival motif. But at least…it sounded great! Green….but great. And it lead into a mammoth drum solo from the Sounds of Thunder, A.J. Pero himself.
The show was FAR from over, and Copenhell was treated to three—count ‘em THREE—fantastic curtain calls.
“I Wanna Rock” just brought the place to a frenzy…Eddie playing a beautiful Buddy Blaze guitar, and we had the fantastic Jay Jay—Eddie—Mark trio lined up.
And then…something completely European!
A crowd surfer….who was also a streaker. Or a streaker turned crowd surfer. Either way, it was a COMPLETELY naked man surfing atop the crowd. This amused me to no end. Or should I say, his rear end amused me to no end! Not so much that I enjoyed seeing his family jewels, but I absolutely loved watching the reaction of the fans. He started surfing quite a few rows back, so as the fans in front of him saw a foot and reach up to grab the rest of him….well….it was looks of horror as they realized they were grabbing something that they really wished they hadn’t grabbed.
Needless to say, our naked surfer was pushed forward to the front barricade in record time.
We had a full moon over Copenhagen that night….and a full moon below the stage in Copenhell. Only in Europe.
And so, as the show ended somewhere around 1:30 a.m., your faithful road crew broke down the show and loaded up the gear. The last band of the festival was off at a smaller stage to our flank, and played some bitchin’ music that reminded me of an angry lawn mower. Normally, not to my taste, but I really kinda dug it at this hour. It was perfect loading-out music….kind of like, heavy metal’s way of saying, “Hey kids…you don’t have to go home…but you can’t stay here…..”
We arrived back at our hotel close to 3:00 a.m. I suspect. A few hours of sleep and then a lobby call to load up, saddle up, and head off to the U.K. to do it all over again.
Oh, how much I love this! Truly. The blood, the sweat, the tears, the fatigue, the long trips, the errands, the thrills and spills—I love every second.
Many thanks to the wonderful staff at Copenhell—you were fantastic hosts and we thank you for everything! Best of all, thank you fans at Copenhagen—you made the long trip worthwhile!
Check out the webpage of Copenhell
—my Danish isn’t that great but I believe it says, “Thanks for a great party!” and you’ll notice…who is that on stage in the distance? Ah yes, the bones tell it all—Twisted Fucking Sister, babies.
They are back! Stronger, louder and better than ever. Copenhell proved to all that Twisted Sister remains the top live heavy metal act out there—and worthy of the headlining spot! They don’t need pyro…special effects….or a zillion trucks of gear. They just need to show up, rock out and prove why Twisted Sister plays harder, faster and better than the rest.
And with that, my babies, I’m off to begin interpreting my shorthand from the notebook of the following night in the UK.
I bid you all, a fond goodnight in Copenhagen!
This is Armadillo, your faithful road reporter…trotting off to dream of flying pancakes from hell….
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