Best Buy Theatre, NYC, PInkburst Project Benefit, 4/29/11 
Friday, April 29, 2011, 11:50 PM
Posted by Administrator
Good evening my babies!
You knew it was coming... like a gastrointestinal serenade after a trip to Taco Bell…. It is time, once again, for the rarely anticipated, often overrated, highly orchestrated and occasionally duplicated—here now, for your reading enjoyment, I bring you: The Armadillo Road Report: The Official UN-Official concert review of the only projected domestic show this year: Twisted Sister’s concert at the Best Buy Theatre, New York City, April 29, 2011, with all the details you want to know...and loads of useless trivial crap you don't.

This particular show was a personal best—I managed to take six different modes of transportation (seven if you count riding shotgun on Funtazia’s wheelchair, but more on that later…) It began as I left the house before dawn in my truck and hopped on the Megabus to New York City. These buses run every hour on the hour, and often are filled with tourists planning to do some shopping and catch a Broadway musical. The nice lady seated next to me asked: “And what show are you planning to see?” And I, of course, said: “Twisted Sister” to which she replied: “How nice. Is that a matinee?” Uh. Right. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Snider will not be performing this evening. Tonight’s lead will be played by Bette Midler’s understudy…..Lady Gaga….”

I soon met up with SMF Cyndi, Funtazia and MetalNY at the Herald Square Hotel, just a few blocks from Times Square, where we learned that the hotel's definition of a Wheelchair Accessible room meant that the wheelchair could *get* to the room…..just not necessarily IN the room. I swear, you couldn’t fit a mosquito’s balls between the bed and the bathroom, but fortunately Funtazia (a.k.a. Dave from the UK) is not only innovative, he’s an exceptional good sport. We were at least grateful to have two beds in the room—I’m sure at least Dave was—I have on good authority that my feet are cold and I snore, so two beds in a broom closet beats one bed in open space. After the four of us chowed down at a local joint, we headed off to the Best Buy Theatre (Formerly the Nokia Theatre) in Times Square.

There was already a fairly nice line at 5:30 pm. Dave and I watched the highlights of the Royal Wedding on the Times Square jumbo-tron while waiting for the doors to open. Yes, that’s right—we willingly missed Prince Williams’ nuptials, just to bring you this report. Such devotion. I was very impressed with the last three Twisted shows at the Nokia Theatre—both with their punctuality and professionalism—and so I was quite pleased that the staff remained the same….as did their practice of getting the doors open on time and the fans inside as quickly as possible.

If you’ve missed previous years’ reports, the Best Buy theatre is a nice size—2100 capacity to be exact—it has a balcony with seats in the rear that wraps around the sides, and two raised bar areas stage right and left. Several vending areas to purchase a variety of soft drinks, SmartWater, alcoholic libations and munchies. Coat check, merch tables and large bathrooms (assuming you can find your way to them without a compass) The general admission floor is completely open, with the barricade just about five feet from the stage. The sound was always good at the Nokia—so I was anticipating a mind-blowing show Friday evening. One of my top secret inside sources told me that they played “I’ll Never Grow Up, Now” for the sound check. Oh, to be a fly on the wall!

Welcoming us was Jim Florentine, a comedian many of us know from “That Metal Show with Eddie Trunk”. The opening act was an all-female band called “Antigone Rising” (that’s pronounced: “Ann-tig’-gone-knee”) –for you Greek Mythology buffs--—Sophocles, anyone? Anyone? Anyone? 10th grade English? No? Antigone Rising was actually quite good. Here’s the "problem" with Antigone Rising—good musicians, excellent vocalists—wrong venue. They just weren’t metal. In fact, the only real complaint I had with them was that they had a bit of an identity crisis—we heard a very Dixie Chick-esque “Don’t Bring Us Down” that was a real foot stomper, some very well-played bluesy acoustic duos, and they closed with a spot-on rendition of Pat Benetar’s “Heartbreaker.” All very well-performed, but I personally get confused when a band plays multiple genres without their own spin--I really wanted them to make the sound their own. I was glad they had a lot of friends in the audience who cheered them on--TS fans can be a tough crowd. Good band, just the wrong place for them to play. I think once Antigone Rising decides who they are, and finds the consistent sound that works for them, AND plays someplace where the bill is NOT heavy metal, they’ll go far. Personally, I would venture to say that if they explore the Nashville route, we will hear their name in the future.

Jay Jay was brought onstage first—sporting his pink…excuse me, SALMON….blazer that he claimed was purchased at a country club in Bermuda. Jay Jay’s quote of the night: “It goes well with the right wing Republicans AND Middle-aged transvestites.” He was joined onstage by his daughter Samantha and Dr. Stephen Foster, founder of the Ocular Immunology & Uveitis Foundation. Quote of the night actually went to the fans from Brazil, standing behind me. Jay Jay introduced Samantha, who was looking quite lovely—and when a few fans whistled at her, Jay Jay wagged his finger saying “hey, careful…you know who I am, “ the Brazilian shouted out : “My future father-in-law!”

All kidding aside, Samantha is very articulate and well-spoken, with wisdom far beyond her years. Very impressive effort from the entire French family. Dr. Foster spoke briefly about how Uveitis is the third leading cause of blindness –over 100,000 people have this disease, 10,000 are children and 30% are left blind because there is a lack of funding to support the research necessary to find a cure. HEY! DON’T ARROW DOWN THROUGH THIS REPORT! I’ll get to the music…. But remember why we were all there. 100% of the proceeds went to the foundation. The band…the crew…the manager…..all worked for free that night. The tickets, the raffle, the tee shirts—all proceeds. More than $40,000 was raised Friday night! So Jay Jay left the stage to, “change into something a bit more uncomfortable.”
Twisted Sister took the stage at 9:20 PM—the place was absolutely packed full and the energy was high.

Your setlist, once again:

1. What You Don't Know (Sure Can Hurt You)
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
4. Captain Howdy
5. Sin After Sin
6. You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
7. The Fire Still Burns
8. We're Gonna Make It
9. Shoot 'em Down
10. We're Not Gonna Take It
11. The Price
12. Burn In Hell
[Drum Solo]
13. I Wanna Rock
14. Come Out and Play
15. Tear It Loose
16. S.M.F.

Now before I get into the show itself, I must give a disclaimer here---I have already heard from several people at the show that the sound where they were located was excellent. Jay Jay himself told me that he received several emails from folks who normally do not email him, telling him how great everything sounded. So we’ve established that, right? Lots of folks experienced excellent sound. The sound was very different depending on where you were at the club. This was my fourth time seeing Twisted Sister at this very theater—and all four times I was in the front row, as I was Friday night. So I have a previous baseline here.
The sound where I was standing, was the absolute worst I have heard—ever. Period.

I’m very sorry to have to say this because I know how hard the crew works and how talented a soundman Twisted Sister has—and how perfectionist the band members are. So don’t go sending me nasty emails and private messages about how you’re going to kick my keister at the next show—I’ve never sugar coated the truth before and I’m not about to start doing that now. The sound was really THAT bad for us in the front row on the Eddie/Jay Jay side. I deemed it the “Eddie Ojeda Karaoke Hour” because I kid you not, what we heard was approximately 70% Eddie….20% M.A.M….10% Jay Jay….and 10% A.J. Yes, yes, I know that’s 110%....they gave it 110% …. But I could not hear Dee at all. I could tell he was singing his heart out, but no vocals on our side.

For the first three songs—it was as if his microphone wasn’t even on. So the night was bittersweet for me—some songs I had longed to hear….I heard played, but not sung. Even with the ear plugs out entirely—it was to no avail. Normally I would have moved about the club, but I hated to lose my spot up front because for once, there was little pushing and shoving, and I was enjoying it very much. And I had no idea that there were better sound spots--I've gotten "burned" on that gamble one or twice before. C'est la vie.

Eddie was sporting a new guitar—it was a strikingly beautiful purple, iridescent bullseye (Help me, guitar enthusiasts—it was a Fender, no?) Jay Jay sported a new paint job as well—wonderful art—our Twisted Sister logo a la “You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll” surrounded by pink flames. I can always tell when Dee is pissed off—not because I’m psychic, I mean, I’m not the “Dee whisperer”, okay? But it was quite obvious that he was already unhappy about the mic cutting out from the first note. During “Kids Are Back” he dropped on the edge of the stage, and rolled on to his back, singing to us in the front. One photographer decided that was his clue to go in for a close up. Bad idea.

I’ve watched Dee time and time again—he loves the camera. He’ll give you great shots. But don’t stand in front of his face, and block him from the fans, and the fans from him. He shoved the photographer out of the way—and when the poor bastard didn’t get the hint and shoved his camera even further up Dee’s nose, he got a stronger message. “Mr. Cameradouche…. meet Mr. Snider’s elbow.” Knocked his glasses clean off. Priceless. That's Old School, baby.

Another Twisted Sister first—Dee gave the crowd a choice between two songs: “Captain Howdy” or “The Beast.” I voted for “The Beast”, myself, but “Captain Howdy” is always a crowd favorite. When Jay Jay motioned to me that I should get my notepad ready….I knew something good was coming, but I never imagined “Sin After Sin” What a treat! Again, I couldn’t hear the lyrics and I find the bass line so rich—but Eddie’s guitar pretty much drowned it all out from our spot. Quel domage. Animal pounded the hell out of it on “The Fire Still Burns” and “Shoot ‘Em Down”—I mean you could see him slamming it—bass…neck…bass….neck….back forth back forth…--one of these days, I swear that neck is gonna come clean off the damn bass.

When the band played “We’re Gonna Make It” I thought I was gonna cry. It was just fantastic and more than I could have imagined. And as some of you saw, my heart to yours Jay Jay—right back at ya—thank you, thank you THANK YOU for the setlist chock full of goodies. I’ve never heard that song live before, and although Dee was a distant muffle, it was a special moment for me nevertheless.

Next it was time for our “special guests”—the first of which was Bernie Williams, from the New York Yankees, joining the boys onstage for “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” I’m gonna tell you something—if you think that song kicks ass with two guitars, holy crap—wait til you hear it with three! Bernie did a fantastic job playing the Pinkburst alongside our trio—I’m sure someone got a snapshot of the four guitars lined up during the solo. It was raw and heavy.

Our next special guest was someone who has graced the conversations of the Slamboard once before—Rabbi Darby Leigh—deaf since birth—found inspiration and wisdom within the lyrics of Twisted Sister. He even quoted “Tear It Loose” during a sermon! I’ll be honest, most of my rabbi’s sermons start with “Good afternoon…” and end with “ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzz ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz” My Dad used to fall asleep before the third sentence—I can guarantee you that no one falls asleep at Rabbi Darby’s service! An amazing, inspirational story—a very passionate, fascinating man. A rock n' roll rabbi....how cool is that?

He joined Twisted onstage and signed “The Price” {I saw him off-stage signing the words to “Tear It Loose” by the way—totally awesome!} It was incredibly moving to see a man so enraptured....in tune with the beat, so in touch with the words and the meaning behind them. Many of us get misty-eyed during “The Price”, a song that has lifted our own spirits during our darkest hours. While Jay Jay described the deaf rabbi signing TS as a “Spinal Tap moment”, it was quite an emotional experience for many of us. The hankies came out. And for the record, it was no more a spinal tap moment than playing a hotel lobby in monster makeup….or playing to 300 fans at a Six Flags amphitheater. It’s all good, it really is.

A.J. did his medley drum solo with the red laser sticks…..just as he did in South America. In fact, I have the OFFICIAL A.J. Pero drum solo “set list” from the sound of thunder himself—and we’ll just to have a little contest to see if any of you SMFs can name all of the songs in the medley. We’ll come up with a prize or something.

You know... what completely amazes me, is that after all of these shows, there are people who still seem to think that they can just sit their butts in the seats without Dee noticing. The band played and they stood up....then they sat back down....then they got up.....then back down. Dee compared it to being in church: “Turn to page 75 in your hymn books….All Rise for ‘Burn In Hell’…..” He yelled at the back row in the balcony “All you people sitting down….You’d better be in wheelchairs…I’ll 86 you fuckers…” And so for “I Wanna Rock” we had the crowd on their feet at last. Followed with: “You may be seated…..”

“Tear it Loose” was another big treat for me and the many fans who had not heard it live in years! I don’t recall ever hearing it played on the reunion tour before, and just to make the moment extra special, Mark, Eddie and Jay all played pinkburst guitars—a poignant reminder of what the evening festivities were all about.

Unlike previous shows, they didn’t do the encores in their typical manner, but this was no ordinary show—no matter, we still had band introductions and plenty of thank you’s to be had. Jay Jay thanked the wonderful staff at the Best Buy theatre, as well as the ever hard-working road crew, Danny Stanton (manager extraordinaire), and the French family who has supported him during the three years he has toiled tirelessly on the Pinkburst project.

He thanked his fellow members for their support of the project as Dee danced behind and around him while giving the special middle-bird salute, grabbing the mike to say “We didn’t do it for you [Jay] we did it for Sam!” A tremendous show for a very special cause. For me, it was bittersweet—one of the best setlists I’ve seen in a long, long time—great crowd, great view but for our section, just a bum deal as sound goes, but quite frankly, this night was all about raising money and awareness to help find a cure for Uveitis.

They brought down the house with S.M.F. (and now we know the sign language for “mutha fucka”) A fantastic set, an amazing cause and a few lucky fans went home with signed guitars (including Les Paul’s autograph—wow!) from the raffle—I still can’t believe I was ONE ticket off from winning it! We loaded up on charity tee-shirts and headed off to Junior’s for post-show carbs and cheesecake. Special Armadillo shout out to Donna from Connecticut (DCT) and the front row girls, BIGTSFAN and his chaperone (with my apologies for my horrific massacre of the French language), Ron and his lovely wife, [my apologies—I forgot to text you auction info—I remembered on the plane on the way home!} SMF Cyndi, Metal Mad Lady & her main squeeze , Metal NY, Big Mike and the other Big Mike, Jaysin, Charlie, Marty, UK Paul and his wife, sonfaMitch and any of the slamboard folks I'm sure I'm leaving out--a pleasure to meet you all--of course, all of the fantastic crew….and most of all, Funtazia Dave for providing excellent company and conversation the whole weekend, and of course, George—THANK YOU many times over for your very generous gesture—the cheesecake was divine. Next one's on me.

In fact, Funtazia Dave and I may have found the ultimate post-TS hangover cure: bottle of water, a dark room and leftover cheesecake. We then fought the post-show letdown blues, and boarded a train the next morning. Off we went to the auction at Skinner’s in Boston…..stay tuned for The Armadillo Road Report Boston Edition….

until Part II my babies.....
Armadillo, trotting off to get some precious sleep

16 comments ( 10219 views )   |  permalink   |  print article

<<First <Back | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | Next> Last>>