Heaven and Hellfest, Mexico City March 15, 2014 
Sunday, March 16, 2014, 08:46 PM
Posted by Administrator
The band and road crew were all set to go. Jay Jay went down early to have a little bit of tourism time, but the rest of us were here in the states, passport and plane tickets in hand. I had purchased my ticket awhile back, and in order to prevent some of the issues that happened on my last trip to South America, I made sure that I was on the same flight as the rest of the road crew/band to avoid any transportation glitches. So for me, that meant taking a 3 hour trip to New York via train (it's actually enjoyable--not too bad) in order to meet the boys at the airport and help carry equipment.

The Friday before the show, I received a notification that there were some serious problems running amok in Mexico. Sure enough, in spite of months and months of arduous planning, the promoters were told by the federal government of Mexico that the festival was cancelled. Not "we have concerns you need to address" type of message--simply--"we're shutting you down." They cited a variety of safety reasons, ranging from fire code violations, crowd control concerns, evacuation plans lacking and firework permit issues. (blame that one on KISS) The concert promoters AND the mayor of the town of Texacoco responded quickly--they testified to what I believe may have been their version of Congress--stating that all permits were in order, all plans were solid, the venue is home to an annual "Festival of the Horse" that brings bands and 200,000 people--this was a case of discrimination and retaliation against the promoters and mayor. The team had met with govt officials at least 8 times previously to ensure that all codes and permits were met. The cancellation announcement was made on the day that local Mexican crews were scheduled to begin building the stage, tents, etc.

The town has some political views that are more progressive and liberal than some of the larger, more conservative governors. It is one of the reasons why the festival was being planned there apparently. Many governors and mayors didn't want anything to do with the festival, describing heavy metal as "Devil's music" and categorized the fans as "gangs" who would gather to commit various acts of violence. Many of our Mexican SMFs were quick to point out that there is plenty of horrific gang violence being sponsored by the very thugs who shut down the festival, and the bands who played the various large festivals (including the Horse Festival) often had acts who glorified cartel violence in their lyrics and politics. There were plenty of other rumors and dialogues about the politics between the promoters and local govt--I won't get into that here. But this should set the stage for you. It was all over the associated press--I'm surprised more folks didn't hear about it.

The festival organizers and mayor defiantly announced that the festival will go on--and the 80,000 plus fans who bought tickets, bus packages, camping permits etc. would not be denied. In response, 300 heavily armed federal police in riot gear were dispatched to the location, surrounded the grounds and locked the gates to prevent the local crews from setting up the festival. Students protested in the streets along with many of the Mexican fans who had endured difficult journeys to make their way into the City. The promoters assured the fans (and bands) that a new location would be secured--there were private, secret meetings happening between the promoters and some political figures in nearby towns, who were happy to have throngs of fans eager to spend money in their hotels, restaurants, concessions, etc. But the fear was that if the federal government knew where....the police would come and shut it down. Through social media sites, fans spread the word that a new location was coming, and that once it was announced, fans needed to get there quickly so that if another 300 riot police arrived, they would be no match for a crowd of over 80K and the festival would still go on.

But then...the heartbreak began. Through radio stations--official and underground--and twitter and facebook pages set up specifically for concert announcements--each hour another teaser. They would announce that the new location would be disclosed in 2 hours: only to be told...no. not now. please wait. be patient. A new location had been identified and was being mobilized. This happened hour after hour, day after day. I checked in with my peeps--I was told that all systems were go--be at the airport at the designated time--but that conditions in Mexico were still very unstable and that things could change any minute. The social media sites from Mexico (I spent hours and hours using google translators and the kind services of S.M.F. April (smooch!) from Argentina) were just heartbreaking. They told tales of fans making their way to town, planning to camp at the site, and being turned into the city with nowhere to go. Fans who had saved money for months for this--some had waited their entire lives to see Twisted Sister, KISS, Guns n' Roses--this was a HUGE event. The Mexican fans are as passionate about metal as their European and South American counterparts--you could truly feel the desperation and heartache. Dee posted several videos via the facebook pages to keep the fans encouraged--saying, Twisted Sister is coming! And he even sang a few bars of "We're Not Gonna Take It" in Spanish.

It was Thursday, March 13th--the day that my train was scheduled to leave for the airport--my marching orders were to stage at a hotel outside of the airport that evening and meet the crew in the wee hours of Friday. I was nervous but ready, my babies. My bag was packed with only the bare essentials. I had read up on Aduana (Mexican Immigration/Customs) protocols and regulations, studied some basic Spanish phrases (including: I need to speak with the American Embassy now please), registered my travel with the Dept of State/Mexican Embassy and had my immigration paperwork all in order. And to be honest, I updated my emergency documents a few days prior, so that if something dreadful had transpired, my family had an emergency plan in place to take care of my affairs. I had been following the twitter and facebook sites until the early a.m. hours, and fans were reporting that tour companies who had arranged package deals were canceling and there were dreaded rumors that the federal government was planning to stop any incoming bands and crews at the airport--if they couldn't stop the show on the ground, they would keep the bands from arriving. I never did get this piece confirmed--but it was a rumor that made me very uneasy.

I prepared to leave the house--gave the cats a big hug, my bag was sitting by the front door. Twisted Sister laminate and passport in my pouch tucked safely away against my chest. Just an hour before departing for the train, I get the notification. The entire festival is cancelled. So I scrambled to cancel my hotel, train and air ticket as quickly as possible. The financial sting from the cancellation fees couldn't hold a candle to the pain I felt inside, Not only was it the disappointment of the festival being cancelled, but I felt the pain and anguish of all of these fans who may never get to see any of their bands in their lifetime. While I have the precious luxury of being able to travel, for the SMFs in Mexico, that is not likely the case. And personally, Twisted Sister and the Road Crew are my family. The love I feel for them is deeper than I feel for many people who claim to be my relatives. I get to see my Twisted family, on average, 8 to 10 times a year, and so now...this meant once less time to see my family.

That day, I did the walk of shame into work. While my co-workers normally enjoy teasing me, giving me a hard time--not so on this day. News spread that I was in the office--the concert had fallen through--and I had a stream of folks, trying to console me. Still clinging to some remote possibility, I streamed the press conference live at my office computer, only to hear the words that the festival was cancelled. officially.

These types of things do happen--and have happened before to Twisted Sister--but I have NEVER in all my years seen anything like this. I'm still a bit shocked--my bag hasn't moved--it's still packed, sitting by the door. Crew credentials and passport neatly stacked on top, along with the birthday card I had planned to slip to Dee today. I woke up at 5:00 a.m. today--it was almost as if my body was still in "tour mode" and my brain still believed we were going to have our 6 a.m. lobby call for sound check.

My heart goes out to all of the beautiful, loyal and passionate fans of Mexico who wanted nothing more than two days of glorious heavy metal brotherhood with their favorite bands.

And so my babies, this evening, instead of celebrating the 2014 Tour kickoff and Dee's birthday with my brethren of the band and crew, it will be a quiet one instead. The chocolate bar I now bring with me in order to battle "concert drop" in the airport for the return flight home--shall be my midnight treat tonight. Let us never take for granted the freedoms that many of us enjoy in our respective countries.

You can stop a festival, but YOU CAN'T STOP ROCK N' ROLL! AND YOU CAN'T STOP TWISTED SISTER EITHER!!!

See you in May, my babies, when Twisted Sister returns to the Tri-state area for a fantastic night of music at The Starland Ballroom. Until then...
Stay Twisted
Armadillo

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2014 Tour Dates announced and more to come... 
Monday, February 17, 2014, 05:54 PM
Posted by Administrator
Welcome back, my babies! The 2014 Tour Season is upon us it will be one of the most exciting yet--with one old favorite and at least TWO places that Twisted Sister has never played before.

March 15: Heaven & Hell, Mexico City, Mexico
May 17: Starland Ballroom, Sayreville NJ
May 24: Rocklahome Festival, Oklahoma
July 11: Sommar Rockfest, Svedala, Sweden
July 12: Bang Your Head Festival, Baligen, Germany
August 1: See Rock Festival, Graz, Austria

And there are THREE more dates to come!

Stay tuned and get ready for 2014!

Just a sidenote here--I'm your humble road reporter. I go where they go! I do not book their tour dates or have any special, magic influence on where they play. Some of the band members do periodically read the Slamboard, so if you have ideas or wishes, that's a great place to post them or you can go to Twisted Sister's facebook page.

Don't get me wrong, I love mail...and it's lovely meeting all you fine folks, but if you want your voices heard, join the discussions online. I also encourage you to call your local radio stations and request more Twisted Sister....talk to your local concert promoters and tell them how amazing TS is live...and what a great headliner they are! Concert promoters will help make your Twisted Sister concert dreams come true.

See you all on the road this year!
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HAPPY TWISTED NEW YEAR! 
Tuesday, December 31, 2013, 12:20 AM
Posted by Administrator
From our family in pink and black to yours, have a very Twisted New Year! Peace, love and happiness to all of the S.M.F.s all over the world.

Thank you for making 2013 a great year--and here's to a concert-filled 2014!

See you on the road, in 2014, my babies

Armadillo
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Rockkassiker, Gorannsson Arena, Sandviken, Sweden, 14-Dec, 2013 
Thursday, December 19, 2013, 10:10 PM
Posted by Administrator
With only ten Twisted Sister shows in 2013, there had to be a good reason as to why Sweden earned 30% of the lion’s share—Rockkassiker in at the Goransson Arena Saturday night was proof positive that Sweden was, in fact, the perfect choice. There may have been only a few hours of sun, but those lights to the north of Stockholm weren’t the Aurora Borealis, my friends—it was the glow of glorious heavy metal! Twisted Sister melted the snow and heated up the night inside the Gorannson Arena in Sandviken. Young fans and old schoolers alike rocked long and hard to a blisteringly fast ninety minute set consisting of hits and a few Twisted Christmas carols thrown in for good measure. Twisted Sister destroyed it Saturday night to a an approving crowd—Sweden, you are worthy!

Which can only mean that it is now time. Here now, for your reading enjoyment, the Blog of Glogg…..the Linguist of Lingonberry….the ultimate in esoteric Nordic food references that you definitely won’t find in Rolling Stone and more ellipsis than a morse code distress message:

It is indeed my pleasure, my babies, to bring you this final edition in 2013, of the only concert review long enough to be called: The Armadillo Road Report: The Official Twisted Sister tour blog and concert review, Sandviken, Sweden, December 14, 2013.

The Travel:
Truly another case of planes, trains and automobiles—and we can add buses for good measure—your faithful road reporter’s day began with a brutally chilly wait outside for an early morning bus to start my 3-hour journey from Baltimore to the Newark Train Station, where I hopped the train into the airport. While 4 hour layovers may prove agony for some, to my delight, I spent the time chowing on a Smashburger—quite possibly the tastiest airport burger ever—and discussing the joys of ginger maine coon mixes with a lovely traveler and her furry companion, also known as Rinke The Traveling Cat, who apparently has his own blog. (If anyone finds it online, please send me the link.)

My 8 hour flight to Stockholm was nowhere near as fascinating as the band and crew’s flight on Scandinavian Airlines. Apparently, December 13th is the Day of St. Lucia, when boys and girls don flowing white gowns with crowns of candles on their heads, and they sing traditional songs to St. Lucia:
“The night treads heavily

around yards and dwellings

In places unreached by sun,

the shadows brood

Into our dark house she comes,

bearing lighted candles,

Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.”

There was a moment of confusion when apparently our band of five awoke to the sight of beautiful, blond candle-clad women chanting, and had to do a reality check—in Dee’s own words—“I thought I was dead!” Once they all confirmed that the plane was in fact, still in the air and they were all among the living, it was the start of another beautiful and magical trip to Sweden.

We converged into Stockholm—and had a sigh of relief when the luggage and guitars all arrived as well. With crew, band and instruments now loaded onto the transport, we made the trek to the quaint town of Gavle. Complete with their own version of public art a la car-henge, a delightfully and tastefully decorated town square full of white lights strewn from building to building, with St. Lucia flames illuminating the town’s fountains and courtyards. Truly, nothing says Christmas more than snow gently falling in a Swedish town. I partook of my favorite local gastronomy—a delicious roadside stand selling a frankfurter topped with two scoops of mashed potatoes. (referred to thereafter as "the cock and balls lunch")

St. Lucia falls on the darkest day of the year—and it was barely 3:00pm before the darkness fell on us, as band and crew alike retreated to our hotel rooms, sank into some of the comfiest beds ever and proceeded to take the power nap of all power naps before the traditional and wonderful band/crew dinner in the evening. (Many thanks to those who made that possible for us—it was absolutely wonderful!)

Pre-Show:
After a few short hours of glorious slumber, the crew clamored back down to the lobby and into the transports where we headed off to the Goransson Arena in Sandviken. The Goransson Arena is relatively new—a big, beautiful and very contemporary structure that houses hockey games, rock concerts and other entertainment. It’s a lovely covered dome that holds thousands upon thousands of fans, with wonderful concessions, a café, stadium seating and a giant open general floor. There were also two large jumbo screens stage right and left—and an ample stage with enough LEDs to light up half the country. Backstage was clean and large, with a full gym and sauna (what else?) and the backstage run to the stage transported some of the band members back to the 80’s—it was a sight that could have easily passed for any of the huge arena’s Twisted played back in the day. It also boasted what may have possibly been the world’s largest coat check—this is, after all, Sweden. It was DAMN cold out there.

The local road crews were professionals through and through—a pleasure to interact with—and I cannot say enough about what wonderful hospitality staff. The sound check was incredible—I have never heard A.J.’s drums sound so thunderous. I don’t know if it was the empty arena or the acoustics of the dome, but it became known as “the Thunderdome” for that hour. You can’t have thunder without lightning—the bright, white LED spots strobed so brilliantly that a few times, A.J. remarked that he was going to need sunglasses as he could barely see his drums!

With the dressing rooms well prepped and the sound check completed right on time, we headed back to the hotel as the snow began to fall. A few of our slamboard faithful apparently arriving just minutes after we departed (sorry, gents!) and from what I understand, SMF Marty (Scotland), SMF Patrick (Austria) and SMF Dave/Funtasia (UK) braved quite the snowstorm while securing a good spot in line, literally hours before doors opened. [many thanks to the arena security who brought them hot coffee. Very nice.]

Although a nap would have been divine, there were a few errands to run for band and crew, and just when I laid down to rest, a knock on my door revealed, to my delight, Twisted Sister movie producer Andrew Horn, the mastermind behind “We Are Twisted F*cking Sister: The Movie” and there was simply no way I could sleep when before me was the man who is going to bring us all hours of old school delights on the silver screen. More on that later—because truly, Twisted Sister needs the help of all of you, my babies, to get this film out there. Keep reading.

The Concert:
I do regret that I don’t get the opportunity to see many of the other bands play—I saw Hardcore Superstar take the stage and caught just a small piece of their set—I only wish I could have heard more—great stuff! And of course, Swedish band “Europe” played a worthy hour, closing with “Rock The Night” and “The Final Countdown.”

I was once concerned that the transition from front row fan to back stage runner would remove the magic and mysticism. It truly is a completely different experience, and definitely has a lot more stress involved, but I assure you—the magic is still there.

Just as the lights go down and “Long Way to the Top” blares, whereas before I would be standing in the dark, straining to see the silhouettes of our Twisted heroes—now I crouch, flashlights in both hands, illuminating the stairs as our heavy metal gladiators take the arena by storm! I won’t divulge what I see…. to do so, might diminish the magic—but I assure you all, that it is absolutely exquisite. To see those familiar and menacing silhouettes, completely in shadow, backlit by the arena hallway, pumped up and ready to deliver the metal to us all—it just gives me chills. There were high-fives and even a hearty embrace—my heart was simply full. I still pinch myself.

And then…it began!

The familiar opener of “What You Don’t Know” just roared from the start. A fast and furious fave from “Under The Blade” ended with a little extra flourish from Animal, and the crowd clearly showed our boys in black and pink some love.

Similar to the festival summer setlists, they rolled right into “The Kids Are Back” and the place started to really heat up. (Even Dee shed his full length coat—hey, it’s Sweden. I had about four layers on myself!) Speaking of coats… what Road Report would be complete without the French Fashion Moment—Jay Jay sporting---black jeans, blazer and a grey cravat. Quite European. Tres chic.

Dee addressed the deafening crowd with a traditional New York greeting of “What the Fuck??!...... Twisted Sister back in Sweden…three times in one year!.... Do you know what this means?” [they like meatballs? Blond flight attendants wearing candles on their heads? Penchant for salmon seventeen different ways?] “You like Twisted Sister…and Twisted Sister loves Sweden!” It’s true. The love is mutual---honestly, I can’t think of anything I DON’T love about Sweden except that it’s so far away from the States!

Dee acknowledged the 30th Anniversary of Stay Hungry and welcomed the original Twisted Sister fans, “Class of 1984.” He also gave a shout out to the mini-Dee in the audience—an adorable little kid in full Twisted regalia—who was just rocking out on her Dad’s shoulders!

In honor of the Stay Hungry anniversary, there were a few treats in store—including a crushing version of “Captain Howdy”—a song not often played in festival settings but truly a delight for those in attendance. The crowd was packed in tight at the front as they sang the refrain. A.J. finished it off with a bit of stick flipping goodness—the drummer’s equivalent of jazzy hands.

The boys delivered one of two songs off Twisted Christmas—the first being “Silver Bells.” As a Christmas Carol, this was never one of my favorites because it was so slow—but Twisted doesn’t “do” slow. This carol truly rocks—and the stage lighting during this song was equally mind-blowing. Jay Jay delivered a fantastic solo with Dee actually mounting himself atop the monitors. The truly most incredible and best part of “Silver Bells” is the bass solo. Mark Mendoza’s bass solo was absolutely phenomenal, demonstrating why Animal is so solid not only as half the rhythm section of Twisted—but truly a talent by himself too! This bass solo knocked my Christmas stockings off! As Jay Jay and Eddie stood in the rear of the stage duing Mark’s solo, Dee ran between them and gave his best rendition of Twisted-does-the-Rockettes. See? Not only does he kick ass…he high kicks too!

[keep reading…there’s more….I’ve got 5 more pages of notes….hey, I endured 9 hours of flying next to a 7-ft Ethiopian with no concept of personal space….I’m making this report count! If you want brevity, get a Reader’s Digest]

“You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll” is one of my favorite live songs—and when it’s played live, I swear, it is twice as fast! Not only did it sound fantastic, but the lights were insane—imagine these brightly colored LED spots that strobe so quickly they look like laser beams. It was like watching Star Wars on your VCR in fast-forward mode!

Jay Jay took a moment to chat with the crowd, explaining that Sweden sold more copies of Stay Hungry, per capita, than anywhere else in the world—which explains why Twisted Sister is one of the few if not the only band to headline Sweden Rock three times! Twisted worked really hard to get where they are now, and they thanked all of the fans for their 30 years of support.

Another Stay Hungry treat—we had the chance to hear “Don’t Let Me Down,” not often played, but always a crowd pleaser, and it launched us into a version of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” that I thought would bring down the dome. (Mini-Dee was just bopping along, singing all the words—good job mini-Dee!)

My favorite Dee-ism of the night—he stopped to inquire why a section of the crowd was behind these steel security stanchions: “Why are you in a cage? Did you do something bad?” He then stopped to pose for a photo for someone in the front row—someone’s gonna have a bitchin’ Christmas card this year!

He dedicated “The Price” to Michael, our host with the most who showed us such great hospitality. When the crowd sang the opening verse, it was really quite moving. Jay Jay was smiling like a kid on Christmas morning, proudly playing for his daughter, Samantha, who was watching from the wings.

“Burn In Hell” was absolutely one of the creepiest versions ever. The stage was filled with this eerie, red ground fog that I swear, looked right out of “The Ten Commandments.” As a shirtless Dee emerged, bathed in red light, and the fog swirled around my ankles, I was glad I’m not the first born in the family! And I got what I wanted for Christmas—an A.J. Pero Burn In Hell drum solo that damn near shook the rafters.

“White Christmas” lived up to it’s name—the snow machines kicked in full force—and as Dee picked up one of the snow blowers, he absolutely nailed some poor fan right in the face with an arctic blast of fake snow. Ahhhh…..memories….I remember those days….I coughed up soap snow flakes for hours. My Swedish brother, no worries—if you swallow the fake snow, soon you’ll be clean inside and out! I spied our slamboard S.M.F.s in the front row, coated in flakes. Good times!

“I Wanna Rock” closed out the set—and truly, you just haven’t lived until you’ve seen thousands and thousands of Swedes throwing their fists in the air, jumping high and screaming “rock!” at the top of their lungs.

Two fantastic encores—“Come Out and Play” and the always popular “S.M.F.” whipped the crowd into an absolute frenzy. And then, alas, those 90 minutes just whizzed by!

Sweden…you never disappoint me…and neither does Twisted Sister!
A fantastic set of hard rocking heavy metal delivered by the absolute kings of live performance. It was truly a fitting tribute to the 30 years of Swedish support of “Stay Hungry” and some Twisted Christmas thrown in for good measure. Sweden saw more of Twisted Sister in 2013 than any other location in the world—and if the fans remain as passionate and the band continues to rock this hard, 2014 is gonna be a great year!

The Movie:
A little epilogue here. Hopefully, you know by now that movie producer and director Andrew Horn has filmed a documentary called “We Are Twisted F*cking Sister!,” an incredible first-hand account with some rare, live footage of Twisted Sister back in the club days. The movie will tell the story of Twisted Sister’s phenomenon as a club band that sold out venues even without a record deal, and give us stories never heard before.

But here’s where we need YOU, my babies. Twisted Sister needs your help funding the film so that they can release it.

Please go here:
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/twist ... -the-movie

And pledge your support. In return, there are some INCREDIBLE perks to be had—rare tee shirt reprints, original presses of picture discs, TS ads from the club days—and for those who can afford more—Dinner with Dee, Lunch with Jay Jay, VIP treatment—lots of treats! For those of you outside New York and/or outside the country, your $20 donation can also get you the Video On Demand so that you can watch the movie wherever you are!

If you can’t….consider JUST A BUCK! That’s right, babies. If we can get every S.M.F. on this slamboard to donate just one dollar, we’ll meet the goal. And if we can meet the funding goal in the next 25 days, one lucky fan with that one dollar donation may win a gold record signed by the band!

PLEASE! Support this fantastic independent film—it is a GIFT to all of us in pink and black—and just like back in the club days, they can’t do it without us fans. DONATE NOW!

I give a shout out to the special fan who I saw in the parking lot during our arrival at 8:00 a.m. (yeah you, the blond kid with the denim vest on who was rocking hard in the front row) That kid toughed out 8 hours in the cold just to get up front—I salute you, my brother.

Shout out to the entire Twisted road crew and management-the hardest working bunch in rock and roll—my wonderful Twisted family—thanks to the Rockklassiker staff and sponsors, Urban and his fantastic crew, and a very special shout out to Lena, my angel from the hotel who made sure I got to the airport in time for my early flight.

And with that, my babies, after being awake for 36 hours straight, I bid you good night. Wishing all of my Twisted S.M.F. brothers and sisters, all over the world, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May we all find peace and prosperity in the year ahead, and I look forward to seeing you on the road!

This is Armadillo, your faithful road reporter, trotting off into 2014!

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SETLIST for Rockkassiker, Sandviken, Sweden, 14-December, 2013 
Sunday, December 15, 2013, 06:01 PM
Posted by Administrator
Your Swedish Setlist for Rockklassiker, Goransson Arena, Sandviken Sweden
December 14, 2013

The full road report is coming soon!

1. What You Don't Know
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
4. Captain Howdy
5. Silver Bells
6. You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
7. The Fire Still Burns
8. Don't Let Me Down
9. We're Not Gonna Take It
10. The Price
11. Burn In Hell
drum solo
12. White Christmas
13. I Wanna Rock
Encores
14. Come Out and Play
15. S.M.F.

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