M3: Merriweather Post, Columbia MD 5/4/13: PART 2: TWISTED SISTER 
Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 05:58 PM
Posted by Administrator
I don't know how many different ways I can say this: Twisted Sister didn't just destroy the M3 Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Saturday night....they demolished it. Wait, not just demolition...we're talking total, absolute nuclear annhiliation! Just imagine--if that's what Twisted Sister could do in a 60-minute set, just IMAGINE what they would have done if they had headlined! They rocked that place from the front row to the rear gate, rocked those across the street....rocked the hotel lobby...rocked round the bend, rocked the geese in the lake...NOTHING BUT NET! As we say in Baltimore.... GO TO WAR MISS AGNES! That is what metal is all about.

There's a giant cup of coffee sitting next to a two filled, illegible notebooks ready to bring you all the details you're dying to know...and plenty ya' don't! And that can only mean that it's time for the wordiest blog in rock n' roll... The Armadillo Road Report: the Official Twisted Sister concert review!

I arrived early to the venue and joined my fellow road crew members, who were already hard at work. This afforded me the chance to listen to Steel Heart while watching our Guitar Technician, Keith, re-string Eddie's guitars. Up close and personal, I had a chance to really appreciate what beautiful instruments these are. Eddie has two gorgeous Wayne Charvel guitars with Floyd Upgrades (FU). Beautiful woods with inlays in the neck and a sloped, aerodynamic body painted with the famous pink and black bullseye on one, and his subtle black on black bullseye on the other.

The day's festival was chock full of great 80's bands--including but not limited to Trixter, Jackyl, Great White, Loudness, Bret Michaels just to name a few....but to catch them all, you really got a workout! Off to the side was a second sound stage in a parking lot, so fans had to make a mad dash from the pavilion to the lot and back again, as there were barely ten minutes between bands. On the plus side, there was virtually no overlap, so you didn't have to choose between artists.

I was thrilled to be able to listen to Loudness (especially after I missed their set in Brazil a few weeks ago) You have GOT to give these guys props---they overcame visa issues (I feel your pain, gentlemen!) and then traveled something close to 16 hours just to play a 45 minute set in Maryland and fly back. If they were jet-lagged, you'd never know it! They played a high-energy, great sounding set including the crowd favorite "Crazy nights."
There were just so many good bands Saturday, and the place had a really excellent, fun vibe--it made me realize just how much of an extended family the heavy metal world is, and I was really impressed with the show of friendship, camaraderie and respect that the bands gave one another. And while I'm at it, the amazing chemistry between the crew. Twisted Sister has something really special with their road crew--they are a family--and it was a pleasure to meet many of those who had worked with Twisted for many years before--Cooch and John--it was truly an honor!

After chowing down with my fellow road crew brethen, we began the prep for the show. I had a moment to check out the new Dee mic-stand. Let me tell you, folks, this is the absolute Cadillac of mic-stands. It's absolutely gorgeous. Powder-coated hot-pink (glowing cerise) slip-resistant texture… science meets art. It just plain glows. So....stand now in place, banner raised, rugs taped down and sound check complete, I nervously paced in the wings, waiting for that special moment of sheer exhilaration: "Long Way to the Top" blaring from the speakers.

Now mind you, this time last night, I was absolutely freezing cold! I mean, I was a popsicle...well, okay, a rocksicle. In contrast, when Twisted took the stage at 7:45 PM, I swear, I think the temperature went up 20-degrees! Hot flashes? No way. This wasn't menopause...it was METAL-pause! [I just made that up. Feel free to use it.]

I love seeing our Twisted five take the stage--they are so ready, so fired up--the excitement is palpable and real. A special little moment for me--seeing Eddie and Jay Jay exchange a quick handshake as they stormed the stage. Jay Jay and Eddie both donned their guitars, got themselves ready to deliver the goods, and took their spots. As many times as they've heard "Long Way" usher them in, seeing Jay Jay rocking out to those bagpipes reinforced what I already knew--Rock n' roll flows through their veins.

They opened with "You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll" which was just mind-blowing--it felt like a jet engine roaring at 800 mph--the boys opened with a fury that just blew me (and the first ten rows at least!) away. What an incredible, powerful opener--Animal just hammered the bass line out. Normally, crowds in the U.S. can take a few songs to warm up to a band. In this case, the crowd was into it from the start--there were fists flying from the opening notes. And beach balls. NO idea why. {Seriously. Is it like....hey, okay now, let's make sure I've got everything I need for today.... studded belt? check. spiked bracelets? check. leather jacket? check. cool tee shirt with skulls and wings on them? check. beach ball..... oh damn, did anyone remember to bring the beach ball?"}

With only a 60-minute set, it was short on chatter but heavy on the rock. Twisted launched straight into "Shoot 'em Down" and they played it harder and louder than ever. I know what you're thinking--I say that every concert review--but they DID! I SWEAR TO YOU-- Animal just spanked that bass. If you don't believe me, YouTube it for yourself and watch the whole song. I mean, it was just phenomenal. Jay Jay's solo was hot...and while I'm on the subject...the Jay Jay fashion report: he looked quite dashing in a black jacket with quite fashionable scarf.

"Stay Hungry" energized the crowd with a drum line that reminded me a V-twin--'Buddda buddah buddah buddah." It's always tough to pick the setlist when you only have an hour, but clearly this was a great selection. The crowd roared with delight, and I could see fans mouthing the lyrics and rocking out, even out in the lawn. Speaking of the lawn, Dee gave a special shout out to all the S.M.F.s rocking out on the lawn--including Edgar, who tweeted Dee that he would be rocking out on the green.

After a few very quickly delivered words by Jay Jay, in which he paid homage to the S.M.F.s-- the fans were the reason behind the song they were about to play: "I Believe In Rock N' Roll." I know it sounds corny, but I felt truly as if every fan there was pledging allegiance to rock....and rock in America! Eddie delivered a flawless solo, and Dee even called out to the people in the back--"Don't you believe in Rock N' Roll?" Our Snide one made sure that everyone was on their feet, taking the oath.

I'm used to hearing "The Kids Are Back" earlier in the set, but truth be told? I like it better in the middle. It's an "old school" song, and sometimes crowds who only know "Stay Hungry" and the years after, take a few minutes to warm up to it. This crowd was completely ready to rock on this night, and "The Kids Are Back" had the crowd literally jumping.
When A.J. hammered the opening drums of "We're Not Gonna Take It," Merriweather Post absolutely erupted. I've often complained that American crowds don't sing as loud as those overseas--but Maryland did me proud! The crowd sang it loud and proud. One of the things I love about "We're Not Gonna Take It" is that that when the crowd taps into it, you get the sensation of one giant pulse, emanating from the throngs of crazed fans. It was a beautiful, beautiful thing. Dee even gave the microphone to a fan in the front row at one point, to sing the refrain with him. Good job S.M.F.!

And then...something I did NOT expect. Dee briefly explained that in the 90's there was this trend amongst heavy metal bands, to go unplugged and play their songs with an acoustic guitar. And so he called for his Acoustic guitar.....his WHAT?! That's right, an acoustic guitar is brought onstage, and Dee prepares to play.....NOT! He declares to all those present, that Twisted will do an unplugged set "when they pry the electric guitars from our cold dead hands!" as Animal raised his bass in triumph [Charlton Heston would be proud] And to drive his point home, Dee proceeded to smash the acoustic guitar to splinters on stage.
Your faithful road crew dashed out to pick up all of the big chunks of guitar (Thank you, Animal for NOT stepping on my hands--I know it was tempting) While it certainly wasn't acoustic, we were treated to a fantastically played version of "The Price," and I had a perfect view of the audience--lighters and cell phones glowing and swaying all the way to the crabcake booth.

I said a silent prayer that Dee wouldn't get any splinters when he steam-rollered into "Burn In Hell." and dropped to the ground. I just held my breath until I was sure he didn't get impaled on any guitar fragments that I may have missed. Dee did some magnificent athletic moves--hurdling over the monitors to the catwalk that extended into the orchestra pit, center stage.

With little time for banter, Dee skyrocketed into the last number of their set, "I Wanna Rock!", with a brief interlude, in which the crowd happily took the now worldwide Twisted poll of what people want more....to rock..or to fuck. And so, after a few obligatory rounds of singing "I Wanna Fuck," we did what we came to do: ROCK! There wasn't a fist that wasn't in the air--every fan screaming, "Rock!" at the top of their lungs.

Unfortunately, no time for encores--Twisted Sister, ever the professionals, made sure that they did not run overtime, which could have adversely impacted the Bret Michael's set. Even with just nine songs, Twisted absolutely decimated Merriweather Post. I cannot remember the last time a domestic show rocked this hard. It was a flawless performance: fantastic lighting, great, balanced sound, tight guitar solos, mammoth drums, killer bass and a stellar performance from the best front man in Heavy Metal!

M3 delivered the goods--and as a Baltimore boy, it just made me proud!
And as I loaded out the gear into the transports and packed up the banner, I could hear Bret Michaels taking the stage. I was just filled with happiness and joy that all of these heavy metal bands and fans could come together and celebrate the glory that is rock and roll.

And with that, my babies, I did something I so RARELY do after a show....I laid my head on my own pillow, in my own bed. It was decadence.

This is Armadillo....trotting off to prepare for next Saturday, when Twisted Sister will destroy New Jersey at the Hurricane Sandy benefit! See in Jersey!

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M3 Merriweather Post, 5.3.13 DAY 1 KIX/W.A.S.P. 
Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 05:41 PM
Posted by Administrator

The M3 Festival has become a moderately recent Maryland rock tradition, but it has brought together some of the biggest names in 80's heavy metal year after year. Merriweather Post is located in the sleepy suburbs of Columbia, MD, a bedroom community for many Washington, DC commuters. Greats such as Led Zeppelin played there (and yes, there's a plaque posted about that). Of course, there's also a plaque telling you how many thousands of pounds of mulch were brought in during construction. Take it as you wish. It's a decent size venue, located behind some woods, with a moderately large wooden covered pavilion full of seats. The remaining lawn a giant sea of beach chairs, blankets and picnicking revelers. Two large jumbo-trons frame the stage, which also houses an impressive light rigging and a temperamental but powerful sound system.

Given that my entire commute to M3 was a whopping 45 minutes without much traffic (certainly felt odd to have such a short trip!), I met up with some of the crew, helped Animal get settled in, and headed off to check out the bands. I was able to catch a closing bit of Danger Danger's set from backstage--they played a good set to an appreciative and vocal crowd--then ran off to the vendors and scarfed down an overpriced and unimpressive crabcake sandwich.

We joined the crowd to take in KIX--the Friday festival night before was hailed as the "KIX-Off Party"--KIX is the homegrown, local band here in Maryland....but according to their lead singer's anecdote on-stage, a certain band that was left unnamed refused to go on second-bill. [This elicited a certain response from the crowd] Kudos to KIX for proclaiming, "We don't give a shit if we headline or not....we just love playing!"

And played they did! KIX did a fantastic set opening with "The Itch"--Baltimore loves KIX (or as we say here, "Bawlmer")...what other band could sing about crabs (and I ain't talking about the ones we steam with old bay spice) and make it cool. Actually, what amazes me most about KIX...while so many other bands from the 80's have, shall we say it? Expanded their....er...girth..KIX is the opposite. if you put all of the band members in KIX together back to back, you'd have a size 30 slim pair of pants. Seriously. No fat elvis here--those boys are like metal stick figures!

KIX played tight and fast--proving that even harmonica solos, in the right context, can be metal! Great rendition of "Don't Close Your Eyes" (complete with gyrations that seemed to please the ladies). Lead singer Steve's raps were absolutely hilarious--at one point, he humbly admitted that he was so into his rap that he forgot what song was supposed to be next! He used the word "cornhole" at least six times...and you'd think that it would get old, but no...turns out cornhole jokes (especially those told with a Baltimore accent) are just damn funny every time! He confided in the crowd his passion for another Baltimore tradition--"I play bingo!" and then admitted, that "it has absolutely nothing to do with the next song."

KIX killed it with an expertly played "Cold Shower," gave us an honest-to-goodness blistering guitar solo--I mean, a guitar SOLO--no band, no drums--just guitar, and then asked Baltimore, "Are you ready to shit your pants??!!" Yeah, welcome to Baltimore, folks. We don't just rock our asses off, we shit our pants! "Blow My Fuse" --sung through a microphone complete with lit fuse--then launched into "Midnight Dynamite" and "Tell Me Now." The crowd was simply on their feet, having a blast! KIX asked us, "Are you Happy?" The crowd gave a resounding, "Hell yeah!" KIX...in their homestate. What a great time!
W.A.S.P. then took the stage by storm. I saw W.A.S.P. on their "Last Command" tour back in 1986 when they opened for "Black Sabbath...WITH TONY IOMMI!!!" [Actually, it was Tony Iommi...playing Black Sabbath songs. Believe me, if you saw that tour, you know what I'm talking about.] I get a little nervous these days seeing 80's bands that I saw during their peak--but I have to say that W.A.S.P. coming out of the gate did not disappoint me. (hey, it was Kentucky Derby weekend. I had horses on the brain.)

Blackie Lawless, the only original member of W.A.S.P. playing, made a dramatic entrance with air raid sirens blaring, red lights flashing, glinting buzz saw blades and two big scrims and a banner hailing the 30 years of W.A.S.P. They launched into a high energy run of songs, in which the scrims dropped, revealing two addition rear-projection screens and a large screen behind the drum riser. As they played all of their 80's hits, the original videos of the same songs, synchronized well to the live music....if you could overlook that the original videos had. well, original band members.

It was a neat gimmick for one song, but after three, it became a little disorienting, and at times, highly distracting when the lips didn't quick synch up. But that aside, we had "Real Me", "Love Machine," "Wild Child" and "Be Somebody." I was very impressed--thought they sounded very good overall--had a lot of energy if could overlook all of Blackie's Gene Simmon-esque textbook moves.

Then..things got weird. W.A.S.P. decided to play thirty straight minutes of "Crimson Idol." Now don't get me wrong, they played it expertly, and it's an interesting album--kind of a new-agey rock opera--but it's also slow, light on vocals, and I'll say it..... intended for headphones. Harcore W.A.S.P. fans in attendance were really, really enjoying it—in fact, the W.A.S.P. fans were truly thrilled. I saw them reacting the way us S.M.F.’s get excited when we hear something that we don’t usually get to experience live. And the music itself was played skillfully, but live, this album was just kina mellow after their killer opening.
Then it got even weirder. On our three screens, we had a black and white video loop showing us the "plot" of said rock opera--a boy raised by two religious zealots who mentally and physically abuse him until he runs away and becomes a rock star....only to be rejected once more by the parents whose love and acceptance he never earned....and he hangs himself, ending with some religious iconographic imagery.

Um, yeah. Thirty minutes of watching a boy get whipped by a belt over and over again....followed by suicide. And if my mellow couldn't have been harshed further, they ended with non-stop projections of civil war photographs of the dead bodies strewn over Gettysburg. Seriously. It was a bummer. After the last note of the "Crimson Idol" set, there was a lull in which I heard a fan behind me, exclaim, "Well, I'll just slit my wrists now..."

By the time they were done, W.A.S.P. managed to clear out entire sectons of the audience. Which is a shame, because when they woke the audience up with the finale of "Blind in Texas," those folks who left missed a great closer. I give them an "B" for the first 30 minutes, B as in "Badass"....and then an "F" for the next 30, F as in "Are you fucking kidding me? Can we keep the music but turn the screens off please?" The music was technically very good, but I just question the artistic decisions made. After KIX's totally happy and upbeat set, W.A.S.P. was a bit depressing,especially when I didn't get to hear, "Animal: F**k like a Beast."

So that was Friday night, my babies. The KIX-OFF party was a load of fun...and if you can overlook some truly poor artistic decisions, there *WAS* some very good heavy metal music.
But nothing....NOTHING could compare to what our boys in black and pink did the next night...
Stay tuned.....
Day 2 of the M3 Festival coming next...

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M3 Setlist Take 2: 
Sunday, May 5, 2013, 01:06 AM
Posted by Administrator
Having some issues with home internet at the moment, so it's possible this will be a duplicate...

but in any case...
Your Setlist from M3, Merriweather Post Pavilion, 5/4/13

1. You Can't Stop Rock n' Roll
2. Shoot 'em Down
3. Stay Hungry
4. I Believe In Rock N' Roll
5. The Kids Are Back
6. We're Not Gonna Take It
7. The Price
8. Burn In Hell
9. I Wanna Rock

Sorry folks--no encore tonight. Much, much more to come....

but now...glorious sleep in my own bed! what a treat.

Stay tuned--the full review of M3 is to come!
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Sao Paulo, Brazil April 14, 2013 
Thursday, April 25, 2013, 10:25 PM
Posted by Administrator
South America Part 2
Spoiler Alert: Keeping with the new format, here's a quick synopsis of what lies ahead: Twisted Sister played their 4th Brazilian show in four years--the last one being 2010--and Sao Paulo is home to some of the most passionate heavy metal fans in the world. The Bad Boys of Rock n' Roll played over an hour of some of the fastest, heaviest and loudest riffs--proudly claiming their title as the rightful headliner of Brazil's "Live and Louder Festival, 2013." It was a night filled with music from some of the top heavy metal acts of the 80's, a concert that fans will be talking about for years to come.

Here we go, my babies...the second installment of the South American edition of the most insane, obsessed, inane, distressed and pink & black dressed tour blog on the web: the Armadillo Road Report: the only official Twisted Sister tour blog and concert review.
Ah, my babies, when I last left us off, our beloved Twisted 5 had rocked the arena in Santiago, Chile and were on their way back to the hotel to catch a few hours of sleep before the second leg of the South American shows. After ensuring that the gear was safely packed in the hotel storage, I showered and changed my clothes, and had literally less than 2 hours until my 4:00 a.m. transport was due to take me to the airport.

I've often described here the rigors of travel, and Brazil had a few....er....hiccups, if you will. And by hiccup, I mean, last minute flight cancellation that involved a desperate Road Reporter offering to do everything from hide in the overhead bins, sit in the coat closet and yes, I even offered to paint the flight attendants' nails and then serve the inflight meal and provide coffee service for her. But alas, it took a much more savvy person (you know who you are!) to convince the ticket agent to get me on another flight later that day. And so after about 8 more hours of non-sleep in the Santiago airport, I boarded a plane for Sao Paulo, only to be surprised by the first of three angels to help that day--Patricia, TAM gate agent, boarded my plane and upgraded me to business class, affording me a hot meal and a comfortable 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

My arrival in Brazil unfortunately had a few more....er....hiccups. Apparently a little glitch occurred when TAM transferred my flight, and instead of meeting up with the band at the airport, I was denied access into the country & immigration prepared to send me back to the States in a few hours. Enter angel #2--I don't recall her name, but she got me through the next hurdles and placed me in the capable, beautiful hands of Angel #3, Flavia, the United Airlines International Customer Service Rep. I'll spare you the details, my babies. Just know that without her skills, poise, compassion and perseverance, I would have never made it to the show. Flavia, my sweet, if I ever venture back to Brazil, there will be a wonderful gourmet dinner (and I’m sure I can convince someone to rustle up a backstage pass) waiting for you. You are my rock n' roll savior!

So...instead of arriving at the venue at 11:30 a.m., it was now after 9:00 p.m. at night (I think--my watch had so many time changes, I could never be sure!) I hurriedly made my way, luggage in hand, to the road crew office where I re-connected with my fellow Twisted brethen. Regretfully, I missed Agra, Sodom, and Molly Hatchet but was able to at least catch the tail end of a fantastic Metal Church set, and snuck off backstage to hear my favorite, "Watch The Children Pray."

The Live N' Louder Festival in Brazil, plain and simple, was one of the best heavy metal lineups I've seen at a club venue. Unlike some of the much larger outdoor festivals that bring you 30 to 40 bands, with five bands on the docket, fans were treated to nearly full-length sets of some of the most incredible 80's heavy metal music played today. While I didn't get to hear Agra, Sodom and (sigh.) Molly Hatchet (I SO wanted to hear Molly Hatchet--I heard they kicked ass!) and Metal Church rocked the house. Also in the house: heavy metal icons Loudness! What a special treat to hear Loudness take the stage. One of the reasons why bands love playing Brazil is that they keep the true spirit of heavy metal alive. Looking out at that frenzied crowd with its hair flying and fists pumping, it could have easily been mistaken for 1985!

I didn't get a chance to explore the grounds, but it was a substantial venue with a huge merch area (OH! the merch! there is no merch like Brazilian heavy metal merch! God bless merch!) The place was simply packed, and it was getting tougher and tougher to navigate through the crowd. And truth in advertising....Live N' Louder...was definitely LOUD. That sound system could have rivaled commercial aircraft!

A few quick words about the apology on the front page of Twistedsister.com There was a meet n' greet arranged by the concert promoters that unfortunately, had some logistical challenges. The band experienced some flight, immigration and traffic delays and some fans may have been disappointed when the MNG was cut short--as you've read, the band greatly values and appreciates all of their fans, but I assure you, the concert that Twisted Sister hopefully made up for any shortcomings. As tired as they were, band members still took the time to come downstairs at their hotel and sign autographs for the many fans who gathered.
Now before I get to the concert review itself, I should mention that the road crew and band were running on very, very little sleep.

Travel is always tiring--but travel of this sort is absolutely exhausting, and the end result, in this case--we became a bit, shall we say? punchy. With the stage set, the banner hung, the lights programmed and the sound board ready to go, the crew and some of the band had a few quiet minutes before it was time to take the stage. While I have taken an oath of silence on the details, let's just say that backstage became host to a string of practical jokes, improvisational comedy and outright silliness to blow off some of the stress that comes from extreme fatigue. This included a pickup game of touch football with a roll of toilet paper, 15 minutes of prop improvisation with half a bagel, and some of the funniest sing-a-longs I've ever heard. I also learned why you should never leave your camera lying around a punchy road crew. (Take note, Mr. French.)

Our moods uplifted, I almost didn't notice when the familiar "Long Way to the Top" blared over the speakers. Now as part of the crew, I had some responsibilities which included seeing our Twisted heroes make their way to the stage-- I was filled with pride. They reminded me of heavy metal gladiators as they emerged from the dressing room with the explosive energy of professional athletes headed to a championship.

I don't know how they did it, but the members of Twisted Sister must have dug deep--they pulled out a reserve of power and energy and when they opened with "You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll," it was played even faster than the night before. Dee whipped an appreciative, waiting audience into a frenzy from the first refrain, and we saw the passion and love that can only come Brazil. Yes, my babies, I have seen passionate fans and heavy metal devotees all over the world--but until you see an audience in Brazil, you haven't seen it all!
Brazilian fans, many of whom speak minimal amounts of English, screamed every word of lyrics to every song--even the guitar solos.

From the moment Twisted took the stage, the temperature inside the venue must have spiked 20 degrees hotter. It was packed with Twisted Sister fans all the way to the front doors--all pressing forward, reaching out with extended arms and waving fists. Absolutely amazing.
"Shoot 'em Down" was the 2nd song on the bill tonight--and I'm used to this song appearing later on the setlist--but it did not disappoint. Animal plays a bass line halfway thru, for those who have never experienced it, in which he punctuates each note by pounding.....NOT picking...not playing...POUNDING on the bass and then the neck--back and forth, each hit harder than the next. I watched in awe, waiting for him to snap the instrument in half.

A special treat for Brazil-- after a blistering rendition of "Stay Hungry," Dee reminded the audience that "You've got hands....USE 'EM!" and that pounding drum can only be one song: "The Beast." I don't know the specifics of A.J.'s drum kit, but each time he nailed that kick drum, you could feel the vibrations in your shirt, your water bottle, your chest.....I didn't know if it was an earthquake or a T-Rex but it was pure POWER.

There was mic stand throwing, drum sticks flying, cymbal grabbing, all-out revelry on-stage. Out in the audience, I could see fans rolling atop the sea of headbanging faces, flags dancing up and down, and the pandemonium that can only be South America! Song after song--including an incredible version of "I Believe In Rock N' Roll"--it just amazed me that Twisted Sister could play with such intensity and energy.

"We're Not Gonna Take It" was like a powder keg--when the crowd heard that familiar opening cowbell, the energy onstage was palpable--you could literally FEEL this burst coming from the audience. Another fantastic sing-a-long (No huevos, tonight—as Dee recalled—that only applies to Spanish speaking countries.)

Then…the real treat for me....and for all of those present...was hearing the opening notes that made everyone...
stop.
pause.
tilt the heads to one side.
listen.
And then realize...holy crap! They're playing "We're Gonna Make It!" I don't recall hearing this song live before, and it was just fantastic. The guitar work was strong, tightly played and melded perfectly with the rhythm section. I hope we'll hear this song again at the benefit show coming up in May--it was a rare treat!

By the way, I should mention that due to a slight logistical glitch, Jay Jay played with different picks in Brazil--and those picks? The Official Armadillo Road Report picks! So if you thought that the guitar work sounded extra awesome in Brazil...it must have been the picks! (okay, okay. it was all Jay Jay-- he played a great set--at least they were pink, right?)

"Under The Blade" was played so fast, it was like a 78 being played on 33! How on earth do these guys play so fast? It truly is the reason why Twisted Sister remains the best live heavy metal band--what you hear on their vinyl doesn't come close to the experience of the same songs played live. Not only do they play live and LOUDER, they play live and HARDER and live and FASTER.

Twisted Sister closed out the show with "I Wanna Rock" and "S.M.F."--clearly two crowd favorites--you could feel the love from this crowd as they screamed the words to these songs. It was a madhouse--a packed crowd jumping and throwing the horns--when it was over, I felt as though I had been through the ringer. Because so many fans were reliant on the local transportation, Twisted trimmed back the setlist and didn't have as much banter and raps so that fans would be able to make their trains and get home safely. Again, proof positive that Twisted Sister truly cares about the well-being of their fans.

And speaking of fans, a special Road Report shout out to all the S.M.F.s in Brazil--Felipe, Bruno, Murilo, Marcelo, Darcio, Rita, Wladimir--forgive me if I've missed your name--you are our SMF brothers and sisters, and we truly love you all. The day of our departure, our own Mr. Stanton came down to the front lobby and spent lots of time talking to the fans—sharing the story of the first time he snuck out of the house as a young teen to see Twisted: He crept out a window, slipped into the club back door…and before Security could bounce him out, Dee himself announced, “You throw that kid out and we don’t play!” They’ve been friends ever since.

The lucky fans assembled were all given some special Twisted Sister picks (Animal picks—very rare!) And to make sure that the fans were happy, every single band member took a few moments to take photos with the fans. (It's a Twisted Sister where's Waldo..somewhere in that photo above is one our Sisters and one of our Metal Church heroes) Trust me, folks….I’ve met lots of bands….and no band loves and appreciates their fans more than Twisted Sister.

Twisted Sister played an incredible set at Live and Louder with 80's metal greats like Molly Hatchet, Metal Church, and Loudness. It was an evening filled with fantastic music, laughter and celebration of the greatest metal bands with the most passionate metal fans. Twisted Sister rocked Sao Paulo, Brazil--obrigado to the concert promoters and all of staff and crew who made it happen.

Twisted kisses once more to Flavia, our United Airlines angel, who made sure we safely boarded our planes home. (albeit, mine was delayed another 3 hours) And with that, my babies, I gobbled down some delicious Brazilian treats, dragged my exhausted self on and off the plane, drove the 2 hours home….I dumped myself into the shower, sent out my clothes to be cleaned and burned, and soon I will prepare for the next round of Twisted shows, stateside.

This is Armadillo, your faithful road reporter, trotting off, with special love for all of our South American fans. See you at M3, my babies…

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Movistar Arena, Santiago, Chile April 13, 2013 
Friday, April 19, 2013, 11:26 PM
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Ah my babies, Twisted Sister did what they do best in Santiago, Chile....they blew the lid off the Movistar Arena to a house packed full of S.M.F.s ready to rock. With only two shows scheduled in South America this year, Santiago proved why they were deserving of one of them after the last TS show in Chile 3 years prior. From the opening number to the closing encore, Twisted Sister destroyed Chile in a way that only our New York five could.

And that can only mean one thing: it's time. Time to unload a barrage of adjectives that would make Funk & Wagner proud. Time to give you all the details you're dying to know...and plenty ya don't! Senors and Senoras, it's time for the only concert review written by a reporter brave enough to bring it to you...the one...the only..the Armadillo Road Report: The Official Twisted Sister concert review.

Your faithful journalista began the journey with an early morning three-hour traffic jam and a sweaty sprint to the gate, just in time to board a plane to Houston, then on to Lima, Peru. The first 3 hour leg completed, another sweaty sprint to the 11 hour connection for Lima then 3 hours to Santiago that began to board just minutes before my incoming flight landed. Tired but excited, after two more hours, I found myself on the transport with our boys in black and pink, en route to the hotel which resembled an urban fortress, surrounded by no less than a dozen musical instrument shops and a throng of faithful and polite fans outside the front gates.

Santiago is a beautiful city full of parks and vibrant street art, music and cuisine. There were Twisted sightings about town as some of the band worked off the jet lag and went for a quick stroll about the local parks. The band and crew shared a dinner to celebrate the kick-off of the 2013 shows, and revel in the return of Twisted Sister to wonderful, passionate South America.

The Movistar Arena is a large, enclosed geometric dome, with a generous open floor for general admission, a jumbo-tron stage right and left, ample bars, two tiers of brightly colored balcony seats which wrap almost 270-degrees around, with a luxurious backstage area so large that there were posted floorplans on the walls to help crews and guests find their way around. Outside the arena, a second stage sits on an open lot next to a lush lawn full of merch tents, vendors and food carts, giving the concert a true festival atmosphere, as fans lounged about on the grounds.

We did a sound check in an empty arena....and without the thousands and thousands of physical carbon based forms to absorb the sound, we got this tremendous reverb/echo. A.J.'s drum check sounded like a cross between an MRI and that sound you get when you put a pair of tennis shoes in the dryer.

A very long and thorough morning sound check complete, the crew returned to the hotel to grab some lunch and a few brief moments of precious sleep, only for an all-too-soon lobby call and transport back to Movistar Arena. I had the privilege of spending the moments before the show lending a helping hand, retrieving items for the dressing rooms and stage, and while arranging the water and towels into an aesthetically pleasing stack, I could hear the other bands on-stage playing to an appreciative screaming audience. I think I need to learn how to make some of those towel origami animals...you know, some swans...a dove...I know it sounds ridiculous but no matter what errand Twisted sends me on, I'm determined to do it to the best of my ability and with a sense of pride and duty.

It's funny, but when I'm in the audience, it seems to take FOREVER to hear those beautiful opening riffs, but now, as a part of the crew, it seems like the time flies by so quickly, that I'm rushing back to the stage just in time to light the floor so that our beloved five can take their places. Everything seemed to be moving triple time!

I've grown accustomed to "What You Don't Know" as the kick-off after "Long Way to the Top" but Twisted Sister opened this show with "You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll" and I swear to you, my babies, I got goosebumps. It was like someone slammed it down and put the proverbial pedal to the metal, and we went zero to 60....or for South America...0 to 120 km in just seconds flat.

"You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll" proved to be a remarkable opening number, and within seconds, the crowd below became one giant pulsating mass of long hair, and as the headbanging began, it was a sea of flesh..then hair..then flesh..then hair as the countless thousands upon thousand of heads nodded in unison up and down. The pounding on Animal's bass was so intense I could feel it inside and out. During the first cadence, Dee re-enters the stage, hurdling over the bass monitor like an Olympian track and field athlete, just in time to sing the refrain. As Dee screamed, "Can't Stop...Can't you stop it....Can't stop..You can't stop it.." he straddled mid-stage as Jay Jay leaned into him, feverishly pumping the guitar. It was one of those perfect Twisted moments.

An immediate launch into "Shoot 'em Down" ignited the crowd and it wasn't long before a swirling mosh pit formed in the center of the audience like a huge heavy metal nucleus. The crowd was waves of humanity, moving together as one organism to the left and right in synchronicity to Animal's bass-lines. It was mesmerizing to watch, and brought back memories of the insane crowds at Graspop.

Without much time for chatter or raps, they launched immediately into "Stay Hungry," a crowd favorite, and I don't know if it's my imagination or not, but Twisted Sister played at a tempo significantly faster than I had ever heard it before. Eddie played a spectacular line on a beautiful black and silver Union Jack guitar and Animal's bass line was reverberating all the way to the back rows.

The crowd showed their love with chants of "Ole Ole Ole" and don't ask me why, but suddenly we had condom balloons floating about the mosh pit. Kinda went with my biological/micro-organism theme of the night-- if you want the videos, they resemble these odd paramecium that periodically appear in the frame. Dee assured the crowd that Twisted Sister loves them too!.."..Twisted Sister loves sick motha fuckas...and Chile is full of sick mutha fuckas who love heavy metal!" That's sort of paraphrased, but, well...Amen, brother. Amen.

Dee sent special birthday wishes to some of those watching from the wings (Happy birthday, Kirk from Down! Great guy...he had a great time rocking out) and even brought Twisted guitar technician, Keith, onstage to receive some birthday accolades. Dee dedicated "The Fire Still Burns" to them, and Jay Jay made a little trip cross-stage to serenade them with some blistering riffs as Dee gave Kirk a big birthday hug. "Fire Still Burns" was played perfectly, with a heavy riff that made me realize just how hard A.J. pounds on those drums. Our own A.J. Pero is easily well known as the hardest hitting drummer in rock n' roll--and the crowd soaked in every single beat.

At this point in the show, I was able to cross off bucket list item #78: Pick up Dee's mic stand, which I'm gonna tell you folks, it's not as easy as you'd think. The stage is blindingly bright, disorienting, hot and full of hazards. I was impressed with how easy Dee maneuvered the large stage, along with Jay Jay, who frequently cut through the side wings to play for the fans stage left. I can't say I was that graceful, but I did manage to get the mic upright without falling off the edge or impaling myself on a guitar neck.

"We're Not Gonna Take It" elicited the reaction you'd imagine: the place went LOCO! That's batshit crazy to you and me.... I mean, the place absolutely erupted. Eddie's solo was fantastic--tightly played and flawless, and the crowd was a blur of fists as Mark, Eddie and Jay Jay lined up in a row to deliver the goods. Dee lept up onto the speakers as A.J. ended the song with a flourish, sticks tossed high into the air and caught to perfectly coincide with the last note.

Similar to Spain, Chile was well-acquainted with the alternate lyrics to "We're Not Gonna Take It", also known as, "Huevos con aceites" which translates to "Eggs with oil." All I can say, is....WOW. Those fans love their eggs...because Twisted played an encore version of "Huevos..." that brought down the house. Jay Jay announced that Chile had the best "We're Not Gonna Take It" fans in the world, and a rousing rendition of WNGTI a Capella proved him right. We're talking a bazillion crazy SMFs, singing at the top of their lungs! It was LOUD!

"The Price" was played beautifully to what looked like a sky full of white cell phones and yellow butane flames, glittering out in the vast dark crowd. Eddie's solo gave me chills..and it may have been my proximity to the monitor, but I could hear the guitar lines so clearly--it had an almost transcendental quality I had not previously noticed. Really. It's quite lovely--next time you hear "The Price," close your eyes and focus on the guitar work--good stuff there!

As Eddie's last perfect note hung in the air, Dee collapsed to the stage, writhing towards the glowing red lights of "Burn In Hell." The crowd broke into a full-on mosh. No matter how many times I see Dee bathed in an aura of red, his snarling, evil smile never fails to terrify and intimidate me. The crowd absolutely loved "Burn In Hell" and every single word to every single line was screamed by the thousand upon thousand of fans.

"I Wanna Rock" always sends the crowd into a frenzy, and Chile was no exception. The pit went absolutely crazy, doing a heavy-metal pogo in perfect unison. When Dee illuminated the audience, I could see just how jam-packed the place was--it was as though every heavy metal fan in Chile had piled into the arena and the audience noise was deafening.

A surprise encore ensured--"It's Only Rock n' Roll"--one of the great covers from the club dayes. Dee utilized Eddie's command of the Spanish language (you've heard of the Rosetta Stone? This was Rose-Eddie Stone!" go ahead. I made that up. you can use it.) to ask the crowd to jump on cue, and change the words from "I like it" to "I LOVE IT" because let's face it.... we like empanadas and comfy shoes....but rock and roll? We LOVE IT! Yes, we do. It was a thunderous rendition with lights on, fists punctuating each of those words " but..I...LOVE...IT!" Even Dee was overwhelmed--he dropped the mic to give the crowd a big round of well-deserved applause.

And then, my babies, it seemed as though as soon as it began...it came to an end. I wish the moment could have lasted forever. But alas! The road crew swooped in to break down the show after the amps stopped ringing. The crowd was visibly drenched in sweat and wanting more. As we prepared to leave out the back door, I heard Down taking the stage (as in, "System of a...) and I was so bummed that I couldn't stay for their whole set--they sounded fantastic! Great group of guys to boot, and it sounded like they were doing a great set!

Nothing can really capture the passion and energy of a Twisted Sister show, especially in South America. This was the first TS show of the year, and it absolutely blew me away along with the patient, excited and appreciative fans who waited the three long years for Twisted to return. An incredible show filled with brilliant guitar work, heavy drumming, bass lines that those fans felt the next day and the best heavy metal frontman in the business. Twisted Sister DESTROYED Chile!

Many thanks to the hardest working crew in the business, the local stage crews and the producers of the Chile Metalfest who brought Twisted Sister in to destroy the place.
The afterglow was short and sweet however....we packed up the gear, loaded up the transport, and got back to the hotel around 1:00 a.m. with just enough time to pack, shower and head back downstairs to wait for my 4:15 a.m. transport back to the airport.

More to come, my babies...more to come.....the real adventures were yet to come...

but for now, this concludes the Chile edition of the Armadillo Road Report. Adios, amigos and mucho, mucho gracias!

This is Armadillo... trotting off to down some more Advil and try to decipher another note pad full of my shorthand....





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