Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ 05/17/14 
Sunday, May 18, 2014, 09:33 PM
Posted by Administrator
Hooray! Hooray! The blog is back! Thank you Webbie for fixing the blog after it was spammed into oblivion!

Welcome back, my babies! Here we are once again for the 2014 Twisted Sister tour season and we’re already off to a fantastic start. Superstorm Sandy may have flooded the place, but Twisted Sister blew the lid off last night. It was absolute, heavy metal annihilation as our boys in black and pink celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the release of Stay Hungry, rocking out with special guests Stephen Pearcy (formerly of Ratt) and Killcode. There were plenty of surprises in store—including [spoiler alert] all five original members playing—yes, that means A.J. Pero on the drums (more on that later) and a special cover of Motorhead’s “Born To Raise Hell.” If that’s not enough, there were two awesome, totally surprising concert announcements—Fox News All American Concert Series on July 25th (7:00 A.M.) and the Best Buy Theatre NYC on September 5, 2014.

Oh, but there’s more. So much, much more to tell you all, and I believe you all know that can mean that it’s time to bring you what can only be described as the first blog longer than a Shakespearian insult….the tour blog that gives you all the details that true fans lust after…and make the rest of them youtube it just to see if it’s true….the one….the only…Armadillo Road Report: The Official Twisted Sister tour blog and concert review of the Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, New Jersey, May 17, 2014. This special edition brought to in high-definition 3D—please don your special glasses…NOW!

As many of you already know, this was supposed to be the second date of the 2014 Tour, but the Starland Ballroom show was hailed as the “warm-up” to the European Tour—and more importantly, this first gig was a celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the release of the original “Stay Hungry” vinyl. Now depending upon whom you ask, “Stay Hungry” was either the beginning of the end for Twisted, or it was the introduction of the Sisters to an entirely new generation. That essentially threw down the gauntlet at this show—clearly the second generation of Twisted fans were going to be ecstatic. But given the location of the venue, it was bound to attract scores of Old School S.M.F.’s who wanted to hear ANYTHING and EVERYTHING pressed and delivered prior to 1984. Tough task, indeed, how to please us all.

But first, a taste of the road. [for those of you new to this blog, I’m about to embark on my usual literary masturbation which likely involves gastronomy and travel details. If such drudgery bores you, just keep tabing down and eventually, there will be music described.]

This is not my first trek to the Starland, but nevertheless, I had a bit of trepidation. My last adventure there involved a quick detour into the New Brunswick to pick up Da’ Mayor, SMF DCT, and somehow the two of us managed to get remarkably lost, in spite of many people telling us to turn left at the Dunkin Donuts. We eventually did arrive—12 right-handed u-turns and six Dunkin Donuts later. Seriously….who the hell designed a state in which you can’t make a left turn, and Dunkin Donuts dot the landscape more than traffic lights. It’s maddeningly obscene. So thanks to google maps, I did manage to find a new way there that only involved two left turns from the right lane (and yes, sonofabitch but one of them was at a Dunkin Donuts)—of course, true to form like last time, getting back to the hotel was an adventure because not only are left turns impossible, but apparently you can only go South on Route 18 to Sayreville. I hope the planner for New Jersey highways has his own special circle in Dante’s Inferno.

In any case, this drive found me quite nostalgic because it meant I drove past the exit for Six Flags—the place where the Armadillo Road Reports first began. It was July 5, 2003—and it was the first time I had ever driven more than an hour by myself—and certainly my first time driving on the turnpike. My knuckles were white the entire drive—petrified almost covers it—I stopped at every single rest stop. What can I say? Nervous bladder. That first reunion show for me was life changing. I managed to overcome terrible fear—my completely irrational (sometimes) fear of travel—in order to see the band I never stopped loving. It was my first time in the front row, and I was absolutely hooked from that point forward. I couldn’t believe I was seeing Twisted Sister again—and more importantly, I couldn’t believe how incredible they played after all those years.

If you had told me then, that in eleven years, I would not only be making the drive once more without batting an eyelash, but that I would be helping load in the equipment and light the pathway for the band to take the stage, well…. You know the rest. Seeing them in 2003 was a dream come true then, and every show now just exceeds my wildest dreams, over and over again.

I rolled into Sayreville close to noon and after a few of those dreaded left turns, pulled into the lot of the Starland Ballroom. The Starland took a terrible hit during Superstorm Sandy, completely flooded out from the storm surge. Today’s Starland looks just beautiful. The layout is the same—but completely renovated. New paint, three beautiful new subway tiled bars that rose up from the floor like giant hot-tubs—and just like airplane exits…one in the back, one in the front on each side above the wings. Pizza concession stands still there (I recall that was definitely a plus for me back then) and an ample amount of friendly staff, ready to help park, pour and protect.

This was my first time loading into a small venue like this—it was truly exciting for me, as I pictured that this may have been what it was like, night after night, hauling guitars, Marshall cabinets and reels of cables into a dark, intimate club. Many hands make light work, and it seemed to take just seconds for the big black boxes in the back of a truck to be transformed into the backline. The stage was small by festival standards, but ample for a club this size. An impressive soundboard and lighting beach in the back—and an even more impressive sound coming from the deafeningly loud speakers. A special Armadillo thank-you to the lovely ladies of catering, who prepared a delicious Italian meal that made me long to fall in love with an Italian. It may be the first time I've ever said to anyone, "Oh these balls are delicious--I'm going to get two more..." (Yeah, Kinda regretted it as soon as those words slipped out. Poor turn of a phrase but great meatballs nevertheless)

This evening provided some extra treats—not one, but two soundchecks. The first soundcheck performed by the road crew. I found myself fascinated watching the monitor board sliders, which seemed to move magically as if a ghost were at the controls. Early on, even with the guitar tuning and drum mic’ing still underway, the sound was fantastic. I thought it couldn’t get better until the second treat—all five band members strolled in to do the second check. Only once have I ever seen them do their own sound check—and that one time was a part of a VIP Christmas package—Dee explained, at the time, that he didn’t normally like to have people in the room when he did a sound check. So when the Snide One took the stage for soundcheck, I tried to make myself as invisible and non-descript as possible. They played their standard “Shoot ‘Em Down” for the check, but then did a quick rehearsal of a few other songs to ensure the transitions were down smoothly.
When they broke into a song that I didn’t immediately recognize—it took me a few seconds to realize that they were playing….MOTORHEAD. My second favorite band! (Metallica would have been if they hadn’t gotten so new-agey after the Justice album, but I digress….) “Born to Raise Hell” sounded absolutely amazing during the soundcheck, and by this point, I was so excited for doors to open, I could barely contain myself.

The doors opened early for the Meet N’ Greet---held in one of the little “corrals” by the rear bar, stage left. All five band members spent an ample amount of time with the lucky fans who had VIP passes, signing plenty of goodies and taking lots and lots of photos that now grace the walls of facebook all over the mid-atlantic. Once general doors opened, the club quickly filled. Unlike some of the past shows, this one was packed from the moment the show began.

I was glad to see such a full house—the only thing harder than being a Twisted Sister opening act playing to an empty house is to play to a packed Twisted Sister crowd. Killcode ( and you can also find them on Facebook) had a tough job ahead of them, and they pulled it off well. This was my introduction to Killcode—a relatively new band from NYC—formed in 2008 but clearly, they are serious about rocking hard and gave an all-around solid performance. Well-polished and well-practiced, they let the music speak for itself instead of trying to pull off some gimmick or cliché. Overall, good original metal tunes with a ballad thrown in for good measure—I can usually judge the success of an opener when the audience is still doing the head bobs after the third song instead of looking antsy or bored, which let’s face it, does happen quite a bit with some the cookie-monster metal acts we’ve seen. Killcode delivered what the fans wanted—strong vocals, hard guitars and no-fluff—just some good ol’ heavy metal. Well done, lads.

Next up was special guest, Stephen Pearcy. (formerly of RATT) I must confess—I wasn’t able to catch all of his set, but I heard the fans rocking out to quite a few songs (formerly played by RATT) such as “Way Cool Junior” “Wanted Man” and “Round and Round.” He even gave us a Judas Priest cover—“Headed to the Highway”. I’m not sure that was the best song choice--Pearcy almost took a header himself at one point—but thankfully caught himself so that he didn’t fall headfirst into the monitors! There were quite a few RATT fans in the house…(or, perhaps, fans formerly of the band RATT, now Stephen Pearcy fans) and Mr. Pearcy gave props to Twisted Sister—the two bands really do go way back, sharing many a bill back in the day. Someone Stage Right in the front will have to tell me, but I swore I saw a pair of panties go sailing past Pearcy. True? If so…those were some MIGHTY big panties. You go, fat-bottomed girls! Rock on! Pearcy’s bass player won my award for the first annual Jay Jay look-alike contest. I mean it—from a profile, it was uncanny: the hair, the glasses, the black shirt…he even had that backward lean into his solo….just so….

Speaking of “back in the day” and fans in the house—I am so pleased and proud of all my Slamboard brothers and sisters last night. There were so many Slamboarders there—I don’t want to risk leaving anyone out—but you were all there in the front row (most of ya!) and showing how it’s done. There’s nothing worse than those folks who muscle their way to the front row, but then stand there trying to look cool, only to be humiliated by Dee later. Saturday night—Dee didn’t have to single anyone out because that crowd was PUMPED! Hair…fists…teeth (wait, those may have been mine…) all flying through the air.

And we also had some serious S.M.F. royalty in the house last night. I mean it. Donna from CT (DCT) was there with the original front row gals…including Mary La Fleur and Karen Kryme! If you don’t know who Karen is, just wait for the movie, “We Are Twisted Fucking Sister” to come out—or you can visit the “Twisted Sister In the Clubs-1976-1983 (unofficial) facebook page (run by SMF Peter from the Slamboard) where you will so many amazing bits of Twistory from the club days, many from Kryme’s personal collection. Great stuff.

Oh? What’s that, you say? What movie? “We Are Twisted Fucking Sister!—The Movie” a rockumentary by Director and Producer Andrew Horn, who incidentally, was ALSO in the house Saturday night after a long flight from Germany. (bop on over to his facebook page—just look for “Twisted Sister—The Movie” and you’ll get a sneak peak at some photos and interviews that will have you salivating for this movie to come out soon. And no, I don’t know when you’re getting your fucking tee-shirt. They’re coming for crissake. I swear they are.]

Oh wait, there’s more! (and I haven’t even GOTTEN to the music yet!) Also in the house was Mr. Mark “Weiss-Guy” Weiss snapping shots next to our own Don “Webbie” the Twisted Webmaster….and…..wait for it….wait for it….CHARLIE “Sixth Sister” BARRECCA! I couldn’t believe I got to finally shake hands with a true legend—a man I have admired for so, so long. I was so upset that I wasn’t able to go to Charlie’s benefit back in 2005—I remember longing to meet “the sixth sister” since I saw his name on the liner notes the first time I turned that vinyl over in my hands. Charlie is Twisted’s former Soundman—a man with tremendous talent and a huge heart to boot. Every now and then, you can meet someone, and before they even open their mouth, you can sense a certain aura—a glow about them. Charlie has that glow. He radiates it. It was insanely loud and so I didn’t get to chat, but was so thrilled to shake his hand. It was great to see him in his element, and I can honestly say, that he had a smile on his face the entire show. I loved looking over my shoulder and seeing Charlie singing along and rocking out to a great sounding show. Mr. Barrecca—I salute you!

Onto to the show.
Sorry to make you wait so long but I’ve had a lot of pent up…..penmanship since the South of the Border fiasco.

Here is your Sayreville Starland Stay Hungry Setlist:

1. Stay Hungry
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Shoot ‘em Down
4. The Beast
5. You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll
6. Don’t Let Me Down
7. I Believe in Rock n’ Roll
8. We’re Not Gonna Take It
9. Captain Howdy
10. Street Justice
11. The Price
12. Burn In Hell
Drum solo
13. I Wanna Rock
* encores *
14. Born To Raise Hell
15. Under The Blade
16. S.M.F.

That’s right…every single track off “Stay Hungry” plus a few extra goodies thrown in for good measure. I have a bet with Jay Jay that this is NOT the first time they’ve played the entire Stay Hungry album in the U.S. The blog has been down so I haven’t been able to check my archives.

Twisted took the stage about twenty past ten o’clock—the place was absolutely mobbed and packed in tight, “nut to butt” as I call it. Jersey and NY fans—you are primo! The place just went crazy, Jersey style, from the opening chord. It was actually kinda nice to hear “Stay Hungry” as an opener—a nice change of pace from the “What You Don’t Know” they usually play at festivals. Dee took the stage by force, decked out in a “Shits Happening” shirt, sporting new ink and the kind of six-pack abs you see on late night television by someone hawking protein shakes and Insanity video tapes. Dee was on a special workout and nutritional program, and he looks FANTASTIC. Just rippling with muscles—I can’t ever remember seeing him looking this ripped. And a grandfather at that! Boy, do I feel like a lazy, slob now.

Twisted played in front of a bones logo/pink chain-link backdrop—and I’ll say it again—the sound was incredible! Not just loud, but beautifully balanced, clean sounding and even. Usually, if you want great sound, you have to hang back by the sound board. The front row (and worse, the sides/back of the stage) tend to have the worst sound. But fans could hear each guitar, plenty of drums and bass (but not too much…yes, you can have too much bass. Please no one tell Animal I said that….I really treasure my limbs] and best of all, Dee’s vocals.

I was pleased as punch (as were many of the Old Schoolers present) to hear older cuts like “The Kids Are Back” and “Shoot ‘em Down” interspersed with 1984 gems. This was different from the 25th Anniversary setlists, and I found the transition between songs to be very cohesive and thoughtful. In fact, the majority of the evening’s performance was very tight. I don’t mean to sound surprised by this—but I have noted that sometimes, the first show of the tour can sometimes be slightly off-kilter if the band hasn’t played together in a while. Not at all true for this Starland show. It was a solid performance from start to finish.

Eddie gave us a great solo on “The Beast”—offset by Mark’s pounding on the bass—and this audience needed no prodding whatsoever. They had hands…and they used them! I particularly enjoy hearing “You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll” live, mainly because this song played at concert speed is twice as fast as a 78rpm. There were plenty of hands raised up in the praise…because you really can’t stop rock and roll. [Unless, of course, you’re the Mexican Federal Government. In which case, apparently…you can. Sorry. I’m still sore about that.]

Jay Jay thanked the fans who have stuck with Twisted for 30 years and beyond [bloggers note here: I really think the song “30” would have been totally appropriate!] but they rolled into “Don’t Let Me Down.” It’s interesting-but this song was my least favorite on the recorded album, but has become my favorite Stay Hungry track to hear live. I can’t explain it, but played live, this song really comes to life. There is a richness to the guitar lines and some rhythm section pieces that get lost on the studio tracks but played live, they seem to find a whole new groove. Another real gem to hearing it live was the almost transition in the next song, “I Believe In Rock N’ Roll.”

It only took a few seconds of quite possibly, of THE most recognizable drum intro in rock n’ roll to barrel into “We’re Not Gonna Take It,”—during which a very impressively regalia-clad Dee-impersonator clawed his way to the front, prompting some appreciation from Dee himself. The Mark/Eddie/Jay Jay trio was not only conducted by Dee (standing on the drum riser) but he gave us a little “air violin” as well. Such culture we have at Twisted shows! And the crowd sing-a-long? Definitely as it should be—loud and proud! Dee recalled out everybody loves singing WNGTI—all over the world—it’s the song that everybody likes to sing and won’t stop singing it—his Dee-ism, “It’s so fucking beautiful”—I thought he got a little choked up there. (there’s a Yiddish word for it—verklempt—it’s word. Google it.)

The “Stay Hungry” fans then got a real treat—the very seldom played “Captain Howdy”—which Dee said has only been played 4 times live, including once at a 1984 Bangor Maine show—and the song was performed as a tribute to Stephen King. (Slamboard’s SMF Chris a.k.a Capt Howdy was actually in the house Saturday night having flown in from Chicago—and can actually attest to having been at that show in Maine in 1984—way cool!) I could have sworn I’ve heard it more than four times live…but that’s another trip to the archives for me. It’s a creepy song to be sure….especially once you hear the lyrics. Even creepier? Dee sang part of it to the little girl next to me near the pit, taking in her first TS show. CREEEEEEPY! Gave me the heebie jeebies, but then again, that’s what that song is all about.

Even better, the even LESS played “Street Justice.” It’s a perfect transition from “Captain Howdy” into “Street Justice” and I love how they managed the bridge from one song to the next. These two songs really do play well together, and in my opinion, they should always play them as a set. Of course, I feel the same way about “Ride to Live” and “Knife In the Back” and I’ve yet to hear them back to back. A boy can dream. Getting back to “Street Justice,” for a song seldom played these days, it was tight, cohesive and nicely solo’d by Eddie—the cadence brought us back to Captain Howdy, a very nice touch that I think would have worked even better on the studio version.

This evening was really jam packed full of music with not as many raps as usual—Dee and Jay Jay did take a moment to acknowledge that while “Stay Hungry” was their most successful studio album in the 80’s, today the band is headlining festivals all over the world—and some of the BIGGEST rock festivals in the world—and what’s more, they are blowing away bands half their age! (Uhhhh…actually, some of these bands are a third their age, just sayin’…..) Our boys in black and pink paid homage to the original S.M.F.s—many of whom were in the house tonight—one of my favorite (and poignant) Dee-isms of the night, “We owe you our success….we owe you our lives.” And I can only say, that many of us feel the same way towards Twisted Sister.

“Burn In Hell”—always a crowd pleaser—and tonight, the best moment was A.J. Pero’s mammoth drum solo. For those unaware, A.J. has been drumming with Adrenalin Mob and was originally scheduled to play in Canada the same night of this Starland show. Just days ago, the van carrying the band, crew and gear suffered a terrible wreck on the highway. Banged up and bruised, the band including our own A.J. emerged alive but the gear destroyed and the tour on hold. In spite of clearly being in pain, A.J. delivered a fantastic show—drumming as hard as always, and like an Olympian, he just powered through the pain. Speaking on behalf of fans all over the world, we are collectively breathing a sigh of relief—so grateful that A.J., his son (who was also on tour earlier with The Mob) and all of the band and crew are alive and well. We love you, A.J. Glad your guardian angels worked overtime last week!

“I Wanna Rock” pretty much brings down the house every time, and I’m almost running out of ways to describe it. Dee made sure I had something to talk about. He spoke from the heart about how the first time he wrote this song down, how important the words were to him, how important the words are to the fans….[even the Soviet Union where it’s very popular!] He told the crowd: “You inspired us!”—as we came to the point in the song where Dee typically decrescendo’s…. letting the crowd escalate the tempo…he forgot! Then quickly recovered as the band reminded him, “We need the music softer! Good Idea!” followed by favorite Dee-ism ever: “Of All the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” You know, that would make a bitchin’ tee shirt.

For encores, we had some real treats. The Motorhead cover of “Born To Raise Hell” played for the crowd. I love seeing the surprise on the faces—as they heard the first few notes, and you could see folks mouthing to their friends “What is that song??? Is that….Motorhead???” Oh yeah, babies. MOTORHEAD. I was in heaven.

We had two closer encores—“Under The Blade” played lighting fast…complete with lightning by the way. When they played the line “a glint of steel/a flash of light” lighting engineer Marty (Slamboard name Soullites) gave us a special little effect—a perfectly timed flash of light. And FYI.. it was Marty’s birthday that evening. Dee wished him a happy birthday from the stage (adding, it only gets worse from here. Oh, so not true!) So once more, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Marty.

The show rounded off with S.M.F. (and a destroyed animal mic stand) all dedicated to the Sick Mutha Fuckas out there, many of whom were in attendance this fine Saturday night. A very special thank you to Killcode, Stephen Pearcy, the staff of the Starland and all of the slamboard faithful and old school rockers who made Saturday night extra special. And again, I just have to give props to my personal heroes--Charlie "Sixth Sister" Barrecca and Mark "Weiss Guy" Weiss and all of the rock and roll royalty. Extra special thanks to the hardest working road crew in rock n' roll and the most awesome fans in the world.

I could not think of a better way to kick off the 2014 tour, and if Saturday’s performance was any indication of what’s to come…watch out Europe! Twisted Sister did what they always do best—destroyed the Starland with the best damn live heavy metal out there!

Watch out, babies. Twisted Sister is back in form and ready to kick some serious ass! See you in Oklahoma next Saturday, babies!

This is Armadillo, trotting off to find some cowboy boots and sunscreen….

Let’s roll, babies!
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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 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.


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

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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 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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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

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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!)

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: ... -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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