Trondheim, Norway Setlist June 2, 2012 
Sunday, June 3, 2012, 08:45 PM
Posted by Administrator
It's almost a quarter til 3 a.m. It's STILL light outside...but I must perform my civic duty:

Your setlist from tonight's show in Trondheim, Norway--and WHAT a setlist it is!

1. What You Don't Know
2. The Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
4. Wake Up The Sleeping Giant (can you believe it?! oh god it was SO good)
5. I Believe in Rock N' Roll
6. You Can't Stop Rock and Roll
7. The Fire Still Burns
8. Sin After Sin
9. We're Not Gonna Take It
10. The Price
11. Burn in Hell
Drum Solo
12. I Wanna Rock
Encores:
13. It's Only Rock N' Roll
14. Come Out and Play
15. S.M.F.

Oh man, I TOLD you it was gonna be a goodie!

Full road report coming as soon as I can rehydrate and get some sleep!
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Official Road Report for Trondheim Norway June 2, 2012 
Sunday, June 3, 2012, 08:58 AM
Posted by Administrator
Greetings and salutations, my babies, and thanks for tuning back in for another installment of the EU edition of the Twisted Sister tour blog. Welcome to Norway, where it's brighter at midnight than it is at high noon....the weather here is cold and wet....no, wait....it's sunny and somewhat pleasant....no, scratch that--it's dark and cold....oh wait, there's the sun..nope, shit, raining and cold again...Norway is an absolutely delightful and beautiful country, but the weather here is baffling and more irritable than my bowel.

Speaking of which, I'm bringing you this report from my hotel commode--remarkably comfortable, has WiFi and allows me to multi-task (there is no such thing as "too much information" here at the ARR. You get it all: the good, the bad and the unnecessary!
Crankiness and personal information about colons combined with an excessive and probably illegal use of ellipses can only mean one thing: that's right.... it's time...

Here now, for your reading enjoyment...the lewdness, crudeness and short-dude-ness....the journalistic travesty brought to you to by SPAM, the wonder meat that fills my road report comments with delicious spamtastic artificially flavored goodness...

It's the Armadillo Road Report for Trondheim, Norway, June 2, 2012, bringing you all the Twisted Sister concert details you want to know....and plenty ya' don't!

With the walk-thru complete from the day before, it was now "Show Day." Show Day always seems to begin innocently enough, but as soon as the transport pulls up to the venue, it's as though the accelerator pedal gets pushed to the floor. We immediately unload the equipment from the van, and right away I realized that this show was going to be a bit unusual.

With many different projects going on at once, some of the road crew had prior professional commitments and so Twisted did not have the full crew they normally travel with. The veterans were still on-hand--Mehtis (guitar technician extraordinaire), George (guru of all things sound), Johnny of Sweden ("I push de leetle buttons and de lights go on"), Rikk (Netherlands) who does a little bit of just about everything and the greenhorn of the crew, Anthony Pero, Jr.

That's right! A.J.'s son was on the road crew helping his father for the very first time. Now if you're counting....we're a roadie or three short. Normally I don't touch ANYTHING...unless I'm told, I don't even breathe on the guitars out of fear that if something goes wrong, they'll blame me and the only road report I'll be writing after that will be about Bar Mitzvah bands. But it was obvious that they needed some extra hands, so I jumped in, tossed my cane aside and hauled equipment. (Bucket list item #42: Roadie equipment into show)

Up the three flights of stairs.
What sadistic fucking bastard puts the stage three flights above the load-in door?
I digress.

Anyhow, after carrying the equipment, I watched the crew settle in with their Norweigan counterparts to begin setting the equipment and I parked myself with a notepad to start jotting a few notes. I found it very touching to watch A.J. Pero and his son ("junior") working on the drum kit together. What a nice father-son bonding experience--I'm sure he must have been very proud to see his son behind his skins. Speaking of skins, I'm not knowledgable about instruments, and I'll have to ask him when I see him today, but A.J. was using some type of drum kit that made him as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning. He said it had a 26" kick...which didn't mean much to me at the time....but more on that later....

To my delight, the always calm and cool Mr. Stanton me asked to assemble and tape off the famous pink microphone stand (bucket list #83)-- little tidbits the S.M.F.s will appreciate--that microphone stand weighs more than I do! (I know, I know, that's not saying much but that thing is really heavy!)

The sound check began in the middle of the afternoon and remember that smell I mentioned the day before? The smell of rock? It's a mix. A mix of musk and sweat...leather jackets and cigarettes....aged wood from the roadie cases mixed with the acrid scent of hot electronics and wire insulation. I've learned to love that smell. Enhanced only by cacophony of the hum coming from the amplifiers, an occasional strike on the crash cymbols and a staccato of guitar chords as they are tuned.

Meanwhile, the lighting crew is testing the different colors and spots--red..blue..yellow...green...white....a dry run (so to speak) of the fog machine and the stage is filled only with the red haze and the intensely illuminated lone pink microphone, glowing like a lighthouse in the artificial fog. Heavy metal poetry. The line check begins as the sound crew "roughs out the sound" and a small army of local crew begin scurrying about--the real "men in black"--always carrying cables of some variety, with rolls of gaffer tape hanging off their belts from carabiners.

In the backstage area, another army of workers is frantically setting up tables, opening starched white linens and stacking thin glass bottles of water and soda pop, perfectly symmetrical with their labels flawlessly aligned. It would make any with OCD at peace.

Then the band arrives for soundcheck. Mark appears from behind a stack of Marshalls, his bass slung over him like a battle axe on a gladiator. Eddie and Jay Jay don their weapons of choice as well, and they launch into "Shoot 'em down". In that circus tent, there was an echo into the ceiling that was like yelling into the Grand Canyon--the sound was cavernous!
I had to physically restrain myself--it's a sound check--it has a distinct purpose....it was hard not to rock out so I stayed in my seat but it was raw and brilliant. Danny sang the vocals, which is also a nice treat (I haven't heard him sing since the "American Beauty" show at the Crazy Donkey)

The soundcheck consisted of a few bars of "Wake Up the Sleeping Giant" followed by "I Believe in Rock N' Roll", "Sin After Sin," a few impromptu jams...followed by "The Fire Still Burns" and "Knife in the Back". (with the opening riff of "Ride to Live, Live to Ride" thrown in for good measure!) The sound just filled the place to the ceiling, and the Hakon Grav, photographer who has done photos for the band--said he has never heard it so loud in here before!"


Then a quick luxury--a few moments back at the hotel to grab something to eat and change clothes-- Eddie joined me for dinner, and I have to tell you, that even the most mundane moments give me such joy. If you had told me when I was 14 that in about 30 years, I'd be sitting at a dinner table in Norway discussing spring mix lettuces with Eddie Ojeda...I don't thing there's anything in that sentence that would be have remotely believable. But now I can say that I have dined with all five members of the band, so there's Bucket list item #6 Complete. (it would have been fulfilled in Athens, except Eddie dined in his room that evening)

I very briefly popped into the small side stage to see Dave Evans playing but had to make a quick exit because I did not want to miss the opener, The Darkness. I had never seen them before, and was only familiar with two of their songs--they are quite popular on the 98 Rock playlist in Baltimore. The lead singer truly impressed me with his stage presence--the band gave a full amount of energy out and to no one's surprise, given their huge popularity, they received the energy back from an excited and appreciative crowd. The Darkness was really not a "warm up" band--they were the 2nd on the Roster and they played a fantastic set.
They are a lot of fun, rock out completely and were 100% entertaining to watch.

The audience sing-a-longs were a real hoot--but have you heard lead singer’s range? It's a heavy metal falsetto, and the only ones in the audience able to hit the notes were the female metalheads in attendance...and a few unics. They played a song that I didn't realize was an actual title-I thought he was kidding when he announced they were going to play "Get Your Hands Off My Woman” Because with his British accent, it sounded like he was saying “Get Your Hands off My Watermelon (Motherfucker)" And thus giving us our Spinal Tap moment. Hilarious song! And yes, motherfucker was in the actual refrain. Brilliant.

Their lead singer, inspired by the circus atmosphere perhaps, performed a handstand, and did inverted jumping jacks--clapping his feet while standing on his head--in perfect time to the drum beat. Even more impressive, he played his guitar solo while sitting on the shoulders of two large security men who literally carried him throughout the crowd while he played.
A quick break....

And lights down for "Long Way to the Top" (a newly re-burned version--the old one was starting to sound like a scratchy 45) at minutes past 9:00 PM. You've seen the previously posted setlist, no doubt. It was like a Twisted Sister smorgasbord--something there to make everyone happy!

The opener was of course, "What You Don't Know." For those who have never seen Twisted open with this number, it begins with the stage filled with fog, the band backlit so that you only see their silhouettes. Dee races in from the fog and begins singing the opening verse, and when he yells "Hit it!" the lights go up, the band whirls around and faces front--and the volume just hits you in the face. Norway is definitely a heavy metal town---the place was sold out--I was a bit disappointed to see the "influences" of historic rock festivals when a few douche bags continued to throw full cups of beer at the stage. Eddie and Mark ducked in time and it sailed safely passed both of them.

It happened numerous times throughout the evening--most landed before they ever came near the stage, but at one point, I turned around and wagged my finger at the section it came from. It was close enough that they could see me...I could see them....I'm too old to get scrappy now, but at least they didn't know that and the throwing stopped.

Dee addressed the audience and explained that it was his first time in Trondheim (but certainly not his first time in Norway) and he wanted to clear up two rumors that had spread about him from his last trip here.

Rumor #1: He liked the hotel he stayed in so much that he bought it.
Not true.

Rumor #2: He stole a bicycle.
Per Dee, that one "Might be true"...he thought it was one of those community bicyles like the little zip cars we have stateside. As he said, "In New York...we chain those fuckers up so people don't steal 'em..."

Musically, Twisted brought it, as usual. I know that on the Slamboard we had a heated little dialogue about the "Love Is For Suckers" album. I just have to say that "Wake Up the Sleeping Giant" was absolutely thunderous. Even I've taken my jabs at LIFS for being too polished and packaged, but live--that music is ALL Twisted Sister. There were quite a few cuts from "Come Out and Play"--three by my count--six from "Stay Hungry"--and the rest sprinkled in from the first two albums. Something there for fans for every generation to enjoy!

"You Can't Stop Rock n' Roll" has such great guitar lines--I think it actually tired the fans out a bit because there was so much arm pumping and fist throwing that the two guys next to me had to sit down and catch their breath. Eddie got the crowd fired up--he did a very elegant "crank it up more ladies and gentlemen" with panache. Jay Jay's solo was a soul-lo! fantastic-ness!

Jay Jay acknowledged and thanked "The Darkness" for their kick-ass performance and then commented how he packs three winter coats to weather June in Norway--Dee later chimed in that the locals wear shorts and suntan lotion in spite of it, all the while complaining, "Yah it's fuckin' cold!"

"I Believe in Rock and Roll" showcased Mark releasing the "Animal" and what he did to that bass, holy crapola! He doesn't play his bass...he pounds it like he's tendorizing meat.
I forget which song it was--but at one point--Dee knocked over his mic stand (as he always does) and normally, one of the roadies runs across to quickly pick it up. One thousand one....one thousand two....one thousand three....holy crap...the mic is still on the stage floor! I did the roadie math: lessee...George is at the sound board, Jonny is at the lighting booth...Methis is tuning guitars behind the amps....Jurnior is at the drum kit....Rikk is probably handling Mark's bass..that leaves only two people to get the mic...Danny, who was far off the side....and me. And I'm out in the crowd to get a better sound experience.

[Quick note: had I been there, it would have been a rough dilemna...leave the mic on the ground for Dee to pick up himself..which is scrililege! Or pick up the mic, and risk Dee saying "who the fuck is that? when did we put a dwarf on the road crew? someone tell that little fuck to get off my fucking stage!"]
It was a Twisted Sister pucker moment.

And then...out of nowhere...this old roadie wearing a denim vest with twisted colors from 20 years ago at least...swoops in like a Wimbledon Ball Boy, expertly scoops up the mic in seconds and runs off. I swore, for a moment, it was the venue ghost. But lo and behold! It was the one and only Joe Gerber, Twisted Sister's tour co-manager from years past. He later told me that it was the first time he ever picked up the microphone on stage for TS.
The Price was a 50/50 split tonight between the white LEDs of cell phones and the yellow candescence of butane lighters. Saw kind of an old school—new school thing going on. If you’ve never see the visual imagery of the sea of lights during “The Price”, maybe we can convince Jay Jay to repost the video he took from the stage at Romania (I think it was). It gives me chills every time.

The place went absolutely insane during the crowd pleasers "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "Burn In Hell"....I've learned incidently, that not far from Trondheim is a place called "Hell, Norway." (Yes, it's cold as hell there.) A fellow tried to crowd surf, which is really not a good idea here. I mean, this dude was over six feet tall and obviously eats his moose and potatoes because he was a big guy....and there was no way that crowd was gonna carry him over their heads. I think they ran out of beer cups during “Burn in Hell” because I saw clothes flying through the air. Boy, you know you’re rocking an audience hard when they take their clothes off in Norway!

A.J.’s drum solo….. you know, they’re always impressive..but there must be something about that 26” kick because he sounded SO good, it was SO loud and SO rich and deep….Sound of Thunder? It was like the sound of a herd of buffalo. I think they need to add a 26” kick to their specs for every show—phenomenal! And props to the light crew—the lighting on the solo was especially enjoyable.

And then (and we knew it was coming--the place had seats...) Dee stops and says "We're only a few songs in and I can see a problem." Yes, the sittinig down thing. He gave us a few really good Dee-isms "Are you hiding behind the person in front of you?" Easy to do, mind you. These Norweigans are tall! He even singled out the two guys in the projection booth and say, "yeah, you....let me see those fists..' and finally two fists appear in the window--enough to satisfy Dee. He assigned each band member to watch a section of the audience--and report anyone who wasn't standing up.

"I Wanna Rock" never disappoints--the solo dual between Eddie and Jay Jay was quite good tonight, and Dee was so impressed by the audience on "I Wanna Rock" that we got a "mic drop" and a round of applause from the band. Even Animal cracked his knuckles on the last bar, as if to say, "yah, we done good!" There were so many beers raised in the air that from my vantage point, it felt like I was viewing the band through a stained glass window.

During the Dee rap, he thanked the Old Schoolers in attendance, and recognized a die-hard fan (from Norway) who is always in the front row. Apparently they tweet back and forth a bit, and Dee took a moment to “catch up”….”so…..how’s your mom?” He also gave props to a fan from Brazil now living in Norway, prompting the best Dee-ism of the night: “So you’d rather live here and have hard nipples forever??!!”

The encore “It’s Only Rock and Roll” was my favorite of the night. The audience sing-a-long was priceless…hopefully it’s out there on YouTube….as the audience was prompted to sing “I Like It” , Dee was entertained by the fan who kept missing the cue!

The encores were off the hook—I can’t even describe the incredible bass pounding by Animal. One day that bass neck is just plain gonna snap in two!
Dee also announced that the band TNT was playing at a local hotel (not sure of the name) but when he described it as “The Big Ugly One…..who designed it? A Blind man?” everyone seemed to know exactly which one he was referring to. I saw it. It was downright odd looking. Like a space ship that had crash landed. Into an ice palace.

The band intros were equally hilarious—A.J. Pero: Dee commented, “I know you’re confused, because Captain Lou Albano is dead” (oh for godssake, google it. Do I have to do everything?) and assured everyone that Animal was not, in fact, Sasquatch despite recent sightings. Eddie received warms accolades from the crowd who always give an appreciative “ED-DIE! ED-DIE!” and Jay Jay thanked Norway for making it a second European home for Twisted, who has played Norway more than any other EU country. Lastly, Dee was introduced as Lady Gaga’s nude body double…or as Dee corrected him, it’s pronounced “ga-GAH” with the accent on the second “ga”…

The show ended with S.M.F. bringing down the house, with Animal doing full arm swings to pound those strings with full momentum. It was just plain extraordinary.
All in all, we had 100 minutes of intense kick-ass rock and roll—but the night wasn’t over.

In a moment I’ll never forget, I followed the crew to the hotel where TNT played….expecting another midnight rock show. Instead, I got something really special. In a dark ballroom packed all the way to the back wall, TNT played a set with a full orchestra. It was unbelievable and very, very special. The sound was so rich and fulfilling, that even someone like me who was unfamiliar with TNT’s music, found myself mesmerized. I immediately began visualizing Twisted Sister playing with a full orchestra—and could picture the string section doing the “Under The Blade” rock and forth action. What a great way to end the night in Norway.

The heavy metal hangover today was brutal--I didn’t drink enough water and after all the carrying up and down stairs added to screaming, my throat is killing me today and my hip feels like someone hit it with a hammer over and over. (thank goodness I don’t drink—I can’t even imagine what shape I’d be in)

News is spreading of an airline strike in Norway—we’ll be here for about 4 days it seems—and then, my babies, off to Sweden!

Props again to Diesel Dahl for making it all happen, for the incredible staff at the venue (next beer on me, Vivien) and the entire bands and road crews of TNT, the Darkness and Twisted. All of them—every last one—incredibly nice fellows!

With that, I leave you to now to go find a pharmacy to get some lozenges.

This is Armadillo…your faithful road reporter….trotting off into the cold gray skies of Norway!

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Armadillo on the move...Greetings from Norway! 
Friday, June 1, 2012, 11:49 PM
Posted by Administrator
Well my babies, it's almost 11:00 PM and sun is shining so that can mean only one thing..that's right! We are in Norway.

It was a long and adventurous travel day for me--truly a planes, trains and automobiles kind of way. I left at 11:00 am EST for the train station, (Shout out to retired U.S Navy Seaman Donald who helped pass the time with good conversation--rock on!) I then took the 3 hour trip into Penn Station NYC, then a few quick transfers to the Long Island Rail Road and the AirTrain and voila! I camped out at JFK. There were various Twisted spottings throughout the airport all afternoon with band and crew arriving and departing on different flights.

A big thumbs down to a particular air carrier who has now imposed weight restrictions on carry-on baggage--your total combined carry-on's can't be over 20 lbs or you have to check 'em...or pay for the pounds. You know, I'd just like to point out here, as I shared with the ticket agent, if we're going to get so uptight over weight presumably because of the effect of the baggage on the aircraft, then shouldn't the 350-lb man traveling next to me be allowed less carry=on weight than my 130 lb skinny butt?

I digress. My apologies....checking luggage is a real nail biter for me.

As I sat at the gate, A.J. gave me a sneak peak listen to some music of his--some damn good stuff, too. If you took some of your favorite bands and mixed them into a new sound...well, you'll have to wait and get a listen yourself.

Perhaps I'm still a wee cranky from the 11 hours of flight in an airplane that had the legroom of a Miata. All of the crew and band have now arrived safely with all of their luggage and guitars in tow. Props to Ronnie for providing an informative and interesting ride to the hotel--we passed by a local IKEA and I suddenly had an intense craving for meatballs with lingonberry sauce.

One of my favorite parts of traveling with the crew is the gracious opportunity they allow me to accompany them on the pre-show walk-thru. We were given a ride over there by Katerina Dahl, a local artist who played us some of her original music--a very talented young woman in addition to giving us a warm and wonderful welcome. The people have Norway have been very friendly and helpful, yet it feels strangely laid back and relaxed for a city with this many people.

We arrived this evening to the rear of the club--From the outside, the building is typical Scandinavian design, the brick-red stucco and 90-degree angles. Inside, I felt transformed into another era. The event was moved indoors to a historic local rock club--it's a mid-size club that reminds of the barn in Thessaloniki except much, much cooler inside. The primary room of the club is round--that's right--round! In fact, the ample audience seating is stadium style (which means every fan will get a great view) and wraps almost 270 degrees around the arena. The tromp l'oeil ceiling is painted like a circus tent, alternating gold and brick-red--with patinaed gilded columns around the top perimeter--it looks like a cross between Barnun & Bailey and Camelot's Court. In the middle of the stage is a built-in wooden platform that can actually rotate 360 degrees.

It's affiliated with the local college students--there are 30,000 college kids in Trondheim--and the club is surrounded by dormitories of those who decorate, perform and work in the club. It originated during World War II when it was built by the Germans, and has hosted music, theatre and other entertainment ever since--including AC/DC, Motorhead, The Sex Pistols and thousands more This club smells of rock history--I mean it--every paint scratch on the wall from thousands of load-ins, every piece of wood missing from the floor--you get a vibe that can only be described as the essence of band's past.

Or it's the ghost.

Yes. Did I mention there's a ghost? Well, apparently when the club was being built by German soldiers, one fell from the rigging and landed square in the center of the stage and died. And according to the local manager, the quite lovely and charming Vivien, the ghost of the soldier does occasionally stir up some mischief. (I'm hoping to get more stories on this!)

The crew went straight to work doing all of the exciting behind the scenes work that they do tirelessly so that we can enjoy beautifully balanced sound and perfect lighting--it's late right now (about 11:30 pm) and some of the crew are still on site. So again I must remind folks to always say thanks to the road crew--they do an amazing job.

And with that, I must bid you all a good night.... or a "god natt" as they say here...
until tomorrow my babies
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May 9, 2012 Fallen Blue Benefit with A.J. Pero, Baltimore MD 
Monday, May 14, 2012, 11:31 PM
Posted by Administrator
Road Report Coming, folks....

dealing with some health issues at the moment....will have the road report from the A.J. Pero Fallen Blue Benefit shortly....stay tuned, my babies
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On to glory! 
Sunday, March 18, 2012, 06:11 PM
Posted by Administrator
Stay tuned, my babies...

the European edition of the Armadillo Road Report is coming this summer!

UPDATED:
I'll be on the road this summer in Norway, Sweden, Spain, Belgium and the U.S. Look forward to seeing all you SMFs on the road and rest assured I'll be bringing you all of the concert details you want to know (...and plenty ya' don't!)

This will be the best Twisted summer ever--so get out there and see Twisted Sister live--you won't regret it!
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