Europe Part II: here we come! 
Sunday, June 29, 2014, 12:13 AM
Posted by Administrator
Get ready, babies! In just a few short days, Twisted Sister is coming to Spain, Sweden and Germany!


add comment ( 196 views )   |  permalink   |  print article
Download Festival, Donington Park UK 14-June, 2014 
Monday, June 23, 2014, 12:54 AM
Posted by Administrator
It’s said that when you “hit one’s stride,” it can refer to the act of reaching the peak of one’s highest level of efficiency and competency. Truly, my babies, we can say that Twisted Sister has hit their stride. The Download Festival at Donington Park personified everything that Twisted Sister is known for—hard-hitting, fast, and entertaining live heavy metal at its finest.

My babies, it is truly a special delight for me to bring you the next installment of the only tour blog that gives it to you just as it happened….and then more…..the one and only…Armadillo Road Report….coming to you from Donington Park, Leicestershire in the United Kingdom—Download Festival, 14-June, 2014.

Oh, my babies, Download 2014 turned out to be one of those shows that I came into it with trepidation….but was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t know whether we were about to experience something monumentally great….or some monstrosity that we’d like to soon forget. Fortunately, Download was exceptionally good—the best show that the 2014 Twisted tour season has given us. Dare I say, it may possibly have been their best show since Graspop 2013!

THE TRIP THERE:
The journey to Download was smooth as silk. Sort of. The road crew and most of the band rallied at the leisurely hour of 9:30 a.m.—although given that we had returned to the hotel from the Copenhell gig at around 0300 hours, and probably hit the pillows around 0400 or 0500 hours, it certainly did have a bit of an edge to it. Loaded up on caffeine, we caravanned our way to the airport a short time later, and did that special dance at the airport we’ve come to know as “Name That Terminal!” It seems to be the golden rule of the road report that no matter which terminal we unload, the correct terminal is always a long way off. So merry dwarves we, we re-loaded the guitars and other sundry cases onto trollies and merrily (okay…I was merry….not sure about the others…) rolled into the proper terminal where our faithful management ensured that it made onto the plane.

Speaking of dwarves, I would like to make mention that our very own Mark “Animal” Mendoza (who is, ummm….NOT a dwarf) loudly pronounced that the road crew needed to stop making tiny troll jokes about yours truly because, he explained, “Armadillo is a Homunculus.” There. I’m so glad we cleared that up. AND……..BEGIN!

So, short jokes and endless Travelocity references aside, we landed in Birmingham, England where we made our way to the hotel for yet another round of trolley follies…unload the van….load the trollies….unload the trollies….followed by a quick band errand and surprisingly, it was dinner hour! While most of the band and crew were simply too tired to venture out, I can seldom resist the opportunity to venture out, especially when there’s gastronomy to be explored. On this occasion, I was extra thrilled when Twisted’s own Mr. Jay Jay French and Mr. Mark Mendoza invited me to join them with fellow crew Matt, and we set out on foot into town in search of food.

We came upon a delightful and traditional pub—this was my first trip to England—but I could not help but reflect upon Twisted Sister’s first true successes across the pond, and it lead to many fantastic shared stories that I’m convinced will put Jay Jay French’s book on the best seller list if he ever writes his autobiography. While England is not exactly known globally for their high cuisine, I will argue that the food I had during my stay was absolutely fantastic—bangers and mash to die for—or in this case…headbangers and mash! (Definitely a good choice of establishment—the others clam they ate Belmont Steaks…that is, the losers from the Belmont Stakes.}

PRE-SHOW
The next morning was a bit of a blur. I’m quite certain we did sleep at some point but before long, I was out of my pajamas and back doing the trolley follies (load the trollies…unload the trollies….load the van…) and en route to Donington Park where the Download festival was underway. The English countryside was every bit as beautiful as I imagined it—I tried to picture our Twisted lot some 30 years ago, landing from the streets of New York to the lushness of England. But my daydreaming was cut short as we pulled into the enormous festival grounds—our driver encountered a bit of a challenge. It seemed the grounds were so large, even the many volunteers and staff seemed to be a bit lost when it came to directing us to the dressing rooms and stage. We soon found out why—the dressing rooms were located at a trailer encampment that was so far away… go ahead. Ask me.
How far WAS it? It was so far away that we had to re-set our watches an hour when we arrived at the stage. It was so far away that we sent our guitars over….via freight delivery. It was so far away that when I checked my pedometer, it read, “You’re fucking crazy. Take a cab.” Yah. It was far. Made Copenhagen seem like a walk in the park. Central Park. Okay….I’m done now. (Not really.) Believe me, I walked that sonofabitch. It was far.

The dressing room complex was a show unto itself. First, you must get a true understanding of what happens backstage. While there’s the rock n’ roll image of backstage consisting of giant orgies, bowls of amphetamines and swimming pools full of whiskey, the reality is that ideal dressing room is spacious, open, comfortable (as in, soft couches with coffee tables) and most importantly, quiet. And in my perfect world…equipped with several clean, private commodes. The Download dressing room was a small single-wide trailer. That’s pretty much it. It was about six feet by fourteen feet, with a small table for refreshments (a bowl of fruit and some crisps) and a couple of folding chairs. Now picture 5 rock stars and 9 crew fitting in there. RIGHT! So the band availed themselves of the hotel accommodations, the crew dropped their belongings in the dressing room and headed to the stage to prep the instruments, and yours truly kept a close eye on the trailer. Our stage was about a 5 to 10 minute drive around the muddy festival complex, so it meant that the constant trekking to and from the stage would have to be carefully orchestrated.

The backstage campus was a never-ending maze of trailers—and a bit of a who’s who of rock—it seemed every time you turned around, rock stars were taking selfies with other rock stars! They also had a masseuse at Download, but I was still recovering the massage I received at Copenhell—seriously, I had to check myself in the mirror to make sure that woman hadn’t removed a vital organ! One awesome massage. Anyhow, special shout out to the kind folks at Tour Supply, Inc. who provided the lozenges and the lovely ladies in catering—the food was quite wonderful. In fact, all the folks we encountered working their duffs off at Download were extremely hospitable and accommodating. Kudos to all of you—it’s not easy to pull off a festival of this size. And while there were a few glitches, the always charming Chelsea, from Artists’ Liaison Services, made sure that the special meet n’ greet got off without a hitch. There were only four lucky folks who were selected for a quick meet n’ greet—two of which were local contest winners from Worchestershire, Kevin and Shane Riley. Very nice chaps—and they had a great visit and photo op with the band.

THE SHOW
So once the band was safely locked down in the dressing room, I loaded up with water, sports drinks, towels and other items and headed over via shuttle to the stage. I was a bit nervous looking out at that crowd—English heavy metal fans had a reputation for being quite raucous, and I had just seen the waivers admonishing that the show could be canceled in the presence of “out of control moshing and/or walls of death.” Walls of death? That just can’t be good. I gazed out into the audience as I helped prepare the stage—I didn’t spy any “walls of death” but did manage to spot the Slamboard’s own “Lorndog”, who was dressed as, of all things….Santa Claus! Let me tell you, it’s not easy spending an entire day at the festival dressed in a Santa Suit—first, you have to deal with the heat and humidity….then you have to manage all the drunk heavy metalheads who want to sit in your lap!

Also spied in the crowd were fans dressed as Big Bird and Elmo…and I have on good authority, there were three fans dressed up like old ladies… masks, wigs and clothes…canes too! {shout out to Penny from Skidrow’s camp….who pointed them out to me!} And the usually assortment of fans dressed as bears. Wait, they may have been bears dressed like fans…. Look, I don’t know why the European fans do this, but I absolutely look forward to it, every damn festival. The creepy, scary clown guy in the front row totally freaked me out, however. My personal favorite: about 20 rows back—someone had a neon, yellow squid puppet on a pole that rocked out the whole show. [SPOILER ALERT: As I watched the crowd, to my amazement, an extremely low flying passenger jet came in for a landing to the nearby airport. I made a secret wish…oh PLEASE do this during Twisted’s set—it will be SUCH a spinal tap moment!]

As “Long Way to the Top” blared over the speakers, I was treated to an extra special moment….I slightly pulled back the curtain in anticipation of Eddie and Jay Jay making their entry, stage right and had my light at the ready as the stage filled up with theatre smoke….Jay Jay suddenly put his arm around me for a quick photo op, snapped by his own daughter who was backstage as well. Eddie jumped into the photo and I now have a keepsake photo that truly captures my Twisted rapture—these are the magical moments that I live for!

It was quite emotional backstage, in those minutes before our boys in black and pink stormed the stage. I almost filled up with tears as I saw our own A.J. Pero, flanked by his son, as they headed to the drum riser. Next, Jay Jay gave his daughter a kiss before making his entrance….and I glanced over to see Mark and Dee share an embrace before Animal stormed out stage left. This, my babies, is the magic of Twisted Sister.

Twisted Sister took the stage in the daylight—a bit unusual for them—but no matter—the roar of the crowd was more dramatic than any pyro entrance or fancy lighting. Unlike shows after dark, we could see the large crowd—their screaming, singing faces, smiles and wide-eyed exuberance, and fists of heavy metal fury. Oh…and lots of neon yellow vests all printed with big black numbers. They were either an army of security officers….or some bizarre heavy metal bingo game. Either way, this audience was fired up and ready to rock! They could see Twisted Sister….and Twisted Sister could see them! The crowd was definitely full of sick muthas!

“Stay Hungry” had this crowd from the opening chord, but I was delighted to see how many fans were screaming the lyrics to “The Kids Are Back.” Both songs played tightly and cohesively—and props once more to our new monitor guy, Peter—from my end of the stage, I had a good balance of guitars and vocals, and didn’t feel like the rhythm section was trying to rip my skull out through my anus. (Refer back to the Oklahoma Road Report. Second thought….don’t. This show was just so damn good.)

I am getting a little better at telling when Dee’s in a good mood—and the more Dee-ism’s we get, well, it’s usually a good sign. Dee thanked the good fans of England—the country that really made Twisted Sister what it is today—but was distracted by the spotlight that suddenly shown in his eyes… “What the fuck is that shining in my face?” then when it unceremoniously shut off, Dee commented, “Oh…for a moment there, I thought it was the sun!”

When Twisted launched into “You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll,” it was almost like a time warp. The video for this song was filmed (and recorded) in England, and I can’t really put my finger on it—it was an intangible vibe—but there was just something about hearing this song played to a crowd in the UK that made it sound so raw and powerful. For a moment, I closed my eyes and pictured our boys clad in the denim colors, racing down the cobblestones in a van with no brakes!

“Under The Blade” sounded equally amazing—and to no one’s surprise, a mosh pit erupted a few rows back in the center of the audience. Fortunately, it was quite civil for a mosh pit—no walls of death, thankfully—you know, I’ve often heard Jay Jay refer to songs played at “concert speed” or “stage speed” which truly is twice as fast as the pace the songs were recorded. “Under The Blade” is normally a fast song—played live in front of a crazed audience—it’s like a 78 played on 45! (IF you don’t understand what that means…ask your Dad.) Jay Jay’s playing was furious and fast—Eddie’s solo was spot on!

“Shoot ‘Em Down” was equally fast—and while I’ve grown accustomed to seeing how Animal destroys his bass, this may have been the hardest pounding that instrument has taken in a long time. (and have you seen the wires on that thing? Those aren’t strings, I swear, they are bridge cables!)

Next on the setlist was “We’re Not Gonna Take It”—there was an endless sea of hands clapping in the air—even the neon squid was clapping—all 8 or 9 arms! The crowd surfing got a little heavier—seemed like a solid stream of fans were going over the barricade—and at the end of the song, instead of singing, the fans chanted: “SIS-TER! SIS-TER! SIS-TER!” I felt like I had stepped into a time warp.

And so did Dee…who commented that they had been to the UK festivals before…once in 2011…..and before that…1983! So he knew what these crowds of SMF’s were capable of, commenting, “You mutha fuckas can sing!” And so we had another round of “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” courtesy of the thousands and tens of thousands of fans (too many to count!).

When Jay Jay got up to the microphone, all he had to go was get out the words “British Idol” and the boo’ing was so loud, I barely heard the rest of the rap. These fans love and appreciate their metal gods—they appreciate the hard work it took to bring them where they are now, and I assure you—Twisted Sister appreciates all of the British metal fans, who were instrumental in getting them there. Someone held up a denim “Twisted Forever” vest—damn straight!

Another treat: my favorite song—“I Am, I’m Me”—the song performed on the UK’s Top of the Pops show back in 1983 that skyrocketed Twisted Sister into living rooms everywhere. The crowd began to pogo—the only thing better than watching an audience pogo….is watching an audience pogo along with a neon yellow squid puppet doing the pogo too. This seldom played beaut sounded absolutely fantastic. I really wish they’d add it as a permanent fixture on their setlist—it was flawless!
Dee rang over stage right and had our two contest winners sing the refrain into the mic with him—WOW! Now THAT’S what I call a prize! Jay Jay even went for a stroll stage right—not sure where exactly

And now for something completely different.

Picture this: Dramatic moment. The opening chords of “Burn In Hell”. The stage fills with smoke and red lights. Dee, bare-chested with his rippling muscles and snarling lip, crawls toward the audience….

…the bass line and drum…booming….DUUUMMMMM…BUMMMMBUMMMM….DUUUUUMMMMM..BUMMMBUMMMM……Dee growling,… he raises his arms triumphantly…glaring….baring his teeth…the audience roars, preparing to the hear the line that sets the song ablaze….
“there’s just five words to say as you go Down…. down…..WHAT THE FUCK???

A plane comes in for a landing, damn near lopping off the squid off his pole….well, got my wish for a spinal tap moment!

Best Dee-ism of the night: “Is that normal? You know, I’m having fucking 9-11 flashbacks...oh shit… you know you might have put that on the sign up here that there’s an airport right there….” Jay Jay went over to check on the unshakable Dee, now laughing….who explained “this is a very intense moment…” and then muttered under his breath “I’ll see you in hell after this….”

And the band still not missing a beat….launched right into “Burn in Hell!”
Played brilliantly.

I wasn’t sure how they were gonna top that but “I Wanna Rock” just annihilated the place. There were bodies surfing, fists flying, squids bouncing…..Jay Jay and Eddie delivered an awesome axe dual—with Eddie playing an aptly painted black and silver Union Jack guitar.

Dee informed the crowd of the poll he’s been taking over the years…in spite of the song being called “I Wanna Rock,” he has found that audiences all across the globe, wanna fuck much more than rock, so he polled the crowd—and sure enough—it’s unanimous! So we had a round of singing “I Wanna Fuck!” (Sorry. It never gets old.) But Dee wasn’t done with them yet—he reminded the crowd that last time, they were so drunk by the time Twisted took the stage, that when he asked them to jump in the air when yelling “Rock!” that 44,000 fans jumped in the air….and then fell down! So this time, being earlier in the day, he challenged the fans to throw their fists in the air….and jump….and remain upright! From the stage—it was a thing of beauty to behold! (and a special sidenote….there were quite a few lovelies out there who decided to flash their boobs each time Dee yelled “Rock!”…which is a lot, by the way. Very nice. Much appreciated.) Dee dropped the mic and gave the crowd a round of applause. I enjoyed this much more so than the naked crowd surfer from the previous night.

The set ended with Dee mentioning that “something’s not right….it’s not a rock festival without Motorhead….” And again, in a special tribute to Lemmy (and sending our healing thoughts to him from all over the world!) the band closed with an earth shaking rendition of “Born To Raise Hell.”

Folks, this was one incredible show. If you were there, you were witness to some kick ass metal. It was like all the ingredients of a recipe all being mixed together just so, and the perfect dish was delivered. I really felt like the road crew dug deep and pulled together to make sure everything was right, and the band delivered an incredible sounding, energy filled set—pure cohesion—Twisted Sister has hit their stride!

Oh my babies, the bar has been set so high—if Twisted Sister can deliver performances at this level for the rest of the tour, you are in for a real ass-kicking experience. Normally, I’d go into the post-show, which for me, was a fantastic and all-too-short stay in Amsterdam, but I want to leave this report right here—with the last notes of Twisted Sister’s blistering performance ringing in your ears.

With that, I leave you now as I prepare to pack for the second of three European legs of the tour. See you in Barcelona, my babies!

add comment ( 290 views )   |  permalink   |  print article
Download Festival Report Coming Soon! 
Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 08:33 PM
Posted by Administrator
Watch this space, mates! The down-low on Download is coming soon!
cheers!

It's coming soon….just a few more hours of sleep followed by some more coffee….
in the meantime, check out the setlist!

add comment ( 203 views )   |  permalink   |  print article
SETLIST for Download Festival, Donington Park England 
Saturday, June 14, 2014, 11:14 PM
Posted by Administrator
Here is your setlist mates! Short but very, very sweet!

Download Festival

1. Stay Hungry
2. The Kids Are Back
3. You Can't Stop Rock n' Roll
4. Under The Blade
5. Shoot 'em Down
6. We're Not Gonna Take It
7. I Am, I'm Me
8. Burn In Hell
9. I Wanna Rock
Encore
10. Born to Raise Hell
add comment ( 214 views )   |  permalink   |  print article
Copenhell Road Report, 14-June, 2014 Copenhagen Denmark 
Friday, June 13, 2014, 04:41 AM
Posted by Administrator
In a word: Copenhell was a night of absolute metal destruction. Twisted Sister put those young bands to shame, demonstrating that you don’t need youth, pyrotechnics or 5 trucks worth of stage equipment in order to put on the best live show in rock n’ roll. Twisted Sister kicked some serious ass, as they always do, and showed the younger rock fans what “Old School” is all about.

So, my dear Babies! Once again, I must apologize for the tardiness of the road report, but I implore you to understand that as my road duties have increased, my travel itineraries are challenging, and moments that involve closing one’s eyelids are few and far between. Hence, I required a few days to recover so that I may bring you a full recollection of all the juicy details you’re dying to know….and plenty ya’ don’t. It’s time now… for the tour blog that takes you places the other tour blogs fear to tread. Touring goodies that you won’t find in the pages of Rolling Stone, because let’s face it—no one in their right mind has a journalist wandering around backstage and only Twisted Sister has an Armadillo on their crew! Yes, my babies, it’s time to bring the latest installment of the one….the only….the literary madness known as The Armadillo Road Report: Copenhagen edition.


THE JOURNEY THERE
My journey to Copenhagen began with the frantic adventure of packing. The airlines are getting quite particular about measuring and weighing carry-on baggage—this is important because the road crew do not check bags (for many reasons I won’t bore with the details here…I have much more interesting things to bore you with later!). With international carry-on restrictions getting more and more ridiculous each trip, the latest restrictions required that my 44L bag be no more than 22” inches and my entire carry-on allotment 12kg or less. So that meant an entire evening of obsessively packing and re-packing to ensure that I had my basic needs covered, as well as the most basic needs of the road crew and band. Once satisfied that I had culled down to the allowable weight, I trekked out to a bus stop, waited an hour in the oppressive Baltimore humidity, hopped a lightrail train to downtown and then hoofed the rest of the way to the train station. After a delightful 3 hour train ride to New York City, it was another train on the Long Island Rail Road, followed by the AirTrain into JFK airport to rendezvous with the crew within the hour. All in all….I left the house at 10:00 a.m. to catch a 8:45 p.m. flight! So the next time I hear anybody complaining about not wanting to make the trip from Poughkeepsie to NYC because it’s too hard… in the nads, babies! Right in the nads!

The flight itself was actually quite decent—we had a direct (very rare!) flight from NYC into Copenhagen. I was seated in between the Sound of Thunder, our very own A.J. Pero and A.J. Pero, Jr. his son and drum technician. Almost the entire crew and band were onboard flying together—Eddie had arrived earlier, and Jay Jay was flying in from England. I have to say, that I feel quite safe traveling with the band. I pity the idiot who makes a scene on that plane—there’s a whole lotta whoop-ass flying on board.

Copenhagen is a lovely city—I regret that I didn’t get the opportunity to explore it more readily. We arrived at about 11:00 a.m. local time, and unfortunately didn’t have hotel rooms immediately at hand for the crew, and so we grabbed some lunch together and fought the urge to sleep, since it’s important to keep the body clock aligned with local time.

I’m not sure if it was the exhaustion or the overdose of caffeine, but I thought I was hallucinating when a bicyclist resembling Eddie O. rode by the hotel, on a bicycle with a basket that looked straight out of a Paul Newman picture. And whaddya know? It WAS Eddie Ojeda. Apparently Mr. Fingers had rented a bicycle and was seeing Copenhagen just like the locals do.

Once finally in my hotel room, my head was on the pillow about 15 minutes when the texts started coming in for various errands. I’m sure that there are millions of you, my fellow fans, who dream of working with rock artists. It’s a beautiful dream—and one that I have certainly had since I was 13. If you enjoy the dream as a dream, then skip this paragraph because I wouldn’t want to wreck your fantasy. But if you truly have an interest in the roadie world, then know that being a part of the road crew is a tremendous responsibility. And with that responsibility, comes….lots and lots of hard, honest work….and no sleep. And truly, I love every possible second of it. I am happily and gladly on-call 24/7 for whatever anyone in the band or road crew may need—regardless of whether I’m sleeping, in the shower or otherwise…indisposed. If your fantasy of being a roadie involves drinking, drugs and sex with groupies…. It’s a nice dream. The reality: drink tons of water, have plenty of antacids, headache and cold medicine on hand, and the closest you’ll come to sex is that you might, at some point, be told to “fuck off.” In my favor, I’m fast….I’m resourceful….and I’m pretty good at finding things. So any time someone has a need…..I can usually come up with something that will do the trick.

After the always fun and fascinating band/crew kick-off dinner (thank you, band, who took care of the crew!) it was off for a late-night production meeting so that the everyone was on the same page for the next day. Copenhell is the first of the big European festivals on this tour—there were plenty of logistics to discuss. So now back at the room at 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning (which, according to my body clock, meant that I had been awake since 10:00 Thursday morning!) for just four and a half glorious hours of sleep (assuming, no one needed anything during the night) to make the morning lobby call.

THE PRE-SHOW
Copenhell was an impressive festival, boasting well over 40,000 fans each day at Denmark’s largest metal festival. The festival grounds were typical of most euro rock festivals—the grounds were absolutely enormous. An encampment of tents and camping amenities located about a mile outside the gates, and a long hike from the entry point to the primary festival area, where fans could choose from 3 stages and more than 30 metal bands. I had a few errands to run, so after helping with the load-in, I ventured out into the festival grounds.
One of the things I enjoy the most about European rock festivals are the varied goods and services one can find. I located a cigar shop, complete with smoking area, various giant tents filled with bean bag chairs, and plenty of sculptures ranging from a giant wooden hellish robot to something that appeared to be a giant goat skull. The center seated area consisted of black benches that formed a pentagram, merch as far as the eye could see….and my favorite: the food kiosks.
Hell was the theme of the day: we had “Devilicious Treats” “Flying Pancakes from Hell” “Hell-stegt Pattegris” which I believe may have been a hellish hamburger stand….and my personal favorite…. “Fucking Sprod Svin” I have absolutely NO IDEA what that is or what they sell, but one thing’s for sure…that Svin is Fucking Sprod!

I only had one single complaint about Copenhell—the dressing rooms were a long hike from the stages! Seriously. Even though I hopped as many shuttles as I could, the various needs and trips throughout the day allowed me to rack up a whopping 14 miles of walking on the ol’ pedometer! Fortunately, they had a lovely massage therapist in the backstage area, who damn near broke me in half. And yes, I liked it.

THE SHOW
There was a show, you know.

Look, it was a long fucking day for me….so it’s gonna be a long blog for you!

Twisted Sister was due to take the stage at midnight! Yep, that’s right. Midnight. I’ll just add here, one of the bands that played earlier was still loading out as we set our stage and began the line checks. I was truly astonished at the amount of equipment that rolled off the stage and cluttered up the backstage entry. We’re talking 4 or 5 trucks worth! I’m not saying who the band was…especially as they are a local crowd fave….but I’ll just say this: They needed a small army to load in, set up and break down and delivered a decent performance. Twisted Sister—on the other hand—arrived with just 10 crew (and welcome to the newest crew member, Peter from Belgium—our Monitor guy!) 6 guitars, 3 pelican cases, 3 other bags: No pyro. No scaffolding….nothing fancy. And they BLEW THE PLACE APART! PROOF: you don’t need a zillion trucks of stuff to deliver great rock n’ roll—you just need great rock n’ roll artists playing great rock n’ roll!

Just a side bar here….usually stage crew wear all black. It gets to the point where you have to really keep your eyes open to avoid running into stage hands who disappear into darkness as they work. At Copenhell, the crews were black…but wore neon orange, reflective work vests overtop. Which was quite nice—I could see them emerging as they rolled equipment down the ramp. At times, I felt like I wasn’t at a rock show, but working with a Highways crew. Hey—safety first. Cheers to the crews in the orange vests!

As the road crew scrambled to make their last minute adjustments, I heard the opening chords of “Long Way to the Top.” I have since re-named this song….”Long Way to the Stage”. Because the band boarded a shuttle when the song started rolling….and I was still anxiously waiting for them to pull when they had to roll it a second time! I’m serious, folks…that damn dressing room was far! After a few rounds of “Hey…can you guys PLEASE move these fifty roadie cases aside so I can squeeze five band members past here….” The band took the stage by storm!

You’ve seen the set list—it was 90 minutes of glorious heavy metal music! They opened up with “Stay Hungry” –no surprises there—this is the 30th anniversary of the album that brought the band from the clubs into households all over the world. Some of the fans clearly had no intention of staying hungry—I spied two fans in the front row, passing around….a turkey carcass! Yep, that’s right. An entire, uncarved roasted bird, being gnawed on and handed around, right there in the front row. I love Europe. No, really. I do. You just don’t see that in the U.S. Love it.

In fact…Dee shared this point by reminding the crowd that it’s the 30th anniversary of “Stay Hungry”….but that Twisted Sister hasn’t been to Copenhagen in almost 40 years! (Don’t know about you, but now I feel old!) First Dee-ism for the night: “You should thank us for just showing up!” But as Dee reminded the crowd that it was all five original members, the crowd showed some love.

Unfortunately, my babies, I missed “Shoot ‘em Down”, “The Beast” and “Don’t Let Me Down” (Which, well….let me down….) but such is life. I had to get the band gear packed up and loaded into the transport along with some after-show preparations, and because the dressing room was across campus, I had to miss these beauties. But I did get back to hear the last half of “You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll” and it sounded great—fast and heavy, and there were many hands in that big field with their hands up in praise!

Those S.M.F.s who enjoy “Stay Hungry” got a real treat—chances are, the fans here in Copenhagen have not heard “Captain Howdy” and “Street Justice” played live, back to back, as Horrorteria should be played. It sounded clean and well-played—and I swear, that song (Captain Howdy) just creeps me out every time Dee does his ‘Come here, my sweet…” bit. Animal just killed it—don’t know how that bass survives each night—and Eddie delivered a great solo.

“We’re Not Gonna Take It” always elicits a great reaction—and Copenhell went absolutely nuts when they heard the opening cowbell. Jay Jay played his Ruokongas guitar (the only guitar made with moose bone….it’s from Finland!)—sounded magnificent—and we had a smashing good time! The crowd was doing the pogo—a giant mass of bouncing Danish metalheads—it doesn’t get much better than that. We had some nice undulating yellow lights that dashed across the crowd—a few surfers seen “washing” about the tops of heads as Eddie delivered his prime solo. Mark did a wrestling move on his bass to end the song—I think it’s called “The Backbreaker”

Jay Jay took a photo (Don’t ask me who did it—crew, band or fan—but I clearly heard a “whoo-hoo!”) and Jay Jay gave his now famous “American Idol/European Idol” speech, but you could barely hear him over the din of the crowd, who erupted in cheers as he thanked them for all the years of loyalty and support. He ended with “This is what success looks like, ladies and gentleman!” He proclaimed what I’ve been saying all along—Twisted Sister is the #1 live band on planet earth! So true, Mr. French. So true.

Another fantastic delivery of “The Price”—with a perfect backdrop (from my view) of a pitch black stage and crowd, illuminated only by lighters and cell phones sporting apps of lighters. (they need an app that releases the smell of butane…and gets your cell phone hot enough to burn your thumb….otherwise…not the same…) Eddie gave another great solo, as Dee essentially serenaded him.

Next up was “I Believe in Rock n’ Roll”….the message is universal, of course, because it’s what we ALL believe in…it’s what 40,000+ crazy Copenhagen fans believe in…it’s does strike me as a very U.S. centric song (the whole pledge allegiance thing…) but the fans were singing loud and proud.

“Burn in Hell” had a little bit of a snafu. Instead of the spooky red lighting that Dee emerges from….we had….spooky green lighting. Given that Copenhell’s “color” is green (green type on their banners, shirts, logos) it did sort of fit in with the festival motif. But at least…it sounded great! Green….but great. And it lead into a mammoth drum solo from the Sounds of Thunder, A.J. Pero himself.

The show was FAR from over, and Copenhell was treated to three—count ‘em THREE—fantastic curtain calls.

“I Wanna Rock” just brought the place to a frenzy…Eddie playing a beautiful Buddy Blaze guitar, and we had the fantastic Jay Jay—Eddie—Mark trio lined up.
And then…something completely European!

A crowd surfer….who was also a streaker. Or a streaker turned crowd surfer. Either way, it was a COMPLETELY naked man surfing atop the crowd. This amused me to no end. Actually, his rear end amused me to no end! Not so much that I enjoyed seeing his family jewels, but I absolutely loved watching the reaction of the fans. He started surfing quite a few rows back, so as the fans in front of him saw a foot and reach up to grab the rest of him….well….it was looks of horror as they realized they were grabbing something that they really wished they hadn’t grabbed.

Needless to say, our naked surfer was pushed forward to the front barricade in record time.

We had a full moon over Copenhagen that night….and a full moon below the stage in Copenhell. Only in Europe.

And so, as the show ended somewhere around 1:30 a.m., your faithful road crew broke down the show and loaded up the gear. The last band of the festival was off at a smaller stage to our flank, and played some bitchin’ music that reminded me of an angry lawn mower. Normally, not to my taste, but I really kinda dug it at this hour. It was perfect loading-out music….kind of like, heavy metal’s way of saying, “Hey kids…you don’t have to go home…but you can’t stay here…..”

We arrived back at our hotel close to 3:00 a.m. I suspect. A few hours of sleep and then a lobby call to load up, saddle up, and head off to the U.K. to do it all over again.

Oh, how much I love this! Truly. The blood, the sweat, the tears, the fatigue, the long trips, the errands, the thrills and spills—I love every second.

Many thanks to the wonderful staff at Copenhell—you were fantastic hosts and we thank you for everything! Best of all, thank you fans at Copenhagen—you made the long trip worthwhile!

Check out the webpage of Copenhell http://copenhell.dk —my Danish isn’t that great but I believe it says, “Thanks for a great party!” and you’ll notice…who is that on stage in the distance? Ah yes, the bones tell it all—Twisted Fucking Sister, babies.

They are back! Stronger, louder and better than ever. Copenhell proved to all that Twisted Sister remains the top live heavy metal act out there—and worthy of the headlining spot! They don’t need pyro…special effects….or a zillion trucks of gear. They just need to show up, rock out and prove why Twisted Sister plays harder, faster and better than the rest.

And with that, my babies, I’m off to begin interpreting my shorthand from the notebook of the following night in the UK.

I bid you all, a fond goodnight in Copenhagen!

This is Armadillo, your faithful road reporter…trotting off to dream of flying pancakes from hell….

add comment ( 1530 views )   |  permalink   |  print article

<<First <Back | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | Next> Last>>