Baltimore, Maryland Ramshead Live 12/21/2006 
Thursday, December 21, 2006, 09:54 AM
Posted by Administrator
Well howdy my fine SMF Friends--
Settle in by the fire and get ready for a nice long post....the full story on the Baltimore show last night in graphic detail to give the full flavor for those who couldn't join us. Yes, that can only mean one thing…the Armadillo Road Report!

I moved back home to Baltimore after spending 2 years out west, so this was a homecoming for me as well--it's the first TS show in 20 years where I got to sleep in my own bed after the show. Of course, I didn't get to sleep…. but that's another story...

The Ramshead Tavern is a nice place down at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. Connected to the live stage is a bar and restaurant where they even had Twisted Sister menu specials--"Day of the Rocker" stir fry and "We're Not Gonna Make It" meatloaf. (not sure who makes the meatloaf, but I certainly didn't stay hungry.... (OOOOoooo, sorry. no more TS puns. I promise. For now.) The acoustics were surprisingly good which isn’t always the case for a venue this size. (Some lead microphone issues for all 3 bands but they did resolve it finally) It’s a small to medium size club and the staff were friendly. Special props go out to the security folks who seated the several fans with disabilities a good 30 minutes early to give them the choice spots.
Firstly, let me just say that I was one of those who was nervous about the TS Christmas Album--I had faith it would rock, but I was scared it would be the Twisted Sister "Jump The Shark". How delightfully wrong I was! Not only does the Christmas Album rock, but it has generated MORE interest and buzz about TS than ever before. (thanks to Jay Leno and VH1 too!) I was truly shocked that a majority of the fans in the audience were younger than the TS tour shirt on my back--warms the heart, it does. And for I'd say more than half of that audience, this was their first TS show ever.

So you knew that this show was special....how many times will you see a TS Christmas show, after all? The stage was complete with amps and drums decked out with Christmas lights, fake snow on the drum riser, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus dolls flanking it. The road crew were decked in full elf attire (it was somehow quite disturbing—roadies in tights.) and our own Joe Rock played "Santa's Little Helper" and distributed flashing Christmas LED pins and rings to the fans. Two very sexy scantily clad Santa's helpers tossed TS promo photos and other goodies out to the crowd (and flashed some thong & butt floss on their way out. Merry Christmas, gents!)

There were two opening acts: one local group called "Scarlet Angel/Kim's Krypt" we're not sure which....they had both banners on-stage--maybe they need to take a vote. Overall, a very, very good band--much better than anyone expected. They too jumped into the Christmas spirit with a rendition of "O Holy Night" Not very often we see a heavy metal band with 3 out of 4 band members women--go girls go! The second opening act was fronted by none other than Mr. Jesse Blaze Snider and his band "Baptized By Fire." Let me tell you folks--WATCH AND SUPPORT THIS BAND! Jesse is off to an incredible start--he doesn't sing like Dee—his voice is much more of a throaty vocal--closer to Sebastian Bach than Dee--but good range and lots of talent. I think he'll grow into one helluva band--he has excellent stage presence and knows how to work a crowd. (he learned from the best, eh?) When he speaks....we closed our eyes and were shocked that he sounds EXACTLY like dear ol' dad. UNCANNY. And judging from the reaction from the girls around me when he removed his shirt, he'll be popular with the ladies. (Quite a handsome fellow if I do say so myself) How can you not like a song called "Fuck You!"??? Jesse was also in the Christmas spirit...he sang a song called "Merry Christmas Anyway" whose refrain went something like "I’m gonna punch you in the face....Kick your ass all over the place....Just one thing left to say...Merry Christmas anyway" Like father, like son. It was a blast!

Now...on to Twisted! There were Christmas canes, snowflake bells and bows on the amps, and even Eddie donned a new guitar: a white/red candy cane striped target guitar. The show began like every other: Long Way to the Top, but it suddenly "changed" radio stations on the dial, and suddenly we had "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" (I can't recall...I think it was Anne Murray or some other) After the crowd had suffered enough, the vinyl was scratched and TS bounded onstage blasting: "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" Dee took the staged fully dressed as Santa, and hurled condoms out to the naughty and nice. (This was not a PG event!) The boys played a rousing rendition of "I Saw Mommy Blowing Santa Claus" that not even Dee could keep a straight face while singing it.

There were more wonderful surprises: we were treated to a blinding snowstorm inside the club during "White Christmas". We're still not sure what it was made of (I believe it was some suspension of soap suds) and we ingested enough from laughing to clean our colons out. This was one fun show....the band seemed to have a good time, the fans had a good time...it was just one treat after the next. AJ played a great set despite being sick as a dog (and dislocating his thumb the previous show) What a professional through and through. Jay Jay and Eddie were just fucking fantastic....even though Dee seemed to forget that there is a really nice guitar solo during Stay Hungry and launched into the next verse. The "Heavy Metal Christmas Song" was an audience sing-a-long complete with cue cards. (though that didn't help Jay Jay much who was having so much fun he forgot which verse he was on.....don't worry, Jay Jay, after "5 Skull Earrings" I fucked up the rest too!) Mark played a bass solo during Silver Bells that knocked my socks off. Really...it was EXTRAORDINARY. I'm not sure words can describe it....it shakes you to the core.

Here's the setlist for you TS junkies:
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Shoot 'em Down
Stay Hungry
I Saw Mommy [Blowing] Santa Claus
The Fire Still Burns
Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
White Christmas (complete with snowstorm!)
The Price
Oh Come O' Ye Faithful (ended with "heavy metal Hava Negilah" for our Jewish SMFs.)
Under the Blade
I'll be Home for Christmas (Dedicated to our military men and women overseas--and we were treated to an Eddie Ojeda vocal solo....more! more!)
Burn in Hell
AJ's killer drum solo
Silver Bells (with Mark's amazing Bass solo)
I Wanna Rock
Encores:
Heavy Metal Christmas
We're Not Gonna Take It
SMF

There was one poignant moment when Dee confronted a front row attendee (this was not a fan, folks) who stood with his fist up his ass most of the show, and did not even applaud when Dee introduced the band. And I've never seen this before....Mark came over too and said "Clap!" (there may have been voiced a few choice descriptive words too) and he finally did clap. I also suspect he soiled his trousers. I don't care who you are, but if Mark the Animal Mendoza tells you to stand on your head and whistle dixie...you better frickin' do it! Preaching to the choir here, but if you aren't willing to give this band 200% of your energy, then don't stand up front....hell, stay home if you're so cool that you can't applaud this band that just played their hearts out and are giving this gift to the fans.

By the way, part of the show proceeds go to "Cure Autism"--Baltimore is home to the Kennedy Kreiger Institute--world renown for helping Autistic children and kids with severe brain trauma and other cognitive disorders. [my brother’s son has a form of Autism, so this hit close to the heart] Thanks boys--this is a very important cause and the money you raised will really help a lot of families with this difficult and often misunderstood disease.

Last but not least, kudos to Jay Jay for stopping and chatting with the Slamboard folks--I always enjoy hearing Jay Jay's views on things and he is so patient and generous signing autographs for fans. Jay Jay--you are the best! Always a joy to see Marty, Donna da Mayor and all of the slamboard bunch. SMFCyndi: I ate a post-show sundae in your honor.

Many thanks to Twisted Sister and Danny Stanton (for bringing them to Baltimore! Please oh please come back again!) you gave me the best Christmas present ever! It was EXACTLY what I wished for and much, much more!!!! Please SMFs--go see them live if you haven't yet--Southwest flights are priced low and you won't ever regret it!!!!
Merry Christmas babies--have a healthy and blessed year to everyone!

Terry a.k.a. The Armadillo...trotting off.... to see what Santa left under the tree for me…..


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Silverton Casino, Las Vegas April 2006 
Friday, April 14, 2006, 09:50 AM
Posted by Administrator
Ladies & Gentlemen,
It’s time once again for the Armadillo Road Report, the Official UNOfficial Twisted Sister concert review containing all the details you wanted to know….and plenty ya don’t!
Well okay folks--
I've slept off most of the day and it's time for the first of what I'm sure will be many unofficial TS Vegas reviews. I will spare you the details of the adventures getting to the show—let’s just say that the next time I go to Vegas, I'm bringing a map, a compass and a GPS. And if I ever have to follow Joe Rock to a show, I'm putting on the hazard lights and tying a tow rope to his back fender. It seems a good portion of our trip consisting of trying to get to the Silverton after losing Joe Rock in rush hour traffic. Not his fault--Vegas traffic is a nightmare.

First things first--It was a true delight to meet many of the slamboarders, including our own Webbie--what a standup guy! He is the spirit of Twisted Sister, photographer extraordinaire, and a really nice fellow to boot. I owe him many more beers since he wouldn't let me buy him dinner. There were eight of us for the pre-show dinner, and we met up with Donna from Connecticut and her family entourage later--also a treat. What a fun family—Twisted Sister is obviously a family affair—now how cool is that?. We had the opportunity to sit and chat with Jay Jay in the lounge prior to the show. Our topics ranged from news and music to sports—what an incredibly rare moment, to just engage in casual conversation. Jay Jay, once again, is a true gentleman, a wonderful conversationalist and very generous to spend some time with us. Many thanks, Sir--you are the best.

Okay…on to the show. So let me paint you a picture here—the last time we were at the Silverton, 900 or so of us crammed into the Ballroom (which is now the new buffet, incidentally), so when we heard the venue was moved to their outside concert area, I was pleased as punch. I mean, really, it was a casino ballroom—I figured we could only go up from there. That is, until we saw the new location where TS was playing--yep. It was the pool area. Nothing less, nothing more. Ladies and Gentlemen—I give you: The Twisted Sister pool party. In anticipation of your next question, yes, there was more than one SMF in the pool before the evening was over. Aside from the long hair and spikes, you might have mistaken it for a Bar Mitzvah reception. Now let me just say--this is not Twisted's fault--Something tells me they were as surprised as we were. All we needed was a TS logo ice sculpture and some chicken satay and there would have been Mazel Tov's all around. We all made the best of it. A few of those little pigs in blankets might have been nice, but at least I didn’t have to deal with any creepy uncles or four foot aunts with beehives.

I digress. The concert.
In true Twisted Sister form, they went onstage exactly at 8:00 pm to a very motivated, fired up crowd. From the opening chord to the last, the sound was excellently balanced.. In fact, they sounded good from the get-go--however, the lighting crew must have been off at the buffet because they played in the dark for quite a few bars—now I’m not complaining, as no one really minded--we thought it was pool ambiance, minus the tiki torches. It was particularly amusing when Dee said: "May I have some scary lighting please?" during Burn in Hell. Dee’s vocals sounded great--and it was especially impressive in light of his recent medical adventures. He did have some trouble with the microphone sporadically, but again, it certainly did not detract.

Now, don't shoot me folks--but this concert was just not the best one they've ever done. I feel very blessed and fortunate to be able to go to so many shows that I can compare one to the other--and let's face it, TS on an off-day is better than other bands on their best day. It was still an EXCELLENT show, but there were, well, how shall I say this...musical mistakes? They just didn't play as tight as I've heard them. Don't get me wrong, I loved every single moment, but they just didn't sound as fantastic as I've heard them before---hey, when you play as great as they do, it's hard to top every performance. I love seeing them live no matter what--it always exhilarates me. I still left exhausted but recharged. Only two U.S. shows left in 2006--one at the raceway, and one to be announced in Wisconsin (I don't get it either, but I'll sure try to be there!) so PLEASE beg, borrow and steal if you haven't had a chance to see them live on the reunion tour. It is worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY. I promise.

We also got a chance to see Mark's beautiful new bass (See the photos!) and AJ's drum solo gave us some treats--he mixed some other sounds into the solo--such as a whistle--very interesting effect. Eddie and Jay Jay blew us away as usual, and I'm pleased to report that Mark did not destroy as many mic stands or roadies as he usually does. I really enjoyed the set list--Captain Howdy followed by Street Justice was a gem, and Come Out and Play sounded very clean, very good. Didn't get my UTB fill, but hey, there's always the hope for another Bent Brother show.

I'm not too thrilled with the staff of the Silverton--they were not very kind to our own Mayor or Webbie, and refused to honor their backstage passes, even after Danny told them it was okay. Danny, always the diplomat and gentleman, got things sorted out in the end. (many many thanks!) As if the pool obstacle wasn't enough, there was a lime green fabric strip (think: bank line or disneyland, whichever works for you) that was supposed to act as a barricade. I referred to it as the "Right Guard deodorant power stripe"--not to imply that we were odor--but TS fans once again proved that we are well behaved sick mutha fuckers if nothing else, and we did honor the rope and stayed behind it, until Dee finally invited us to cross it for the last song.

It was a real joy to see a lot of youngsters--there were two kids under 13 in the front row who were just elated--good to see! Lots of old and new fans alike. It made up for the row of unsuspecting comp ticketed senior citizens sitting poolside in the cabanas--fortunately no one had a cardiac event--Dee, in a way only he can, suggested a trip to the buffet instead and reminded them that "their bus was leaving!" Really, what was the casino thinking? There was an assortment of TS merch--the black, tastefully embroidered TS polo shirt was very amusing (but a bit pricey at $50)-- the fact that there now IS a TS polo shirt, or the fact that I would gleefully wear one--well, either way it says I'm getting old. I'm holding out for those elusive tour jackets!

Lastly, no night would be complete without the afterglow. Jay Jay, Eddie and AJ signed autographs afterwards and chatted with the fans. We were also very fortunate to visit the Rainbow Room after the show, where most of the band and crew enjoyed a late dinner/drink. The slamboard bunch was thrilled to watch AJ sign the drumhead they have on display--I believe the Rainbow Room website will have photos soon. AJ spilled some news of some possible future projects he's been thinking about--films. This TS show did not disappoint us--we had a great time filled with many special treats. I hope that I can see many of you again. Props to all the Boys, Danny and all the Slamboarders!

And with that, my sick friends, I'm trotting off to bed. This reunion tour is just the best!!! I will never forget this experience as long as I live!

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Placeholder for the missing road reports 
Saturday, July 5, 2003, 09:46 AM
Posted by Administrator
The first road report of the reunion tour was the Six Flags show, July 5, 2003. Unfortunately, due to the website conversion, all of the Road Reports from 2003 to 2006 were lost, and are in the process of being recovered from the old website archives.

Consider this a placeholder for these reports until Don the Webbie and I can retrieve them and re-post them. Until then, enjoy the rest of the reports!
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