Baltimore, Maryland Ramshead Live 12/21/2006

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
Heavy Metal Christmas
We’re Not Gonna Take It

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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