Best Buy Theater, Times Square, New York City, December 17, 2011

You’d think that after the dozen or so Twisted Christmas shows that I’ve been fortunate enough to attend…that I would have a lack of things upon which to comment. Not so, my Twisted siblings! A chilled soda and stack of chocolate bars sits next to the notepad now filled with pages upon pages of incoherent shorthand, and that can only mean one thing: that’s right… it is time….here now, for your reading enjoyment…. Your noel of notepads, yuletide yammering, holiday holier-than-thou, festivus for-the-SMF-in-us….

Oh my babies…it’s the Official Armadillo Road Report from Times Square in the glorious City of New York, Best Buy Theatre, December 17, 2011. Bringing you all the concert details you’re dying to know….and plenty ya don’t. In a nutshell–Best Buy kicked serious ass! Funny raps…beautiful solos…great drums….excellent, tight guitars..just fantastic.

As you may recall, we skipped a year at the Best Buy Theatre. Last year’s holiday adventures brought us to Brazil, Argentina and other parts south of the Equator, leaving many in New York to wonder if Dee was sincere in his promise that the “last Christmas show in New York City” really was, in fact..the last. Fortunately for all of us, the Twisted ones were back on stage again and it was a delightful déjà vu to start putting on the heavy layers of clothing for the long cold wait outside. I knew I’d be meeting up with many from the Slamboard outside, and so finally I think I’ve got the cold weather formula down: Heater packets, one in each shoe and one in each pocket, a warm touque and four layers underneath. It was definitely nippy outside but I didn’t mind the almost two hour wait outside.

The Best Buy Theater has always been prompt, and we were all very politely greeted and brought inside by an attentive security force at 7:00 PM on the nose. Inside, it was the confusing layout and air-conditioning that I had remembered from years past, but it is still a wonderful venue with loads of amenities and a very well-trained and professional staff. Waiting for hours in the cold was still worth the pain as the large group of SlamBoard folks took their places near the front. Included but not limited to: SMFCyndi, Metal NY (Brian), Captain Howdy (Chris) and his lovely co-worker who took in her very first Twisted Sister show…we also met up with Amuz2Deth (Rob), Toronto SMF Corey and another fellow Canadian Anthony (also from Toronto).

Special shout out to a very special visitor—SMF Mark, who flew here all the way from Australia! Holy shite! That is ONE LONG PLANE TRIP to rock and roll! Hope it all worked out for you, mate, and you met the boys in the band. Wish I could have stayed with you a little longer. Let us know how things went at the Meet n’ Greet! (those NYC meet and greats are always very crowded—lots of friends, family, music folks!)

As we all gathered anxiously awaiting the start of the show, we had a strange dichotomy of DJ music—the usual suspects—Bon Jovi, Ozzy, Van Halen—but “My Sharona?” Really? The Knack? And now for something completely different…. A very jovial and likely intoxicated Santa’s helpers runs up onstage and gets the crowd cheering and fired up for Twisted Sister. After a good two or three minutes of cheerleading, it dawns on us—and the security team—that this elf was NOT with the show. He quickly escorted himself offstage and we were quite amused by the baffled and annoyed looking security guard—who I admit, I agree with those around me, did have a striking resemblance to Uncle Fester.

The photographer who dressed up as Dee at the last Christmas show was there—you can check out his photography at I don’t see the Twisted photos up yet but here’s hoping they’ll be up soon.

Jac & Jill was our only warmup act of the evening—and they sounded even better than they did the week before! Again, I have to give them some props due—they are by far, the best dressed band I have ever seen. Ironic, of course that you have Twisted, who made Blackwell’s worst dressed list—and then the highly stylish Jac & Jill. Bridgid rocked that Viper Violin, complete with a pink bow-and the horsehair was flying! (that’s the bow, I’m talking about….they’re made of horsehair) They again played the Foo Fighter’s “Best of You” and it was a very solid, tight rendition—definitely a crowd favorite.

[The gentleman next to me was excited to catch a J&J guitar pick—I could have sworn I saw it sail into his jacket—he couldn’t find it however, so I recommend checking your lint filter on laundry day..the damndest things come out in the wash.]

They dedicated their Christmas song to those still overseas, and the roadies dragged out a baby grand piano (boy, I hope they got a Christmas bonus for that—my back hurt just watching!) Beautiful song—and a nice heavy bass line. They really rocked the house last night, and seemed to get a much warmer welcome than they did at The Paramount, where the crowd was much smaller. Kudos again to Jac & Jill….and by the way, they looked absolutely radiant…..and …..I must have missed their call last time….ya know…still single here….how can you resist short, bald and nerdy?

Twisted Sister’s friend, fan and supporter, Rabbi Darby Leigh was there right in front. Unfortunately, the only thing worse than my massacring of spoken languages….is my ASL which is limited to just a few words, but fortunately Rabbi Leigh reads lips. It dawned on me—just as there are Catholics called “Easter and Christmas Catholics”—there are really only three times of the year that’s I identify as a Jew—Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur, Passover…..and Twisted Sister shows. At least now Jay Jay can take to heart that there are at least THREE Jews celebrating Twisted Sister Christmas with him.

When the lights came down and the opening riffs of “Long Way to the Top” began playing….we were clapping along, until we realized something was amiss. It was that feeling you get when you order a Coke and get Pepsi instead….something wasn’t quite as it should be….No vocals! It was sort of like a karaoke version of “Long Way,…” we don’t know. Were the roadies playing the opening riff to buy them more time? A soundboard issue with the opener CD? One may never know…. But the original AC/DC did finally come over the speakers, order was restored in the universe, and we were off for another Twisted Sister Christmas Extravaganza!

Unlike previous Christmas shows, Santa-Dee still had plenty of treats and such for those in the front, who were showered with candy canes, condoms and little bags of coal. You’ve by now seen the setlist—it was identical to The Paramount Show—“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” really is an excellent opener. The guitar lines are fast, furious and for a Christmas song that was introduced to the world by Judy Garland in “Meet Me in St. Louis,” it really kicks some ass. And your little dog’s, too.

Eddie sported his “Christmas present” guitar—and upon closer inspection, I noticed that the Head Stock (the part with the machine heads/tuning pegs…thank you, Chris and Wikipedia!) of his guitar has not only a small Santa on it, but the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, which made me realize that this guitar was probably commissioned for the Twisted Christmas in Vegas shows.

Then of course, to mix a little old school with Christmas Yule, they rolled right into “The Kids Are Back.” Do you know how you can tell the new SMFs from the old ones? The old ones know all the words to the songs off “Under The Blade” but can’t remember the words to a single Christmas Carol….and the new SMFs…well, you get the picture.

“White Christmas” was next—and although the forecast in the front row was for heavy blizzard conditions, a malfunction of the snow machine gave us only light flurries. “White Christmas” absolutely gallops along and every time Mark pounded on his bass, you could little soap flakes from his side of the stage go flying off the stage by the speakers.
Dee was again decked out in full regalia, and commented that he “scared the crap out of his granddaughter” tonight with “Snider Claus is coming to get you!” Seriously—Dee jokes that his grandkids are going to be really messed up but I cannot imagine a more wonderful set of grandparents than the Sniders! Periodically, throughout the show, Dee would give a little wave to his granddaughter who was rocking out in the wings. It was priceless!

Jay Jay seemed a bit underdressed compared to the Paramount—he still looked quite dashing in his tuxedo—however no black tie! Was it casual night? Tie at the cleaners? Couldn’t figure out how to make the bow? Sheesh…no initial vocals on Long Way, no snow, no tie….I was getting worried..what else were we missing? [more on that later!]

Then.. “Destroyer”. When Animal pounds on that bass combined with Eddie and Jay Jay’s guitars, it’s impossible to stand still. At one point, all I could see around me were fists and hair flying—it was a glorious timewarp back to the 80’s. The massive sound of “Destroyer” always makes for an interesting juxtaposition to the light-hearted “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”….who of course, in Twisted Christmas, is performing fellatio on Santa and tickling him under his balls so snowy white. And seriously, Dee’s right on the money here—if your kids understand the word fellatio, well, they’re probably old enough to handle “Twisted Christmas.”

Jay Jay said a few words of welcome: “This is not a Kenny G Christmas….not a Justin Bieber Christmas… if you were expecting the Trans-Siberian orchestra…you’ve got the transvestite Siberian orchestra…” and then went on to explain that being a New York Jew….well.. you’re a Jew… …ish….” [well, at least two of us understood that joke….almost as good as his late parents “sleeping with the kanishes”]

Jay Jay and Dee together introduce what is now known as the “Christmas drinking song” –one of those spots in the show where there is no excuse for anyone not to sing along. Jay Jay yells out: “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?” The audience obligingly responded: “Spongebob Squarepants!” A tangent..true…but it warmed the crowd up to demonstrate their ability to “fa-la-la-la” with the best of them. “Deck the Halls” absolutely rocked, and one my favorite parts—Mark’s “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” bass solo, was absolutely fantastic Only upstaged by Dee’s roxette-style kick.

Next up was “The Price.” One of the things I love the most about this song is that every fan brings a little something self-reflective to it. So many of us have been touched and inspired by the lyrics and the beautiful guitarwork, that if you ask any SMF about “The Price,” they can put their own personal spin to it. For SMF Cyndi, “The Price” was the song dedicated to her in Italy, as a thank you for her travels. For me, the song was dedicated to me twice—once in Vegas when I proposed to she-who-must-not-be named- [which, admittedly, made it painful to hear the song for the longest time after the divorce..] and then a second time in Greece, when Dee thanked me for my almost thirty years of faithful devotion.

When I looked over and saw Rabbi Leigh signing along, I remember just how deeply this song touches the hearts of SMFs all over the world. I can certainly tell you long I have wanted this dream to come true—and I have to pinch myself time and time again to believe it’s really happening.

Eddie’s solo was fantastic—Dee was hanging off of Mark’s back as they all swayed—it was just a moment of perfection. The band swaying band and forth, the crowd swaying back and forth—lighters and cell phones in the air. Just perfect.

“Oh Come O’ Ye Faithful” (or as I call it, the WNGTI crowd teaser) was fantastic and tightly played—Jay Jay sounded especially good on this tonight, and Dee welcomed us all to “Come to the Church of Twisted Sister!” He then went onto one of his many incredibly hilarious raps of the evening, commenting that the handicapped section gets bigger and bigger every year…which prompted a fan to stand up…making Dee realize this was the opposite of his faux pas many years ago—they weren’t the HC section—they were just sitting down! (Oh! The humanity!)

For the second time in a row, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” treated us to Eddie and A.J. vocal solos—it was quite special that this year, many of the troops were finally home for the holidays. I’ll editorialize here that there are still many abroad, away from their loved ones—so please continue to remember those serving their homelands. Eddie’s guitar solo was quite lovely—I was mesmerized between watching his nimble fingers on the frets…and his facial expressions. He has such tremendous passion and concentration when he plays—it’s really quite special to watch up close.

“Burn In Hell” gave us that incredible trio of dueling guitars as Eddie, Jay Jay and Mark lined up. If you have never perused any of the youtube or photo albums of Dee performing this song in a red glow—it’s quite dramatic. It leads into A.J.’s mammoth drum solo-song medley…we had the red and green laser sticks and lots and lots of cowbell.

“Silver Bells” gives us another Mendoza bass solo—we had some sound issues in the front row all night—I heard from those standing a few rows back that the sound was fantastic. This is the issue that I’ve had in the front row at Best Buy three times in a row—right up against the stage, you get too much monitor and miss the vocals. Most of Mark’s bass solo was lost because of where we were standing, but those behind me were absolutely wow’ed. As
Dee said, “He would have gone on longer but he ran out of bass!”

And then….my babies….we heard a growly “ho….HO….HO….” and out came Santa Claus…sans pants. Yes, it’s was the return of the notorious Pantless Claus, who I might add, has had a rising hemline each year he does this bit. Next year, there will be nothing left to the imagination. I did spy Mark peeking under the back of pantless Claus’ coat….let’s just say that it was one of the moments when I wish I wasn’t standing so close….(if anyone needs to get Santa a present, a leg waxing gift certificate would be greatly appreciated!) Dee exclaimed, “Santa! Where’s your sack!” Mark could answer that… oh, wait, his sack of TOYS. Never mind. Apparently Santa was mugged in Central Park but he did manage to bring the boys a few gifts this year.

Dee commented that” all [he] wanted for Christmas was his two front teeth, but [he] already got those a few years back….” And then had to get them capped. Tough crowd tonight….prompting Dee to admonish the audience with “you older guys know what I’m talking about…the rest of you…try to keep up!”

A.J. again explained his deer accident and he gave his new Deer taxidermy bike a big hug. Mark (who insisted that Santa give him a little personal space now that he knew what was under his Santa coat) received his “pocket gun”—Animal, after all, said he likes “things that go boom!” He was so excited to carry off his big gun that he actually dropped his bass!

Eddie, who normally does not insist very specific in his holiday requests—lamented the loss of Off-track betting, and was thrilled when Santa wheeled out the giant roadie-sporting hobby horse, prompting him to remark: “Finally, a horse that can make me money…” With A.J. quipping, “It’s a horse of a different color….” And Dee remarking on the size of the horse’s….oh never mind.

Jay Jay had a very specific request for Pantless Claus (I agree with Dee—it just never gets old!) He wanted something that will remind him of his ex-wives divorce lawyers. [Christ, Jay Jay…as if alimony isn’t enough of a reminder? Hell, I think of my divorce lawyer every time I look at my empty bank account…] In any case, Santa had one his elves (Samantha French) deliver a spectacular shark guitar! Prompting Jay Jay to remark: “How subtle is that?” and Dee’s comment: “That’s Jay Jay’s daughter…so that makes TWO things that remind him of his ex-wife…”

Which led us into another one of Dee’s notoriously funny raps….and he motioned for Santa to come closer so that could tell him what he wanted for Christmas…the audience screaming out “I Wanna Rock” as Dee turned to us and admonished, “Will you let ME do it???!!” We had a blistering version of “I Wanna Rock”…and then came to the portion where Dee wants to see the audience in the light.

And yep. That so-called Handicapped Section that wasn’t the actual handicapped section was still seated. He launched into a brilliant and hilarious rap about audience laziness, culminating with: ‘Unless you are wearing a colostomy bag or an adult diaper….stand up!” The crowd began to chant it, and then Dee started a new chant: “THE POWER OF DEE COMPELS YOU! THE POWER OF DEE COMPELS YOU!” Wow. A Christmas show and exorcism all in one. That’s Twisted Christmas, folks.

He then addressed a fan in the back row of the balcony, who was waving frantically with both arms, “I see you in the back….signaling for help…. What? I didn’t pick your seat! You could have been down here with all these crazy bastards …” And then…as he was about to deliver the big finish, he saunters over to Eddie and casually asks::
“What’s the toughest thing about a colostomy bag? Finding shoes to match.”
And he wasn’t done.
“Hey…I’ve been wearing an adult diaper for years…not because I’m old…but just sheer laziness…” and then went on a brief tangent about how hard it was to hide the panty lines….


This folks.

THIS…. is why I bring a notepad! To bring you such gems of brilliance and comic delights.
{please no hatemail from those of you with Colostomy bags. All the men in my family have Crohn’s. Believe me, I’m sensitive to it, but it was still a damn funny one liner!}

The closer of the night—we had two encores again, including “Heavy Metal Christmas”—I swore I saw elves dragging their manager onstage during the frivolities—and as we got to the dramatic pause of the last refrain when the band re-dons their instruments—Dee yelled: “Wait! NO premature insingulation…think of garbage!”

The insanity wasn’t over yet—and this is truly why the Christmas shows are so much more fun than the standard Twisted Sister show (not that any TS show is average…..they are ALL special!) But there’s just so much fun and silliness—it’s really infectious! As Dee introduced the band…Jay Jay whispered something into Dee’s ear, prompting Dee to whisper back, “Yes, Satan?” Jay Jay disappears….

Dee thanked the old school fans who have supported the band all of these years….he then introduced A.J. Pero—the “new guy who has only been with them for thirty” as Eddie did arm curls with the pink mic stand…
…and then Jay Jay reappears., wearing a white Dee wig, announcing that he wondered what it would be like to be Dee…and if this is what Dee would look like without hair dye. [Dee said to give it 3 or so years]
I missed the next one-liners because when I looked up, Dee was looking down at me going, “Do you have to write it down every time I scratch my balls?”

Now, wait a second…I don’t do that….oh. wait. There was one road report where I think I did… aw shit.

But see? If I didn’t capture the best Dee-isms of the night, you’d miss them—most of the YouTube videos have the music but not the raps. Maybe the Rabbi will appreciate the “closed captioning” that I provide to you all. It’s worth the ridicule…it’s worth the pucker fear factor….I do it all for you, my babies. ( I don’t know if Dee reads these reports—he knows I write them!) It really does mean a lot to me when folks tell me they read the reports—I love bringing them to you and hope that 2012 will afford me the opportunity to bring you many, many more.

The boys closed with a house-shaking rendition of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” that had the whole place on their feet—stomping, clapping and singing. I hated for Twisted Christmas to end!

But something was missing tonight! Best Buy was a Douche-Bag free zone! that’s right! I couldn’t believe it either–the crowd was happy, polite…no fights, no spilled beer, no broken ribs–it was the most well-behaved New York show I’ve ever seen! Wow–the Power of Dee compelled us!

So I’ll take this opportunity to wish a happy holidays to everyone in the band, Danny Stanton and the entire road and set crew for doing all that they do so that we can rock out! A special holiday wish to all the slamboard peeps and SMFs all of the world! Special thank you to the staff at the Best Buy Theatre, and all of the promoters, club owners, staff and fans from all over the world.

Let us all hope that 2012 brings us health, peace and happiness….and I hope to see you all on the road next year!
This is your faithful road reporter, trotting off to find more candy bars to battle the post-concert blues….

Terry a.k.a. Armadillo


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