well, well, well…hard to believe it’s been a year but here we are, back and gorgeous, in beautiful downtown Las Vegas!
Welcome back to what will be the final installments of the Armadillo Road Report, Twisted Sister edition, the end of road, Forty & Fuck It Farewell Tour. You’ll note that these reports-to-come will be considerably shorter than ever before. While the Road Report has become synonymous with long-winded descriptions of catering delights and restroom reviews, it has been much more difficult to write them from the road on a tiny iPad. In spite of my small stature, trying to bang out a road report on an iPad mini somewhat resembles a T-Rex trying to play badminton. Which leads me to the next significant change-my five-year long apprenticeship has finally paid off and I am now a full-fledged member of the road crew as a production assistant. (which will help me with the previous year’s tour expenses, which I definitely have NOT paid off!) Follow the Armadillo Terry public page on facebook to get the behind the scenes look live from the shows!
So here we go, babies, (our tour manager REALLY hates it when I say that) for your reading enjoyment, the only blog longer than the tour itself–the Las Vegas edition of the Armadillo Road Report!
This was a nice little warm up show–it wasn’t actually a Twisted show–it was actually the Vegas Rocks! Hair Metal Awards at the Eastside Cannery Casino. I’m not a big fan of the term “Hair Metal”…I mean, there’s great metal, good metal, bad metal…I don’t give a crap what’s on their heads! I mean, have you seen Rob Halford lately? The man is sporting a mighty fine looking dome, if I do say myself. Bald guys rock! Alas. I digress. The awards. Twisted Sister was being honored…tons of bands to walk the red carpet..what more could you want?
I arrived in Vegas the day prior (shout to Jeremy, my transport!) and with a few hours to kill before rehearsal, your faithful road crew joined the one and only Eddie Trunk (That Metal Show) to play with our balls…Pinballs, that is! We went to the very non-descript looking former supermarket turned Pinball Hall of Fame and Museum www.pinballmuseum.org where we delightfully strolled down memory lane playing on the fully functional, beautifully restored machines for just a quarter or two. Not a bad way to kill an hour!
But back to work before long–the entire band and crew went to the local rehearsal studio of a local celebrity who showed us tremendous hospitality so that the band could rehearse a number or two with the evening’s mystery guest–who was none other than the amazing Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot! You could not ask for a more badass drummer than Frankie B! Holy crap, that man can pound the skins–A.J. was smiling from above, I guarantee you that–and what an absolutely wonderfully warm and down-to-earth guy. I was always a big Quiet Riot fan…but now I am a HUGE Banali fan. What an honor to have him in the house. Dee arrived for sound check on a custom chopper that I could hear coming from ten blocks away. A spectacular machine. (the chopper, that is. Alright, alright, I concede…Dee looks spectacular too, but that was one badass bike!) A loud motorcycle near Mendoza, by the way, is like dangling raw meat in front of a bear, and before long, Mark was down on the ground helping Dee with a repair. I’m proud to say that I was asked to assist with this endeavor. It was kinda like that scene from Christmas Story, with Ralphie holding the hubcap full of lug nuts. Anyhow, helping Mark work on Dee’s chopper was never on my bucket list…but fuck it! I’m adding it now just so I can cross it off!
The show itself was a who’s who of 80’s bands all walking the red carpet–in attendance we had Scorpions, Queensryche, Winger, Bullet Boys, Pretty Boy Floyd, Doro, Stephen Pearcy, Rudy Sarzo, ALL FIVE MEMBERS OF ANGEL! You couldn’t swing a glitter scarf without knocking into a rock star. I did catch a few bars of music here and there–a Motorhead tribute band playing “Ace of Spades”, Doro singing “Rainbow in the Dark”, a little bit of Ratt’s “Wanted Man”…all kinds of goodies! The crowd was a mix of VIPs and fans…including one energetic fellow who I suspect was in his 60’s…or maybe 70’s…or 50’s but he smoked 20 packs a day…driving a rascal scooter and sporting a blond wig and Twisted war paint. Proof that the love for metal never grows old…but the fans sure do! You go, sister! We also had a TS Slamboarder in the house, SMF Canadian Cindee–rock on, my SMF friend!
Twisted Sister was the top guest of honor–but there were lots of awards handed out all over the place–I’m not really sure what they were for, to be honest with you, I barely saw any of the show. Such is life working on the crew, but I did get a few really choice little gem moments watching from stage right. With the Scorpions and Angel (did I mention there were all five members of Angel in the house!?? Seriously. How cool is that? Our tour manager turned me onto them–I’ve been hitting the youtube ever since) back in the dressing room area with Twisted, there was only a green room and not much else for the rest of the bands. Doro, needing a quiet place to warm up and read thru the lyrics, was back in the catering access hallway. She so sweetly came up to me and asked if I would help her get a chair down off the stack. I don’t care HOW short I am…if Doro wants a chair, I’m getting her a chair, dammit, even if I have to steal a cherry picker! -“OF course Ms. Doro! Is this chair alright? Where would you like it? Can I get you anything else?” I would do ANYTHING for that smile. She is just so damn sweet–no rock star ego–just one hard rocking, hard working kick ass talented rock star! (Ummm. And gorgeous too. But that just makes me more nervous, so I probably looked at the floor the whole time)
I also had a chance to meet Criss Angel, who introduced Twisted Sister for the evening. He was also a nice chap. And it gave me the opportunity, at least four or five times, whenever anyone from production asked, “Where’s Criss? Have you seen Criss Angel?” I could answer “NO! He…just….DISAPPEARED!” Sometimes I entertain myself. Actually…a lot.
Each band member of the pink and the black gave a brief acceptance speech (with Anthony Pero Jr. and A.J.s daughter Nicole in attendance, accepting in his honor) before playing two songs–alright, alright. I’ll let you guess which ones. Exactly. But they still rocked those two as if they were playing the Palladium. Crowd on their feet and the chandeliers a’swinging! Many thanks to all the fine hard working folks at the Eastside Cannery for a most entertaining evening. (and a special Road Report shout out to the two newest honorary road crew members, Joe and Marie!)
My favorite moment of the night came in the elevator as I escorted Dee and the always lovely Ms. Suzette to their car. As we chatted briefly in the elevator, I told him that I was “just living the dream.” He corrected me–saying that it wasn’t just ANY dream… that it’s MY dream. I should say that I’m living MY dream. And I am, babies. Every moment of it.
And with that, this is Armadillo, trotting off to pack my bags because June 10th is just around the corner!