Hilton, Las Vegas, 12/15/09 – Vegas Part 1

Oh my babies…this will probably be the fastest and shortest report ever…not because there isn’t enough to report… but the meter is running! I’m typing this at .79 a minute from the hotel business center. Yikes. But not even insane internet rates can prevent me from bringing this special three-part edition of the Armadillo Report Report, Hilton Las Vegas, December 15th complete with all the details you want to know…and plenty ya don’t!

So let’s get started with no delay:
Vegas is larger than life, so it was no surprise to see a huge TS billboard on Interstate-15 on my way in from the airport. First time I’ve ever seen a full size billboard, and let me tell ya, there’s no WAY folks here don’t know that the Bad Boys of Rock n’ Roll are in town, because there are marquis, billboards, posters, video promotions everywhere you look! I’m surrounded by TS advertising and I LOVE IT!

I ran into our own Jay Jay French while I was checking into the hotel–he still had his shirt on so he couldn’t have lost too much at the tables yet. There were plenty o’ Twisted sightings throughout the afternoon–very nice hotel, by the way. Not as over the top as the theme hotels–a very good choice methinks. They did try to feverishly convince me to do one of those timeshare presentations to get a $100 voucher, and I ALMOST did it…but I had visions of being a prisoner at the timeshare session and missing the show while I chewed through the leather restraints… so opted to pass on that one and pay my own way at the buffet.

Now as you’ve heard, the Las Vegas Hilton has been home to Barry Manilow and is the original home of Elvis Himselvis. A new twisted first: the triple bill of Christmas shows: TWISTED SISTER….WYNONNNA JUDD…and….ANDY WILLIAMS. I can’t even think of something clever because that’s just TOO DAMN FUNNY ALL BY ITSELF. surreal….sublime and bizarre. I love it. I ran into AJ in the buffet line…it was about 6:30 pm…doors opened at 7pm… I asked him: shouldn’t you be getting ready for the show? Then it occurred to me: as long as I get there before AJ….then I’m NOT late! I asked him how he liked the theatre so far-he informed me that the sound is EXCELLENT. I’d expect nothiing less for Mr. Manilow.

The theatre was surprisingly intimate. fairly small, holds under 2000 people….a large balcony in the rear, ample floor seating in three sections, and two VIP areas that literally ARE on the wings of the stage, with a mere velvet rope separating us from the boys. It was a bit odd, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. We were on EYE level with the band, well….I’m not on eye level with the band unless they get me a milk crate to stand on, but it was close.

The Hilton staff were exceptionally polite and professional. There was one small female bouncer that was the toughest security person I’ve ever meet. NO ONE GOT BY HER! She bounced out one guy who kept coming up front. He was wearing a tie–a prize for the best dressed unruly fan. My only beef with the theatre: get this: the bathrooms were outside the theatre–true casino fashion, they force you to leave the area, walk thru all the slots to get to the bathrooms. This explains why no one was drinking much at the show. The bathrooms did make up for the hike by one account–in the mens rooms, above the urinals, was wallpaper with life sized images of ladies, looking down at us….some looking impressed and others laughing….. wouldn’t you know it? I had to stand under the one with a magnifying glass. No respect for the Armadillo, I tell ya…. (it was cold! cold! there was shrinkage….)

The crowd was old school….well…. actually not. They were just old. Very old. There were a lot of comp tickets there…folks that got free tix from the hotel, and they obviously had NO IDEA what they were in for. Many stopped me to ask: what’s SMF stand for? And….what kind of show is this? Who are these Twisted Sisters? There were a few that headed for the exits almost immediately, but most stayed. However, I must confess. There was one big douche bag at the show: Yours truly. I couldn’t take it–NO ONE STOOD UP! I was jumping up and down, yelling at my VIP section….get up! get up! get UP YOU SILLY FOOLS! They asked me to please sit down so they could see. Obviously I didn’t, but there were some unhappy campers behind me. At least they said please. Another TS first: I’ve never seen so many ties. Honest guys, you can loosen the tie. It’s Twisted Sister…they won’t mind. there’s no dress code.

There were no warmup acts by the way…TS came onstage at 8:15pm–a bit late but there were some initial PA issues. we blamed it on elf mischief.
My prediction came true: at each Christmas show this year, the Santa sleigh hotties have worn less and less… and last night, they were wearing next to nothing….these were the girls from the “Sin City Bad Girls” show, with the byline “ROCK ON TOPS OFF” and if they had worn any less or gotten any closer to me…..I would have had to pay for a lap dance! Uh…not that I know about such things. I’ve, uh…researched it. I saw it on Oprah. uh….yes. On with the review. The meter is running, afterall.

Here is your setlist:
1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
2. Stay Hungry
3. White Christmas
4. The Beast
5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
6. You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll
7. Deck the Halls
8. The Price
9. Oh Come Oh Ye Faithful
10. Don’t Let Me Down
11. Burn in Hell
drum solo
12. Silver Bells
13. I”ll Be Home for Christmas
14. “30” (the bathroom song)
15. I Wanna Rock
16. Heavy Metal Christmas
Band intros
17. We’re Not Gonna Take it

We had a white Christmas onstage…I actually kinda missed inhaling the snow suds but it was equally as entertaining watching the elves scramble to mop up all of the snow after each number. Oh, the joys of watching from the wings. Dee said that it was the first time since 1896 (they’ve been rocking a long time) that he forgot his makeup bag and had to borrow some from the Sin City Bad Girls….he asked them: “Where do you guys buy this stuff?…..I get mine from Sluts R Us!” Jay Jay got a little bit nostalgic playing at the home of Elvis, and informed those NOT familiar with TS that the Associated Press hailed the TS album as the 2nd greatest Christmas album of all time…second only to the King himself. Now, that’s impressive.

We had the obligatory sing-a-long with “Deck The Halls”—As Dee puts it: “the closest thing [we’ll] get to a Christmas drinking song”…. speakin’ o which…..the crowd was so dead, I owe apologies to all the Philly SMFs. Philly was pandemonium in comparison. Wake up VEGAS! STAND UP VEGAS!

Eddie sounded great…and moved around with ease, so he’s obviously feeling a little better. A great solo by MAM on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” When they played “The Price” Dee asked: “Can I have some mood lighting please? I was thinking something in amber?” They obliged….very nice. Kudos to my SMF friends from the slamboard– Denise and Mark…Mark had an actual APP on his iPhone called “Zippo lighter” which he “held” up. Very cool. Oh, I’m getting old….

“Oh Come Oh Ye Faithful”: it was thunderous, especially the bass! In fact, the sound in the theatre was FANTASTIC. not incredibly loud, but excellent balance, no feedback….really really good. Some of the best sound I’ve heard all tour. All hail the roadcrew!

Dee had to inform those in attendance that despite their well wishes throughout the day, he’s actually NOT Jewish. Just a tiny bit Jewish, on his grandfather’s side. And he gave a little rap about the seats: he’s glad we have seats, since it guarantees everyone a spot…but to quote: “WHO KNEW YOU’D PUT YOUR ASSES IN THEM???!!” How many times can the man say it? STAND UP! there’s no crying in baseball…and no sitting at a Twisted Sister show! Jay Jay actually climbed over the Velvet Rope to get in the face of a few who wouldn’t stand up. They finally did, which was wise: you do NOT want Animal coming over that rope! Hello? We need a mop for a cleanup stage right! Jay Jay, ever gracious, handed out picks to some lucky ladies in the front row…I really love seeing him do this. It’s such a nice, personal touch.

AJ added a special Christmas touch to his drum solo: red and green laser tips last night–very festive! More fantastic solos throughout the night—“Silver Bells” just rocked the house.

For “I’ll be Home For Christmas”, a special duet: Lorena Peril, lead from the Sin City Bad Girls sang onstage. She told me later that she found at 1 pm that day that she would be doing this, and had about 90 seconds to rehearse. Not only is she drop-dead beautiful and a very humble, sweet woman, but incredibly talented. Her duet was just wonderful–great harmony, excellent performance–looking forward to seeing and hearing her again tonight. Remember that name: she is bound for stardom. And sidenote: she and Dee have the same hair–it was like Sisters from the same momma!

Those giant balls/ornaments returned: and managed to actually BREAK some of the neon bulbs on the stage. HA! karma!

Dee performed “30” again, and this time…he yelled at those leaving to get a beer/burger: “HEY! YOU! I SEE YOU! GET BACK HERE….SIT BACK DOWN! This is a small theatre–I can see who’s here and who’s getting up to get a beer!” I just can’t get enough of 30 played live…fastly becoming one of my favs to hear. Eddie played a brand new guitar: a special Christmas wrap guitar, yellow and green stripes with working Christmas lights. Oh, I’m filled with the yuletide spirit I am!

We didn’t have Santa Claus…or Pantless Claus…we had SATAN CLAUS! He asked the boys what they wanted for Christmas this year:

AJ: “A tank. so [he] can give tanks every year.” oooohhhhhh. Says Satan: “with bad puns like that, maybe TS won’t have a drummer next year!” Says Dee: “hey, that’s my Christmas wish” (he’s just kidding folks, relax)

MAM: he didn’t seem to care for Satan Claus…he said “I want a REAL santa claus!” Says Satan: “maybe TS won’t have a bass player, either.” Hey: SATAN vs. MAM My money is on Animal.

Eddie: Happy to see the ho ho hos! (hey…it’s vegas….)

Jay Jay: still holding out for the Mets to not suck. And the trump/Simmons hairpiece exchange. keep wishing.

Then Satan Claus asked Dee…. actually, he called Dee an MMF….. MMF? Says Dee: “Oh, what’s a letter? SMF…MMF….” and he coined the term: “S. M. Elfs” I resemble that remark. hmmmmm.

Lastly, we got to the encores. The poor attendees….they didn’t realize that “good night” actually means….hold on for two encores… and they started heading for the exit. We kept screaming….no! no! wait! it’s not over! By the time they played I wanna Rock, almost the whole place was on their feet. Finally!

I got a special Christmas present: AJ planted a big ol’ kiss on my head during the encore…. Merry Christmas to me! My life is now complete–it was better than being blessed by da Pope! I think he did it for luck…I’ll have to ask him tonight if it worked! The meet and greet was the BEST ever. well organized, well run and everyone had plenty of band time for photos and autographs. perfection. Kudos to Danny and the road crew for another great show. Looking forward to tonight! I’ll be headed over with Dave, Cindee, and Denise to the record store appearance to take some photos.

Had a great chat with Joe Gerber–a gent from the earliest TS days–and I finally got my question answered: what does the RB stand for on the TS colors? Do YOU know? I DO! tease tease

Until then, your faithful road reporter is trotting off to the buffet line…


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