Holy hell, babies…what did I get myself into!!?? Another early lobby call in Slovakia 48 hours ago, a kick-ass show and here I am again stage-side in Kavarna, Bulgaria! I don’t know what day it is, what time it is, what countries I flew through to get here…and I’m not even sure where HERE is…but one thing’s for sure: Twisted Sister is here to kick somebody’s ass, and I think today, it’s gonna be Bulgaria’s!
Dee had a rough time in Denmark and Slovakia–don’t get me wrong, both really good, well-received shows–but he was having some vocal issues. Maybe it was the temperature (Denmark got quite cold!) and Slovakia was in the middle of a runway–the dressing rooms were situated in a tent on hay (I had to take a few allergy pills myself)…or maybe he had too much schnitzel…but whatever the issue before, there were NO ISSUES in Bulgaria, babies. Dee was cured! He rocked hard at this show and was able to hone his chops once more–and that meant–spoiler alert–“Come Out and Play” was added back into the setlist tonight, having been sliced off the two previous shows.
Not that it’s fair to compare previous shows–they were all solid deliveries of glorious metal–but man, something about Bulgaria!
Let me back up a second.
The road to Bulgaria. I honestly don’t know how they select where these festivals take place, but I think they just drop a dart from a passing weather balloon or something. We boarded our transports at the airport–I had a very bizarre experience in which my driver, learning I was American, excitedly handed me his phone. He had a friend who had lived in Illinois for a short time…who proceeded to invite me and the Twisted entourage to his house for dinner and a party. I gracefully declined–it was quite hospitable, but there was something about Bulgaria that made me a little nervous. My transport splintered off from the crew to deliver the luggage to the hotel rooms–and we seemed to be on a lonely road to nowhere. Suddenly, in the middle of nowhere…a golf course resort by the black sea! It was so tempting. Beautiful pool…beach just a short skip away…and a soft bed beckoning me. ALAS! I would never get to experience that bed. The cruel humanity of life on the road with a rock band. Beds and showers are for rock stars, my friends. Road crew get to look longingly at the deliciously comfy bed and said, “Ah, my sweet! We were never destined to be together….” Okay, okay. I’m punchy. I haven’t slept since I schnitzeled in Vienna.
After delivering the luggage to all of the respective rooms (sounds easy, right? yeah. not so much. I logged two miles on the pedometer just in the hotel!) I headed over to the venue. Our dressing room was in a festival tent city–not terribly uncomfortable, but similar to Slovakia, it was the oddest hospitality. I had to ask for whatever we needed, and no matter how I timed my visit to our catering slots, by the time I got there, it was just rice left. Insert unhappy and hungry emoticon here. It also seemed that certain things didn’t translate–like “please” and “thank you.” Every time I thanked our liaisons for their assistance it was met with a rather confused and curt, “Do not thank me. It is my job. I do my job.” Apparently “please” was not quite translated either–as groups of fans grabbed my shirt, “Mister. You give me drumstick now. And pick. You give me now.” Oh boy.
Cultural issues aside, the Kavarna Rock Festival was amazing. Packed to the gills–I couldn’t even speculate–but that crowd just extended out into that field beyond my field of vision. And before Twisted took the stage, they were chanting and singing “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” From the opening note, this crowd just exploded. I wasn’t expecting this kind of response in middle-of-nowhere Bulgaria, but it was damn impressive. Bulgaria is a heavy metal place–and Kavarna is a town devoted to rock. The town mayor is a huge metalhead–he even erected statues to Dio and other rock figures in the town park. After a photo shoot with the mayor, Dee publicly exclaimed that if the mayor wanted to erect a statue in Dee’s honor, he should do it BEFORE he was dead, and Dee would happily attend the service. Dee-ism of the night: “Hell, I’d show up for an envelope opening…” A bit of a morbid Dee-ism of the night….he reminded the crowd of the reason for the show–a tribute to A.J.– A.J. was the only original member not present, but well, he had a legitimate excuse. Don’t worry, folks, A.J. would have found that funny!
The setlist, once again, was the list we have seen all month–with one special treat as previously mentioned–Dee sang “Come Out and Play.” He told the crowd–he had been having vocal problems all week, but something about Bulgaria just inspired and cured him! Instead of chanting Twisted “fucking” Sister which they had done all night, Dee changed the chant to Ka-fucking-Varna! (I was more partial to Bul-fucking-garia but hey, I’m just the runner…) Bulgaria was by far, the best show of the entire run so far. It reminds me of something that Jay Jay often says when asked, “what was your best show?” his answer: “the next one.” Bulgaria was a really special show–I actually missed a good portion of it doing my duties–but I plan to catch up on YouTube when I get back.
With that babies, it was a dash from the stage to the hotel to get our bags and a shower (no sleep) and off to the next country: Sweden.