Howdy Ho Folks!
Or should I say, Ho Ho HO….Folks…
Time once again, for Armadillo’s road report of all the details you wanted to know and plenty of details you didn’t.
Courtesy of a fellow slamboarder (I won’t say who to protect the innocent) I was given a TS pink package for Christmas which allowed me a chance to experience something that I’ve dreamed about for over 25 years–the chance to sit in on the TS sound check. We braved the extreme cold and freezing rain with flurries for that moment to hear what most fans never get to hear from the inside. It was worth every minute of standing in the cold–they played “The Kids Are Back” and “You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll”–an absolute treat and a chance to get an insider’s look at this “secret” part of the show. Dee shared how he previously would not permit anyone to wander through the soundcheck—not friends or even other bands, so having a small audience of about 20-30 or so was uncharted waters for the band. One lucky fan was given the chance to play onstage during the sound check—and he sounded like a pro! Well done! I also want to mention here that even though they were on a tight time frame, and they needed to get ready for the show, the band stayed and signed autographs for every single fan there. Now I ask you….What other band would do that for their fans?
I think last year’s Christmas Show spoiled me a bit because it was in my home town of Baltimore, at a very nice venue. This year, it was a truly lousy concert site, albeit in the greatest city in the country. But more about that later.
The show definitely made up for the other shortcomings..
Both warm up bands were absolutely great–a real delight. I’ve posted it here before–Baptised By Fire is the next wave of kick ass rock and rollers. I’m not just saying that as lip service to Jesse Blaze-Snider….the boy CAN rock! I can fully see him in the next generation of hard rocking bad boys of rock n’ roll. While he may have a completely singing voice from his father, and his own look and sound, if you close your eyes when he speaks, it’s absolutely uncanny how much he sounds like Dee. He really works the crowd–obviously, his father’s influence is apparent. He completed his show with Juggernaut (my personal favorite) and the now mandatory Merry Christmas Anyway singalong. Really, if you weren’t having fun, then you need to buy tickets to a Celine Dion concert or go somewhere else where the wet blankets go.
Bella Donna (Joey from Anthrax!) played second, and treated us not only to Bella Donna tracks but played some old Anthrax…efilnikcufecin (nice fuckin’ life), Indians
and Caught in a Mosh. I hadn’t seen Anthrax since 1990, so it was great to hear those tunes live and in such a small venue. Joey was a really nice guy, too–very approachable, kind and spent a lot of time chatting with the fans. A true gentleman.
Once again, the boys proved that even Christmas music can kick ass. I must apologize here–I always write down the set list and this time I was just too excited and forgot to do it. The show opened with Dee arriving as Santa, complete with foil-packaged party favors which later took the form of balloons being tossed amongst the crowd. In addition to the usual anthem crowd favorites (“Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll”….”I Wanna Rock”….”We’re Not Gonna Take It”) we got an unexpected surprise–a cut off of the Love is for Suckers album. Now I know some of you out there are old school purists and didn’t like that album, but their live rendition of “Wake Up the Sleeping Giant” absolutely knocked my socks off. And what would the TS christmas show be without snow? Yes, we had a white christmas INSIDE the club once again….complete with Christmas lights on the amps, Candy Cane decked monitors, and a few roadies in elf-ware. SMF Cyndi and I must have been coughing up soap snowflakes for at least an hour afterwards–Oh, it was good clean fun!!
There were acoustic challenges but the boys played beautifully. Mark destroyed his microphone in ways that were almost unnatural. It gives me chills every time he does that—turning that mic stand into a work of modern art! By the way, he had a beautiful new bass with the TS bone logo in chrome. And it sounded as good as it looked—rich, deep bass sound! AJ did another MAMMOTH drum solo following a rousing rendition of “Burn in Hell” (everyone’s Christmas favorite)–I’m amazed the Christmas lights managed to stay attached the set.
Jay Jay addressed the crowd as he often does–what stuck with me were his remarks about American Idol. Those kids work for 15 weeks, and poof! They get a record deal and instant fan base. No sweat. No blood. No hundreds (thousands) of gigs in stinky dirty clubs away from their loved ones. No harsh rejection after rejection by record labels executives who won’t take a risk because it isn’t something mainstream. They win a singing contest, and then thank their “fans” for “sticking by them.” Sticking by them? For 15 weeks? How many Clay Aiken fans will be around in 30 years? How many people will remember Taylor Hicks (I had to go on the website to find their names) in 5 years? I’ve been an SMF for 25 years now…and we’ve got some old schoolers like DCT, the real Joe Rock and Marty who have been around for even longer. And we’ll continue to be SMF’s for many years even after TS has ended the tour.
There were fans a plenty…mucho slamboarders and lots of friends and family. I especially love to see the little ones getting educated in the ways of TS. It was a real treat to see the actual “kids” of Twisted Sister who helped hand out treats ahead of the show–although they aren’t kids anymore…I should say “young adults”. Gawd, I remember when Jesse was only six! And as usual, there just had to be one fool who just didn’t know how to show his appreciation to the band. I’ve seen Dee humiliate unappreciative attendees before, but Friday night was absolutely one of the most brutal and personal offensives yet. It was so rough, I’m not even going to type it here. It would have made a trucker blush. Yes, he deserved it. Folks, if you plan on standing like a bump on a log at a Twisted Sister show, just stay home! That show was sold out, and there were lots of people who would have given their right arm to go…. don’t waste a ticket on yourself if you’re too cool to rock out. The band gives us 200% of their blood, sweat and energy….we are OBLIGATED to do the same!! I consider every TS show I go to a special privilege–I owe it to the band to give them my fullest energy every single time.
So I must mention again, the lovely Fillmore itself. Dee made his viewpoint pretty clear–the Fillmore is about as conducive to hosting concerts as a cactus is to an armchair. It’s small…..with a crappy stage….mediocre at best acoustics….and absolutely FILTHY. (Don’t get me started on the bathrooms). The box office told us (the package holders) that the sound check opened at five, and we should be there absolutely no later than five if we wanted to get in. Being the good SMFs we are, we showed up early and proceeded to freeze our asses off for over two hours. There was no special treatment for the package holders, who shelled out hundreds of dollars. I put the blame squarely on the venue–no one minds if the band is running late–but to make us wait outside in the cold after asking us to be there early was just poor. Then, to add insult to injury, they let us in (90 min late) to the sound check, then kicked us BACK out into the cold until doors opened. Why we couldn’t wait inside in the downstairs waiting area was beyond me….but it will be a much colder day in hell before I return to the Fillmore. The only positive I can think of was that the staff were very courteous, and they did an excellent job of protecting the crowd.
A wonderful show….a great time had by all….many, many thank you’s to Danny Stanton, Dee, Jay Jay, Mark, Eddie, AJ, Joey for your generosity and kindness towards the fans. You really made my Christmas–what a great way to end 2007 and begin 2008.
Peace and many blessings to SMF’s worldwide
Trotting off to see what’s left of the fruitcake,
your faithful road reporter…