Ah yes, my babies. We find ourselves once again in the comforts of our home away from home…Europe! After two absolutely killer shows in the states that the internet is still abuzz from, Twisted Sister played their first international festival of the 2015 Tour Season at the Halden Fortress in Norway.
Tons of Rock was certainly an appropriate enough name–the festival grounds sat high upon a rocky precipice, topped by the Halden Fortress, a place where Sweden and Norway once warred one another. We had spectacular views of the festival grounds–two moderately sized stages and a third tent stage–and we generously given run of the former Kommandant’s quarters. Local myth dictated that the fortress itself and the grounds were haunted by a “woman in white” and apparently, the beautiful accomodations provided to the band and crew had spirits of their own. We did encounter some rather peculiar quirks–the ladies lavatory faucet kept turning itself on–lights and electrical power seemed to quit at will….and one door was just determined to open several times, with a creaking that would have given Stephen King the heebie jeebies.
Your exhausted road crew was working on just 4 hours of sleep due to the early a.m. lobby call to get us to the grounds, but the delightful comfort of our accomodations and lovely personal chef more than made up for the fatigue. It’s good to be the headliner, what can I say?
A bit of pre-show fun ensued, as our own Mr. French dropped in on local band Studfaust in the tent stage and played a quick guest appearance/cover of “Shoot ’em Down”– lead singer/guitarist Tore Bratseth (also of The Bombers)– is a huge TS fan, decked out in a fantastic Twisted battle vest, and it was a real treat for fans and band alike. Jay Jay certainly looked as if he was having fun too! I’m not sure still what to make of the, er, decorations OUTSIDE the tent stage–three actual decapitated and flayed pigs heads on stakes, a la Lord of the Flies. Yes, very metal. And very gross.
Norway loves metal. Any kind of metal. (Death metal in particular) I heard a death metal band playing a cover of “Under The Blade”…obviously, a lot of TS fans both in the stands and on the stage. This crowd definitely showed our boys some love. We had an enthusiastic audience from the beginning–even though it was still light out thanks to the midnight sun. The setlist was the same as the Starland–nothing wrong with that. All fan favorites:
1. What You Don’t Know
2. Kids Are Back
3. Stay Hungry
4. The Beast
5. Shoot ‘Em Down
6. You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll
7. I Believe in Rock n’ Roll
8. Under The Blade
9. I Am, I’m Me
10. We’re Not Gonna Take It
11. The Fire Still Burns
12. The Price
13. Burn in Hell
14. I Wanna Rock
15. Tear It Loose
One of the things I noticed the most–the number of children–young children–out there enjoying themselves in the crowd. Nothing like seeing good parenting in action!
I have to digress a moment….when I first began writing these road reports 12 years ago, it was always from the front row/fan perspective. These days, I am fortunate if I get the opportunity to see the majority of the show at all. Between arranging band transport to the hotel, loading bags, prepping the transport with food/beverage, running for more towels, and a sundry other tasks, I often miss more of the show than I catch, and find myself so focused on ensuring that all needs are tended to, that I forget that I flew myself halfway across the world for this. Once mesmerized by the magic, now I do my small part to make the magic happen for others. I looked at the glowing smiles in the front row and had a moment of nostalgia.
So that said, I can give you just a few snippets of the show and a few overall impressions. First–it was a great crowd. Loud, engaged and excited. Second–Portnoy seems to really be settling in behind the kit, and his playing was even better than his two previous sets (which were excellent, by the way).
Dee was in excellent form, even trying out a few new moves–quite artful, I must say. He is truly in the best shape of his life–and delivered a show on the same level. The best number of the night was the encore–Tear It Loose did just that. That song will rip off an appendage and shove it down your throat. It’s like that final kick in the ass as you’re tossed out of the bar.
After working all day since our 6:00 am lobby call, we reached the hotel room at 3:00 a.m. We were due back downstairs in just one hour, bags packed, to head to the next stage in Denmark. So stay tuned… a quick report from the road awaits!