It was truly a dark and stormy night when we trekked out for this one, but how could you pass up the chance to see the one and only Twisted Sister as they perform music from their recently released Christmas Album. No, you are not seeing things and I am not crazy but the S.M.F’s actually put together the hardest rocking, candy cane smashing set of songs this side of the mistletoe and tonight would definitely be one for the memory books. The venue would be the Starland Ballroom out in Sayreville, NJ and while I had hoped for a closer appearance, I love this room when it comes to certain bands. It just feels better. After missing the exits a couple of times we were inside and witnessing a dreadful Trash meets Glam band. I made no note of their name and I was not the only one wishing them off the stage. The follow-up group would be more interesting and their name Baptized By Fire. They’re a band that delivers hard-edged Rock and Roll with a slightly Punk twist to it. There was some catchy stuff to be found in their set but the shining star in the band was a young lad named Jesse Blaze Snider (yes, the son of the Twisted Sister front man). He has a lot of his Dad in him as far as stage presence and delivery goes and this should take him far. Watch for these guys if they should be opening a local area show near you.
As the time drew closer for Twisted Sister to arrive the amps and stage setting showed how much they had been decorated for the holidays. Marshall amps with bows on them and drums with candy canes and Christmas lights. It was a trip to see and it made the whole aspect of the night a lot more festive. Then from the speakers there arose such a clatter, I jumped down to the photo pit to see what was the matter. It was AC/DC's "It's A Long Way To The Top" which quickly became a Christmas Carol and all of a sudden power chords rumbled and in front of us he stood……the man who knew just who was naughty and good. It was jolly ole Dee Snider garbed in Santa Claus flair, he was screaming his lungs out as guitars buzzed the air. What a way to begin the show but with the opener from their “Twisted Christmas” and while I wondered just how this music was going to be received it was immediately clear that everyone was on the excitable side. Dee got rid of the Santa jacket and hat pretty quick and we luckily caught him in it while we had the chance. He does not stand still all that much and still has the fire of youth in his performance. I was so happy to hear one of my favorite oldies from the band when they began “Shoot ‘Em Down” and this was pretty much how the night was going to do. You would be treated to one of their Metal Christmas renditions and then get a classic or two. I admit that when I first heard the CD I thought they were mad for the endeavor but in the live sense, the songs packed more wallop than vodka spiked eggnog.
On top of the rocking tunes, you always can count on the amusing rant delivered by Dee Snider as he is one of the most outspoken of all the front men in Heavy Metal history. Jay Jay French also spoke a little bit, perhaps to warm up Dee and referred to the group as "The Transvestite Siberian Orchestra". French also talked about how great it was to still be doing this so many years later along with other bands that mattered such as Judas Priest, KISS, ACDC and Iron Maiden. He mentioned that he did not get or understand “American Idol” where the winners thank everyone for all the support without their even doing anything yet. Snider proclaimed that this was now 30 years running with the original line up while Axl fronts a “reunited” Guns ‘N roses. He said “one guy?”, “why not call it Rose ‘N Roses”. He quickly chided to the audience who will be on the forums telling him that this is not the original lineup and said “yeah yeah, fine Kenny Neill is not in the band - but this is the lineup that matters and that everyone knows”. He brought up the time when he was lambasted and put on a panel to defend his music by Tipper Gore’s PMRC because of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and how a song that was considered one of the filthy fifteen was now being used to sell products about Menopause. He laughed at how the song is sung at stadiums for major sport franchises and told the audience that when it was written, it was for one reason and meant one thing - "Fuck you”. He thought it amusing that at the games these people are in reality singing “f-u, f-u, f-u etc etc”. Dee truly knows how to get the spirit of Rock and Roll going in people and the laughter during his rant was resounding. He did pause to thank the soldiers in Iraq who are over there while we enjoy time off with family as they broke into “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (truly one of the albums brighter moments). The hits were all the ones that you expect from the group such as “Under The Blade”, the song about Eddie’s throat operation and not Sado-Masochism, and “Burn In Hell”. Every chorus had strong support from the audience and there was a little teaser to their biggest hit when the rendition of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” began. Those who have not heard the album yet should be aware that it takes a lot of popular riffs from classic Sister and some other notables and reworks them into their brand of Holiday mayhem. This was a good time show and it would be the last concert that I would be covering for the year. I cannot think of a better way to close it out than with a band as legendary to the genre as Twisted Sister. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.
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Official Web Site: www.twistedsister.com
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