NEW YORK, NY—For the past three holiday seasons, Twisted Sister has illuminated the tri-state area with their own brand of Christmas cheer. First it was displayed at Starland Ballroom in 2006 after they released their very own Christmas album, then Irving Plaza in 2007, and this year they were bumped up to Broadway status at The Nokia Theatre in Times Square. The new territory was due to ultimate theatrics and a stage set created by the legendary Kevin O’Callahan, who is one of the creative geniuses responsible for making MTV and Broadway look their best. All of the hype promoted A Twisted Christmas: On Broadway! It certainly was redder, greener and louder, withholding any disappointments. Twisted Sister once again proved, during their best Christmas show yet, that heavy metal can truly be extremely creative, melodic, and witty.
“If we’re gonna keep strappin’ on the spandex, you gotta give us some encouragement,” quipped Dee Snider—in his famous pink and black ensemble— before blasting into “Shoot ‘Em Down.” Snider is, and always will be, one of the wittiest front men in all of rock ‘n’ roll history. No unique moment goes unobserved, and no word or comment is unnecessary. Even if extremely dry, it always comes from his heart and has an oddly warm undertone to it. Example: Snider thanked the handicapped section for “rolling down here tonight,” which ended up being a precursor for him yelling at a group of people who would not stand up with everyone else. He soon realized “That is the handicapped section! Mah bad!”
The show began with “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” with Snider dressed up as a deranged Santa Claus, riding in a sleigh pulled by, not reindeer, not elves, but “mini KISS” (the night prior was mini Mötley Crüe). The backdrop was a Heavy Metal Santa’s Workshop, complete with everything you’d imagine—including snow.
The band then went into other Twisted Sister classics such as “I Wanna Rock,” “The Price,” and “Kids Are Back.” Their Twisted Christmas covers included—with much ad-libbing—“White Christmas,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” (“Underneath His Balls So Snowy White”), and “Heavy Metal Christmas” (“And a statue of Ozzy—I’m changin’ the words!”), after which Snider vamped as his elves were to clean the stage. “What happened to the plan? ‘Dee, you talk! I’ll get rid of the stuff!’”
Due to the metal genre that they are lumped into, the genuine talents that lie within the band sometimes go unrecognized. Snider is a true singer—not a screamer, guitarist Eddie “Fingers” Ojeda is a soulful and melodic shredder with fellow guitarist Jay Jay French to back him up with his own harmony, and bassists Mark “The Animal” Mendoza—who is as hardcore as they come—works with drummer A.J. Pero, who sadly is always poorly lit, to set a solid groove, and never stop smiling.
For “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” the “queen of metal” Lita Ford joined the band onstage. It’s clear that Ford and Snider truly enjoy working together, because no smile was disingenuous, as they sang and kicked the very large inflatable Christmas ornaments that went awry.
I truly enjoy being a part of the Twisted Christmas insanity every year, and with the “Transvestite Siberian Orchestra” the best of luck with their new music to be released in 2009. Now people from all over the world won’t have to keep traveling to New York City to enjoy Twisted Sister.
Photo Credit: Olivia Taubner